What Does 21 Mean Slang: Understanding the Popular Internet Acronym

Have you ever heard the slang term “21” and wondered what it means? Well, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In today’s world, where communication is constantly evolving, it’s easy to feel out of the loop when new phrases and acronyms pop up. But fear not, because I’m here to break down the meaning behind “21” and give you a crash course in modern slang.

So, what does “21” actually mean? Essentially, it’s a way of saying that someone or something is exceptionally cool or impressive. It’s often used to describe a person who is stylish, confident, and just generally well-liked. You might hear someone say, “That guy is so 21,” or “Her outfit is totally 21.” But where did this term come from, and why has it become so popular? That’s what we’ll be exploring in this article, so buckle up and get ready to dive into the world of modern slang.

21 Savage and his popularity in hip-hop culture

The number 21 has taken on a new meaning in recent years, particularly within the hip-hop culture. One of the biggest names to bring attention to this slang term is 21 Savage, an Atlanta-based rapper who burst onto the scene in 2015. 21 Savage is known for his unique flow and storytelling ability, often referencing his troubled past and criminal activities in his music.

  • One of 21 Savage’s most popular songs is “Bank Account,” where he repeatedly raps the phrase “21” in reference to himself and his crew.
  • The number 21 has also become synonymous with his trademark ad-lib, “Issa,” short for “It’s a,” which he often uses in interviews and on social media.
  • Additionally, 21 Savage has made references to the number 21 in his album titles, such as “Savage Mode” and “I Am > I Was.”

21 Savage’s popularity and influence has helped to popularize the use of “21” in hip-hop slang. It has become a commonly used term to refer to oneself, one’s crew, or one’s prowess in various areas such as money, women, and firearms.

Below is a table showcasing some examples of how “21” is used in modern hip-hop slang:

Term/Phrase Meaning
“21 Savage” Referring to oneself or one’s crew as tough and dangerous
“21 Gun Salute” A tribute or respect given to someone who has passed away
“21 Questions” Asking someone a series of intimate questions to get to know them better
“21 Feet” Referring to carrying a firearm or being ready to defend oneself in a dangerous situation

The influence of 21 Savage and other hip-hop artists on popular culture has helped to shape the meaning of the number 21 in modern slang. It has become a symbol of toughness, street smarts, and success, with many young people adopting the term as their own.

Origin and History of the Term “21” as Slang

One of the most fascinating aspects of slang is how it constantly evolves in response to changing cultural and societal norms. The term “21” is no exception, and its origins and history provide a window into the ways in which language can take on new meanings over time.

  • The earliest known usage of “21” as slang dates back to the 19th century, when it was used to describe a popular gambling game known as “21” or “blackjack.”
  • Over time, the term began to take on additional connotations related to gambling and luck, and it eventually evolved into a broader term for success or favorable outcomes in any context.
  • More recently, “21” has taken on additional meanings within popular culture, such as being the title of a hit album by rapper 21 Savage or having associations with celebratory drinking.

While the specific connotations of “21” as slang may continue to evolve over time, its enduring popularity as a term is a testament to the colorful and ever-changing nature of language.

Here is a table summarizing the different meanings of “21” as slang throughout history:

Time Period Meaning of “21” as Slang
19th century A gambling game
Early 20th century Good luck or favorable outcome
21st century Success or celebratory drinking

Clearly, the term “21” has had a long and storied history as slang, and its continued use today is a testament to its enduring popularity and utility as a cultural touchstone. Whether it’s used to describe a winning hand in blackjack or a night out with friends, “21” remains a versatile and beloved piece of slang that continues to evolve with the times.

The Significance of “21” in Blackjack and Gambling

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games that involves the number “21.” The game has a simple rule – reach a hand value of 21 or closest to it, without going over, to beat the dealer’s hand. The term “blackjack” refers to a hand that consists of an Ace and a ten-point card, the highest possible hand, resulting in an instant win. This significance of “21” in blackjack has become synonymous with gambling, representing a winning hand and a game of chance.

The Origin of “21” in Blackjack

  • The origins of blackjack trace back to the French game called “Vingt-et-un,” meaning “twenty-one.”
  • The game’s objective was still to reach a hand value of 21 or closest to it, but with slightly different rules, including cards worth their face value, face cards worth ten points, and Aces worth either one or eleven points.
  • The game arrived in America in the 1800s and evolved into what we know today as blackjack, where Aces count as eleven unless it would cause the player to bust.

The Superstitions Surrounding “21” in Gambling

Gambling, in general, is a superstitious activity, where specific numbers represent good luck or bad luck. The number “21” is often perceived as a lucky number, per its significance in blackjack and gambling. For instance, Chinese gamblers believe that the number 21 is linked with prosperity and success, as it sounds like “I can make money” in Cantonese. Similarly, other cultures associate the number 21 with good fortune and consider it as a lucky number.

Interestingly, some casinos use the number 21 for promotional purposes, such as table games with a minimum bet of $21 or special $21 blackjack tables. It adds to the excitement and sends a positive message to the players that they’re in for a lucky streak.

The 21 Club in Las Vegas

The 21 Club was a famous nightclub in Las Vegas in the 1950s, located on the 21st floor of the Bank of Las Vegas. The club often featured performances by famous entertainers such as Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, attracting wealthy celebrities and high-rollers. The club’s name “21” played on the blackjack reference and added a touch of elegance, sophistication, and exclusivity.

21 Club Membership Card 21 Club Exterior
What Does 21 Mean Slang: Understanding the Popular Internet Acronym 3 What Does 21 Mean Slang: Understanding the Popular Internet Acronym 5

Today, the 21 Club in Las Vegas is no longer operational. However, the legacy continues with many establishments in Las Vegas using the number 21 in their names and promotions, such as Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino’s VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, which plays on the blackjack reference in reverse.

How “21” is used in the context of age restriction laws

In the United States, the legal drinking age is 21 years old. This means that anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited from purchasing or consuming alcohol in any form. The number 21 is engrained in the American psyche and is associated with the legal age of adulthood for many activities, including drinking, smoking, and gambling.

  • Several US states also have laws restricting the age for purchasing marijuana to 21 years old.
  • The minimum age for obtaining a concealed carry permit in many US states is 21 years old.
  • Individuals under 21 years old may also face stricter penalties for certain crimes, such as driving under the influence of alcohol.

The significance of the number 21 in US law can also be seen in the language used to refer to the age restriction. Commonly known as the “21 law” or the “21-year-old law,” this legal standard emphasizes the importance of the age limit and its restriction on certain activities. Violations of these laws can lead to fines, penalties, or even criminal charges.

Understanding the legal implications of the number 21 is important for anyone operating in the United States. This includes businesses, government agencies, and individuals who may be subject to these age restrictions. By staying informed about these laws, we can ensure the safety and well-being of everyone involved.

Activity Legal Age Requirement (in most US states)
Drinking Alcohol 21 years
Purchasing or Consuming Marijuana 21 years
Purchasing Tobacco Products 18 or 21 years
Obtaining a Concealed Carry Permit 21 years

As the legal landscape continues to evolve, it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments concerning age restrictions and their impact on various activities. Being informed and educated on these issues will help ensure that the rights and safety of all individuals involved are protected.

“21” as a code for the police

One of the most common uses for the number 21 in slang is as a code for the police. This originated from the 1960s television series “Adam-12,” which followed two police officers in the Los Angeles Police Department. The show’s creators consulted with the LAPD to ensure accuracy, and the police code 211 (which is used to describe a robbery in progress) was frequently used during the show’s six-year run. Over time, the use of “21” expanded to encompass all police-related matters.

  • Some examples of “21” in use include phrases like “watch out, 21 is on the way,” or “I had to run when I saw the 21.”
  • The slang term “five-o” is another example of using numbers to refer to police officers. This phrase originates from the television show “Hawaii Five-O,” which followed a special police task force in Hawaii. It’s still in use today, often in hip hop music and in inner-city communities.
  • The use of code language to refer to the police is not new. In fact, during Prohibition in the United States, people used a variety of terms to refer to law enforcement officials, including “the heat,” “the bulls,” and “the coppers.”

In addition to code language, police officers themselves have developed their own slang terms and jargon. This includes acronyms like APB (all-points bulletin), BOLO (be on the lookout), and PBA (police benevolent association). Police officers also use a lot of radio codes, which help them communicate quickly and succinctly. Some common examples include “10-4” (meaning “acknowledged”), “10-20” (meaning “location”), and “10-33” (meaning “emergency”).

Understanding police slang and codes can be helpful for journalists, writers, and anyone interested in law enforcement. However, it’s important to use them carefully and accurately, as misunderstandings can lead to serious consequences.

“21” as a code for marijuana

When talking about marijuana, the term “21” is often used by enthusiasts as a code. This term is believed to have originated from police radio codes where “Code 420” is used to refer to drug activity. However, it is unclear where the number “21” specifically came from.

  • Some believe that “21” refers to the legal drinking age in the United States, suggesting that marijuana use should also be legalized.
  • Others think that “21” represents the number of chemical compounds present in cannabis, including the widely-known psychoactive compound THC and the non-psychoactive compound CBD.
  • Another theory proposes that “21” is simply the mirror image of “12,” which is a popular slang term for the police and therefore represents defiance against law enforcement.

While the true origin of “21” remains a mystery, it has gained popularity among marijuana enthusiasts as a discreet way to talk about the drug in public. It is commonly used on social media, in music lyrics, and in everyday conversations among smokers.

As marijuana continues to become more mainstream, the use of slang terms such as “21” may become less common. However, for now, it remains a popular code word among those in the know.

Police Radio Code Meaning
10-4 Acknowledged
10-20 Location
10-33 Emergency
Term Meaning
21 Marijuana
420 Drug activity or marijuana use
Blunt A cigar wrapper filled with marijuana
Bud The flower of the cannabis plant
Joint A hand-rolled cigarette filled with marijuana

Other popular slang terms for marijuana include “weed,” “pot,” “ganja,” and “Mary Jane.” While slang terms can be fun and useful within certain social circles, it is important to remember that they can also contribute to negative stereotypes and stigmas surrounding marijuana use. To combat this, it’s important to educate ourselves and others about the benefits and risks of marijuana use and to use language that reflects its true nature and potential.

“21” in reference to a prison sentence

The term “21” is often used as prison slang to reference a 21-year prison sentence. It is commonly used by those who have faced or are currently serving time in prison, as well as those who work within the prison system, including prison guards and staff. The term has been popularized through music, movies, and television shows, which often feature characters discussing their experiences with prison slang and culture.

  • Although 21 is rarely the actual length of a prison sentence, it is sometimes used as a way to express a long or indefinite sentence. Those who are serving lengthy sentences in prison may feel that there is no end in sight, and the term “21” can be a way to express this sentiment.
  • Furthermore, in some cases, a defendant may be offered a plea deal that includes a 21-year sentence. This may be seen as a relatively lenient offer, particularly if the defendant was facing a longer sentence or even life imprisonment.
  • It is worth noting that not all prisons or prison systems use the term “21” in the same way. In some cases, the term may have different connotations or meanings depending on the context, the region, and the culture of the prison or system in question.

Overall, the term “21” is a part of prison culture and slang that has gained widespread recognition in popular culture. While it may not be an accurate representation of the average length of a prison sentence, it is a way for those within the system to express their experiences and emotions related to incarceration.

For those outside of the prison system, understanding the meaning of terms like “21” can help to shed light on the realities of the criminal justice system, and the experiences of those who are impacted by it. As with any piece of slang or jargon, it is important to approach these terms with an open mind and a willingness to learn about different cultures and perspectives.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by the criminal justice system, seeking out resources and support can be a helpful way to navigate the challenges and complexities of this experience.

Term Meaning
21 In prison slang, a reference to a 21-year prison sentence
Plea Deal An agreement offered by prosecutors to defendants as a way to avoid trial and secure a lesser sentence in exchange for a guilty plea
Lenient Mild, gentle, or merciful. In the context of criminal justice, a lenient sentence may be seen as relatively favorable compared to a harsher or longer sentence.
Criminal Justice System The system of institutions, laws, and procedures that is designed to enforce criminal law and promote justice. Includes law enforcement, courts, and corrections.

The use of “21” in pop culture and media

21 has become a popular slang term used across pop culture and media. It’s frequently used in music, movies, TV shows, and more. Let’s take a closer look at how this number is used in these different forms of media.


  • The rapper 21 Savage has made “21” a notable number in his music, including his album titles like “Issa Album” (a play on the phrase “It’s a Album” but also a slang term for God) and “Savage Mode II” featuring hit song “Runnin.”
  • The song “21 Guns” by Green Day is a popular rock ballad that has been featured in several movies and TV shows.
  • The band Adele also has a song called “21” which was the name of her second album and notable for its commercial success.

Movies and TV shows

Several movies and TV shows have incorporated “21” into their titles or storylines, making it an even more popular reference point. Here are some notable examples:

  • The film “21” starring Kevin Spacey is based on a true story of a group of MIT students who use card counting to win big in Las Vegas.
  • The popular TV show “21 Jump Street” follows two rookie cops who infiltrate a high school to bust a drug ring.
  • The movie “Knives Out” features a key character named Marta Cabrera, who is also referred to as “21” at one point in the film.

Slang and Internet culture

21 has also been incorporated into internet and slang culture, often used as shorthand to reference a person’s age, to indicate someone who is “fully legal” being 21 years old in the United States, or simply as a substitute for excitement.

Usage Definition
“I’m finally 21!” Typically used when someone is excited to be legally able to drink in the US, since the legal drinking age is 21.
“21 Questions” A reference to the song by 50 Cent that became a slang term for asking someone a lot of personal questions.
“21 Savage” A reference to the rapper, either as a nod to his music or as a way to describe someone who is acting tough or savage.

No matter how you slice it, 21 has become a popular cultural reference point across media and is sure to continue to be a part of slang and pop culture for years to come.

The rise of online “21” communities for socializing and dating

As technology has allowed for more avenues of social interaction, new slang terms and phrases have emerged. One such term is “21,” which refers to being legally allowed to purchase and consume alcohol in the United States. This has led to the rise of online “21” communities, which are geared towards socializing and dating among legal adults.

  • These communities often revolve around college campuses, where many students have recently turned 21 and are eager to explore the nightlife.
  • Much like other online dating services, these communities allow users to create profiles and connect with others who share similar interests.
  • However, there is an added emphasis on alcohol consumption and the party scene, which can be a turnoff to some users who are looking for more meaningful connections.

The rise of these communities has also come with some controversy, as they have been criticized for promoting binge drinking and unsafe sexual practices. Supporters argue that they offer a safe and controlled environment for adults to socialize and build relationships.

It is important to remember that participating in any online community comes with its own set of risks and it is up to individuals to make informed decisions about their safety. That being said, the popularity of “21” communities shows no signs of slowing down as more and more young adults enter their 20s and seek out new social experiences.

Pros Cons
Opportunity to connect with other legal adults Emphasis on alcohol consumption can be off-putting to some
Safe and controlled environment for socializing Risk of promoting binge drinking and unsafe sexual practices
Geared towards college students, a demographic that is already comfortable with online interactions Potential for fake or misleading profiles, as with any online dating platform

Overall, the rise of online “21” communities highlights the importance of technology in shaping our social interactions, as well as the unique challenges and benefits that come with participating in these communities.

The Crossover Between “21” and Other Popular Slang Terms

The Number 21 in Slang Terminology

The number 21 is a popular slang term that originated in the United States. It is used to describe a person or thing that is considered the best, top-notch, or of the highest quality. The slang stems from the popular card game, Blackjack, in which 21 is the highest score a player can get without going over.

The term “21” has evolved beyond its original meaning to include several other connotations as well, from age to anniversaries, to references in music and popular culture.

Other Slang Terms Related to “21”

  • Twenty-One: An alternative way of saying 21, often used in formal contexts.
  • 21 Savage: A rapper from Atlanta, Georgia whose stage name is inspired by the 21st street on which he grew up. He has become a prominent figure in pop culture and has contributed to the rise in popularity of the term “21”.
  • 21 Club: A New York City restaurant and Prohibition-era speakeasy famous for its celebrity clientele. Throughout the years, it has come to be associated with the elite and exclusive members of society.

The Age Connection

One of the most common uses of the term “21” is to refer to the legal drinking age in the United States. Celebrating one’s 21st birthday has become a rite of passage for many young adults who are eager to finally legally consume alcohol.

However, the age of 21 has taken on other cultural meanings as well, including the release of Taylor Swift’s recent album titled “Folklore: The Deluxe Edition (Original Songs + Voice Memos)” on which Swift included a bonus track called “The Lakes” which included lyrics like, “Take me to the lakes, where all the poets went to die / I don’t belong and, my beloved, neither do you / Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry / I’m setting off, but not without my muse.”

Pop Culture References to “21”

The term “21” has also appeared in numerous pop culture references throughout the years. Here are just a few examples:

Reference Description
21 Jump Street A popular 80s TV show that was later adapted into a movie.
21 Questions A song by rapper 50 Cent in which he asks a lover a series of questions to get to know her better.
21 Pilots A band that found fame with their 2015 album, “Blurryface”.

The number 21 has taken on many meanings and become a fixture in the world of slang. From music to movies, sports to pop culture, the term continues to evolve and become more ingrained in our everyday language.

FAQs About What Does 21 Mean Slang

1. What does 21 mean in slang?

21 is a slang term used to describe a person who is very money-oriented and materialistic. It is derived from the popular card game “21”, which is also known as blackjack.

2. Is there any other meaning for 21 in slang?

Yes, 21 is also used as a code for marijuana. It is used as a reference to the 21st letter of the alphabet, which is “U”, and is pronounced similar to “you”. Therefore, 21 means “you got weed”.

3. Can 21 be used in a positive way?

Yes, 21 can also be used to describe someone who is skilled or talented in a particular area. For example, if someone is a great dancer, they may be referred to as “21” in the context of dance.

4. Where did the slang term 21 come from?

The origin of the slang term 21 is unclear. However, it is believed to have originated in African American culture and has since spread to other groups.

5. Is it considered offensive to use the term 21?

The use of the term 21 may be considered offensive by some individuals, particularly those who do not identify with the materialism or drug-related aspects of the term.

6. How can I use 21 in a sentence?

Examples of using 21 in a sentence include: “He’s always flexing his money, he’s such a 21”, “Do you have any 21?”, or “She’s a 21 when it comes to playing the piano.”

7. Is 21 commonly used in everyday language?

The use of 21 is more common in certain subcultures and may not be as widely understood among all demographics. However, it has gained some mainstream recognition in popular music and media.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading about what does 21 mean in slang! Now that you’re up to speed on this term, you can use it in conversations with friends or even in your own creative writing. Just remember to be mindful of its potentially offensive connotations and use it appropriately. If you’re curious about learning more slang terms, be sure to check back in for more articles in the future!