“OK TikTok, I’ve a brand new phrase for you that my mates and I take advantage of that you simply clearly are all in want of,” Hallie Cain, 24, a copywriter in Los Angeles says in a TikTok posted on March 30.
Within the video, she gestures to a different video of a woman who’s describing “the kind of individuals who get married at 20 years previous” or have millennial “girlboss vitality” and who wonders: What will we name this sort of particular person?
“I maintain seeing movies like this,” Ms. Cain says in her TikTok. “The phrase, my pal, is ‘cheugy.’”
It’s not fairly “primary,” which might describe somebody who’s a conformist or maybe generic of their tastes, and it’s not fairly “uncool.” It’s not embarrassing and even at all times damaging. Cheugy (pronounced chew-gee) can be utilized, broadly, to explain somebody who’s outdated or making an attempt too exhausting. And whereas loads of cheugy issues are related to millennial girls, the time period may be utilized to anybody of any gender and any age.
It’s not only a technique to describe folks. In accordance with individuals who have embraced the phrase, the next are additionally cheugy: The Hype Home, Golden Goose sneakers, something related to Barstool Sports activities, Gucci belts with the big double “G” brand, being actually into sneaker tradition, Rae Dunn pottery, and something chevron.
“One in all my mates mentioned lasagna is cheugy,” mentioned Ms. Cain.
Issues which are decidedly un-cheugy, in line with its progenitors: thrifting, making your personal garments, handmade merchandise, Levi’s denims, Birkenstocks, house decor not discovered at Goal. “Trying good for your self and never caring what different folks suppose, that confidence exudes non-cheugyness,” mentioned Gaby Rasson, 23, a software program developer in Los Angeles who coined the time period.
She mentioned she began utilizing the phrase again in 2013 whereas attending Beverly Hills Excessive Faculty. She wished a technique to describe individuals who have been barely off pattern. However she couldn’t fairly give you the fitting time period, so she created her personal.
“It was a class that didn’t exist,” she mentioned. “There was a lacking phrase that was on the sting of my tongue and nothing to explain it and ‘cheugy’ got here to me. The way it sounded match the which means.”
The phrase unfold amongst her classmates, then camp mates, then, when her mates went off to school, it took off on their campuses. “Everybody in our sorority is aware of the phrase cheugy,” mentioned Abby Siegel, 23, a producer and former pupil on the College of Colorado, Boulder, who mentioned she discovered the phrase at a summer time camp that Ms. Rasson additionally attended.
However cheugy was on no account mainstream till Ms. Cain posted her TikTok. It shortly amassed tons of of 1000’s of views, inspiring explainers.
Although cheugy has slight damaging connotations, individuals who use the time period mentioned they typically establish as cheugy themselves. “Everybody may be cheugy,” mentioned Ms. Siegel. “Everybody has one thing cheugy of their closet. We didn’t intend for it to be a imply factor. Some folks have claimed that it’s. It’s only a enjoyable phrase we used as a bunch of mates that someway resonated with a bunch of individuals.”
The ladies additionally don’t declare to be the arbiters of the time period. “It’s additionally completely open to your interpretation,” mentioned Ms. Cain. “I’ll ship one thing to our group chat and be like, ‘Is that this cheugy?’ and a few will say ‘sure’ and a few will say ‘no.’”
Michael Cotos, 24, an actor in Los Angeles found the phrase on TikTok and it instantly resonated as a distinct segment descriptor. “I used to be like OMG, that is the right phrase,” he mentioned. “It’s a sure sub group of those who simply don’t fairly get it.”
Alex Lugger, 32, a ship marketer in Springfield, Mo., mentioned that she self identifies as a bit cheugy. (She additionally discovered in regards to the phrase via TikTok.) “We have been primary in our 20s and now we’re cheugy in our 30s,” she mentioned.
Cheugy is simply the most recent in an extended line of area of interest identifiers which have gained traction on the web, the place folks relentlessly categorize extremely particular archetypes in starter pack memes and movies. It’s no coincidence that cheugy gained traction on TikTok, a platform that has functioned as an escape from Instagram’s as soon as dominant aesthetic, which is the head of cheugy.
Kelly Wright, an experimental sociolinguist and Ph.D. candidate on the College of Michigan who research language mentioned that with the rise of social media, “we see phrases rising to outline very area of interest classes of individuals, identities and behaviors. Of their core, they’re marking shared occasions or a shared understanding of the world. These phrases that emerge from smaller communities have the potential to be picked up by wider audiences due to social media and that connectedness.”
In the end phrases like cheugy are as a lot about establishing who you aren’t as who you might be. “A phrase like cheugy is a method of labeling an in group and an out group,” mentioned Gretchen McCulloch, a linguist and the creator of “As a result of Web,” a e-book about how the web has formed language.
She mentioned that although the notion of cheugy has in all probability been round for some time, the time period itself is new and novel sufficient to be fashionable itself. “Sure sorts of phrases undergo tendencies identical to clothes and accessories do,” Ms. McCulloch mentioned. “They’re modern for some time and exit of trend. The phrase for cool will get changed each few years, cool sticks round as a background world. Groovy meant cool, now it’s dated. Developing with a phrase like cheugy is a technique to distance your self from one thing that was actually standard till very lately.”
As such, what’s and isn’t cheugy is extremely subjective and altering shortly. “It’s very easy to establish cheugy issues on TikTok as a result of TikTok is so quick paced an there’s so many tendencies that come and go,” mentioned Ms. Siegel.
“I see stuff and I’m like, that is so overdone so I believe it’s cheugy. Whereas if I didn’t see it on my ‘For You’ web page, I wouldn’t suppose it was cheugy,” she mentioned, referring to what’s basically the TikTok house web page.
And for any millennials anxious about being behind the tendencies, Ms. Cain mentioned to not fear. “I believe millennials have observed that some issues we used to think about cheugy are coming again in type and aren’t cheugy anymore,” she mentioned. “Once I was first launched to the phrase in 2015, low rise denims have been cheugy. Now, six years later, low rise denims are again in type and I don’t suppose they’re cheugy anymore.”