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A guide to slay speak for beginners

From 'World Slay Center' to 'C*ntanamo Slay.'


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Jan 10, 2024

Any user scrolling through X recently may have found themselves bewildered by phrases like “the motherfication,” “World Slay Center,” and “C*ntanamo Slay.”

For the lost tweeter, this guide will translate the flamboyant phrases getting memed online into comprehendible sentiments.

What is slay speak?

Slay speak, or gay speak—the internet dialect of the moment—consists of taking slang words like “slay,” “serve,” “mother,” and “yas,” among others, and conjugating them into more complex, humorous phrases.

It’s vital to note that a majority of “internet lingo” is appropriated from African American Vernacular English (AAVE), and the slang words that make up slay speak are no exception. In particular, words like “yas” and specific usages of “queen,” “king,” and “c*nt” originated in the ballroom scene from queer and trans people of color.

Root words

To understand slay speak, one must understand its aforementioned slang root words. Here are a couple of definitions for popularly used terms.

1) Slay

When used as a verb, to slay means to succeed or accomplish something—and do it well or exceptionally. Slay is also used as a term of approval or congratulation, and almost always has a positive connotation.

2) Mother

When someone is deemed “mother,” that means they are a high-achieving or unparalleled person. “Mother” can also signify just all-around fantastic.

3) Serve

Similar to slaying, to serve means to either look incredible or do something exceptionally.

4) C*nt

This profane word has found a second life in slay speak. To serve c*nt or look c*nt means to be or look amazing and flawless. C*nt is synonymous with perfection, peak glamour, excellence, and unlike all others.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the root words, it will be easier to grasp slay-speak phrases.

A close reading of slay speak

Slay speak tends to be comedic and verge on jibberish; the more silly, the better. It also makes many allusions to historical events and/or militaristic entities to hyperbolize the importance of what posters are saying.

Let’s go through a few phrases and decipher their meaning.

“She flew the motherplane directly into the World Serve Centre and C*ntagon,” reads a recent tweet about Anne Hathaway’s performance in an upcoming movie.

This tweet references the 9/11 terrorist attacks and replaces key terms with slang words. An airplane becomes “the motherplane,” which crashes into the “World Serve Centre,” rather than the World Trade Center, and the C*ntagon is a play on the Pentagon.

In total, the tweet means that Hathaway looks like she’ll be giving a fantastic performance in the new movie.

“She’s running around the streets of Servejero like she’s Motherilo Princip*ssy and she just committed the assassislaytion of Arch Diva Franz Ferdic*nt,” states a tweet about Greta Lee in a recent red carpet photo.

This one is significantly more difficult. Savejero, the capital city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, becomes “Servejero,” assassination is “assassislaytion,” and Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose killing resulted in the First World War, is “Arch Diva Franz Ferdic*nt.” “Motherilo Princip*ssy” is about Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian rebel who shot and killed Ferdinand.

The overall translation: Lee looks so incredible that it looks like she just got away with murder.

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*First Published: Jan 10, 2024, 12:23 pm CST