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‘Genny lec’ and ‘cozzie livs’. And who can afford ‘savvy b’? British slang is daft, but it is breaking taboos | Coco Khan

It may all be a bit twee, but fun abbreviations give people a casual way to talk about their lives and their struggles

If you’ve spent any time online recently, you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s something in the water. Some grown adults – usually of the millennial, Gen Z variety, though not exclusively – have regressed to a kind of cutesy, baby language, even while discussing serious topics. In this language, the cost of living crisis is the “cozzie livs”; the upcoming general election is the “genny lec”, and a mental breakdown is a “menty b”. Meanwhile, holidays are “holibobs”, and the wine formerly known as sauvignon blanc is “savvy b”– best paired with a jacky p (jacket potato) for a comforting dinner that’s not too “spenny” (expensive).

This linguistic phenomena of, well, very silly abbreviations, has created so much confusion, particularly from North American social media users, that decoding British slang is now its own genre in US celebrity interviews (they’ve all done them – Billie Eilish, Emma Stone, Halle Bailey and more). Meanwhile British social media users regularly share their thoughts on the latest language in posts ranging from joy to derision. “If I am re-elected,” joked Labour MP Stella Creasy, “I promise legislation to ban the terms ‘genny lec’ and ‘snappy gen’.” (“Snappy gen” was briefly in the running for the election abbreviation du jour, before being superseded by the overwhelming popularity of “genny lec”.)

Coco Khan is a freelance writer and co-host of the politics podcast Pod Save the UK

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