Kids these days—if they aren’t calling you “bruh” or working on an aesthetic, they’re doing TikTok dances or using other Gen Z and Gen Alpha terms that mystify parents and adults. That brings us to a puzzling expression that’s all the rage right now: mewing. Not meowing—mewing. If you haven’t heard the term, it’s yet another in a long list of middle-school slang words that make no sense (to us anyway). Our favorite teacher in the trenches, Mr. Lindsay, recently took to TikTok to enlighten us old folks on what “mewing” means.


Replying to @Ohmygoodness Don’t let them hit you with the 🤫🤫🤫! 😂 This one is called #mewing and thisnis what it is! #genalpha #slang #genz #middleschoolslang #teach #teachersoftiktok #teacherfyp #highschoolteacher #middleschoolteacher #mewing

♬ original sound – Mr. Lindsay


Turns out, it’s an exercise that allegedly helps you define your jawline or get rid of a double chin—simply, you put your tongue to the roof of your mouth and swallow. And, surprise, the American Association of Orthodontists debunked the trend, explaining that mewing doesn’t do much to change your jawline or chin, after all. Regardless, Gen Z and Gen Alpha kids have taken hold of the action and made it their own.

Now, they’re all ‘mewing’ at home and in the classroom. But… what’s the real reason they’re doing it? As Lindsay explains, “When you’re mewing, you can’t talk because you have your tongue on the roof of your mouth, and you’re swallowing. The trending part is when somebody comes up and asks you a question, particularly if it’s a teacher or a parent, and you don’t want to answer the question, you hit them with ‘mewing.’”

Kids will put a finger to their lips like they’re shushing someone, then run their finger along their jawline, which, according to Lindsay, is a sign the kid doesn’t want to answer your question. “I’m mewing; I’m working on my jawline. I’m doing my jawline exercises.” Lovely. This might also be followed by a good amount of laughter, as students (especially boys) take pleasure in confusing any and all clueless adults.

So how do you combat this annoying gesture? If you have kids mewing at you, give them a taste of their own medicine, and either try it out on them the next time they ask you a question or, as Lindsay suggests, say something along the lines of, “You can mew on your own time. Answer my question.”

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