Time for another American English slang term I picked up from the YouTube comments

(emphasis in bold mine)

"well... i gave her a vicodin." reminds me when i had a cold and my dad gave me a sip of vodka to get me to sleep. i was like eight and i was so turnt that night

It looks like a spelling variation for turned, but its meaning is different. One Urban Dictionary entry, with almost 2,500 upvotes, says

Like hype for a party, or at the club!
"Bra, this party about to be turnt!!!"

That entry is dated 2009 but there's an earlier one, posted in 2005 (emphasis not mine)

horny, drunk, f*cked up!! Crunk!!
Damn, I am all turnt on! or I am getting Turnt to night at the club!

Urban Dictionary was launched in 1999, which suggests that turnt was relatively unknown in the 1990s. It is also listed in a more sombre dictionary, Macmillan, it seems the definition is by someone from the UK in 2014.


or turnt up

From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary

a slang word meaning excited, having a really good time, possibly with the help of alcohol or drugs One artist who likes to sing about being turnt up is the criminally under-appreciated singer known as Ciara.

I wanted to ask about its origin and how to use this slang but I found the answers at Dictionary.com. Basically, turnt comes from African American culture, probably popularised by hip-hop artists, and it is derived from the expression turn up, as in “to turn up the heat/volume” at a party.

Turnt and turnt up begin as a slang term in African-American English meaning “excited,” “adrenalized,” or “intoxicated,” as the online hip-hop dictionary the Right Rhymes defines it. The term, though especially associated with drugs, alcohol, and sex at a crazy party, has broadened to mean “a state of being wild.”


  • The definition of turnt and turnt up sound familiar, almost interchangeable with that of lit and lit up, see this post on EL&U. Am I mistaken? Is there a difference in meaning, in usage, between the two?

  • How popular is its usage? For example, is it restricted to a specific generation or social class? Do over 40-year-olds say this?

  • Do I have to be American to use this slang or is it also used in the UK, as Macmillan seems to suggest?

I don't know the answers to any of these, so any extra information is warmly welcomed.

  • 2
    Your references are very comprehensive, leading me to believe there may not be much more information to find about this word.
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Jan 19, 2019 at 14:59
  • 'Green’s Dictionary of Slang' sheds some light on your questions, but it is pay-walled.
    – lbf
    Commented Jan 19, 2019 at 16:14
  • 2
    Turnt and lit mean different things to me, though they are in the same sphere. When describing people turnt refers more directly to being drunk or high and in a partying mood (not necessarily in a flattering way – “Dude, you got turnt last night!” is roughly equivalent to “Dude, you were wasted last night!”), whereas lit emphasises being on fleek, in the zone, delivering smackdown, giving life (“Girl was lit last night!” is roughly equivalent to “She was/you were on fire/awesome/rocking it/kicked ass/ruled last night”). Lit doesn’t imply drunkenness to me. Commented Jan 20, 2019 at 11:18

2 Answers 2


According Green’s Dictionary of Slang the expression is relatively recent:

Turnt adj.:

(US) subject to intensified emotions, under the influence of drink or drugs.

  • 2005 Urban Dict. 2 Aug. [Internet] Damn, I am all turnt on! or I am getting Turnt to night at the club!


turnt (up) (adj.):

  1. suffering the after-effects of a wild party.

  2. drunk.

The following website explains how the term turnt developped:

The word has been all over social media, taking over every other word in rap songs and hip hop music, and creeping its way into the lexicon of youths everywhere as they scream it at parties, on the weekends, and even at school: "turnt."

As it turns out, the word "turnt" is the third generation kin of two other words.

It all started with the word "turn," as it means "to change in nature, state, or form." Then, with the recent addition of "up" at the end of "turn," the phrase came to be a verb signifying passionate, deliberate, and excessive partying or celebration. For one to "turn up," one must actively decide to transcend the mundane of every day routine and single-handedly change the course of the day to be full of an all-encompassing enthusiasm.

Then, from "turn-up" comes "turnt" which is what you name the ultimate state of nirvana or success achieved by the aforementioned partying or celebration. You turn up to get turnt and there's no in-between.


In the following article from Elle.com Kim Kardashian explains the difference between turnt and lit (up), where the latter appears to convey a stronger meaning:

Turnt (ternt): Not to be confused with "lit," "turnt" is used to describe the atmosphere of a party, event or group of individuals. A party is turnt when the vibes are lifted and participants are all having an amazing time.

Lit (liht): The state of being so intoxicated, turned up or generally in an amazing mood; can be used to describe the state of mind of a person OR the state of a party or event.

It appears that the usage of the term turnt is more common with the digital natives rather than their parents.

As for: ”Do I have to be American to use this slang or is it also used in the UK,” apart from Macmillan Dictionary, both the ODO and Collins Dictionary define turnt as an AmE slang term, anyway given that the term is used in hip hop music and by international Artists such as Miley Cyrus it is reasonable to assume that it is understood and possibly used also in the UK by those who are most exposed to that music.


The following discussion is from my AmE experience and Green's Dictionary of Slang

The only distinctions I sense between turnt and lit:

lit, adj.: wide-spectrum term of approval, used of events, objects, individuals. ( a second sense - more recent) and seems to be unconfined to describing inebriation/ celebration.

  • 2016 Dly Pennsylvanian 23 Mar. [Internet] Here is a message I texted to my friend, while planning an outing to eat at Zesto’s Pizzeria: ‘Bruh this pizza is lit lets bounce fam’ Here is that sentence translated: ‘[Male friend] this pizza is [good] let’s [leave] [friend]’.

  • 2016 [UK] Guardian G2 8 Aug. [Internet] All modern slang was banned: Like saying: ‘Oh, that’s lit,’ or: ‘Oh, you swagging’.

Whereas turnt and turnt up refer to partying and alcohol. Lit-up is more nuanced: adj. drunk. 2. suffering from a sexually transmitted disease. 3. showily dressed up. 4. extremely intoxicated by a drug. 5. shot. 6. excited. 7. angry.

In AmE lit and lit up are more common in the senses above and used in both the +40 age and the -40 age. Turnt and trunt on are peculiar to the < 30 crowd ... more like gen Z.

All 4 words seem to be crossing the pond from west to east.

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