Gen Z secretly dissing you! Discover their “NPC” and “sidequest” slang meaning

Generation Z could be throwing shade your way, whether behind your back or right to your face.

However, you might remain oblivious to their opinions, as this slang-savvy cohort has seamlessly integrated gaming terminology into their ever-expanding lexicon. In a TikTok video garnering 1.5 million views, Harvard-educated linguistics expert Adam Aleksic drew parallels between the proliferation of gaming terms and the adoption of common sports metaphors or ancient chess-derived words like “check” or “pawn.”


“As we navigate this new cultural landscape, we’re tapping into our shared knowledge of video games to articulate our experiences,” explained Aleksic, also known as the Etymology Nerd online.

“Research indicates that societies consistently generate metaphors based on shared traditions because it enhances mutual understanding.”


Although terms like “NPC” or “sidequest” may currently be employed in a predominantly ironic fashion, Aleksic cautioned that this seemingly frivolous slang could assume a more significant meaning in the future. Thus, it’s advisable to acquaint oneself with these novel additions to the unofficial Gen Z dictionary.

For instance, “NPC,” an acronym for “non-player character,” denotes any virtual character within a game that lacks player control, remaining static and pre-programmed. Beyond the digital realm, labeling someone as an “NPC” implies they are dull or devoid of independent thought, merely adhering to an ideology without question.


Meanwhile, a “sidequest” in gaming refers to an optional task tangential to the main storyline. In real life, this term may encompass newfound hobbies or extracurricular pursuits unrelated to one’s primary occupation or established interests, signifying a departure from the expected or typical.

Written by Telha

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