From Alpha to Boomer and Yolo to Zennial

Our glossary shows you the most important – and most amusing – expressions on the subject of generations.

Marlies Seifert

A / B / C

Alpha is the generation that comes after Gen Z. It is therefore the first generation to grow up entirely in the 21st century. It is fair to assume that topics such as climate change and artificial intelligence will have a major impact on Alphas.

Baby boomers owe their name to the high birth rates in the 1950s and 1960s and are now either already retired or about to retire. In 2022, the baby boomer generation accounted for only one in seven of the working population in Switzerland.

Cringe was the youth word of 2021 and means something that is embarrassing. The parents, for example.

D / F / G

Digital native is a person who came into contact with digital media at an early age. Generation Z is the first generation for whom the internet has been part of everyday life since childhood.

Fridays for Future is a youth movement that emerged from Generation Z and campaigns against climate change. The founder is the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

Generation refers to people who were born in a certain period of time. Common characteristics are derived from experiences and influences that they share.

I / M / O

Influencers use their strong presence on social media to promote lifestyles and products. They reach particularly digital natives.

Millennial is an alternative term for a person from Generation Y. They came of age around the turn of the millennium.

Okay, boomer! is used as a put-down to older people – usually baby boomers (born 1950–1964) – when their opinions are perceived by younger people as narrow-minded or outdated. The issue in question often involves society or the environment.

S / T / X

Sinnfluencers (a German word play composed of “Sinn” (sense/purpose) and “influencer”) are influencers who act less as brand ambassadors and instead use their platform to exert political or social influence.

Traditionalists are the predecessors of the baby boomers. Because they were born at a time (before 1945) when freedom of expression was considered dangerous or undesirable, this currently oldest age group is also known as the “silent generation”.

X is the name of the generation born between baby boomers and millennials. Because the two generations either side of it criticise each other so vociferously, Generation X often gets overlooked.

Y / Z

Yolo – short for “You Only Live Once” – was voted Youth Word of the Year in 2012 and is considered the motto of Generation Y.

Zennial is a hybrid of Generation Z and millennial. The fact that many people in their mid-thirties identify with this so-called micro-generation shows there are no clear-cut distinctions between the individual generations.

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