What Does Swerve Mean?

Words by
Morgan Wilcock

JAN 09, 2024

What Does Swerve Mean?

“Today at school, Jake came running up to me in the hall to talk and I swerved him so fast!” 

“I tried to flirt with my crush today and got swerved.” 

“Ethan asked me on a date today.” “Ooh, swerve, girl!” 

If these phrases don’t make any sense to you, have no fear! Gen Z is constantly coming up with new slang terms, and “swerve” has just become part of the slang dictionary

teen girl swerving another teen girl saying hi

Swerve Slang

The word swerve first deviated from its typical meaning (to suddenly change directions) in a Kanye West song called Mercy. In his song, the word “swerve” is shouted out after lines specifically discussing sexual acts, implying that the term is used to praise or commend something, specifically sex. 

This term is still used in this context today, although the word “swerve” to mean encouragement does not always have to do with sex. It can simply mean support of what a person is saying.

However, it’s important to know that the popular usage of the term has continued to evolve since 2012, when Mercy was released. Today, swerve’s slang meaning is also used to describe the intentional and specific avoidance of another person or task.

Today, swerve’s slang meaning is used to describe the intentional and specific avoidance of another person or task.

The word most often applies specifically to dating, as people will often use the term to describe the act of rejecting or dodging someone. Swerving typically refers to in-person encounters rather than dodging texts or calls. 

For example, if a teen just suffered a breakup, they may “swerve,” or change directions in the hall to avoid their ex. They may also “swerve” to avoid the person who has a crush on them but for whom they do not share feelings. 

young girl talking to her mom on a couch

What Can Parents Do About “Swerving”? 

As parents, we might hate the idea of our children being rejected or “swerved” by other people. Of course, we hope that they will develop healthy friendships that foster communication over avoidance. 

However, we can’t protect them from everything. It’s important that we discuss what swerving is, and how it can be hurtful to others. 

Consider opening up a dialogue with your kids about what they do when they see someone they don’t want to talk to. Do they run the other way? Or do they confront the situation head on? 

There’s no hard and fast rule of avoidance or engagement, but it’s important that kids remember to be kind and considerate of other people’s feelings before they go out of their way to avoid them. 

There are, of course, situations where avoidance is the better — and safer — option. It will be up to your discretion as a parent how you instruct your kids in this regard. 

Parents Can Protect Kids from Dangerous Slang

While “swerve” is not a dangerous slang term, it is helpful to keep tabs on the popular words your kids are using. 

Slang is not a new thing but the digital age has opened the door to kids adopting slang terms from all over the globe. Kids can have access to vulgar and explicit language through any number of means, such as through music, media, and even friends. 

A kid-safe phone is a great way to guard guard kids against such language while also allowing them to build digital communication skills with autonomy. Gabb Phone 3 Pro allows parents to monitor any texts flagged for potentially dangerous communication that are sent to and from the phone, as well as filters out unsafe language and phone numbers immediately through spam protection software. 

What are some slang terms you need decoded? How can we help you navigate parenting in the digital age? Was this article helpful? Let us know in the comments!

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