Cheugy meaning: what does the word trending on TikTok mean, pronunciation, and examples of ‘cheugy’ things

While the word was originally coined back in 2013, it has recently exploded in popularity thanks to TikTok

The internet is always coming up with news terms to place people into certain categories - who’s in, who’s out, who’s cool and who’s not.

The latest term to do such a thing that is taking over the likes of TikTok and Twitter is the word “cheugy”.

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Do you think you might be cheugy? (Photo: Shutterstock)
Do you think you might be cheugy? (Photo: Shutterstock)

What does Cheugy mean?

Essentially, cheugy is a word used, largely, to describe millennials by members of the Gen-Z population.

It is used to describe someone who is behind the latest trends, or out of touch. It’s different from the term “basic”, which can be used to describe someone who is somewhat generic or mainstream in their tastes.

CheugLife, an Instagram account with 34.1k followers dedicated to cataloging all things cheugy, says that cheugy is “a person who currently follows out of date trends”.

The New York Times Tweeted a definition of cheugy, explaining: “1. Someone who is out of touch or trying too hard. It’s not quite “basic”, but it’s someone who is behind the trends. Inauthentic.

“2. “The type of people who get married at 20 years old” or have millennial “girlboss energy”. It can be applied to anyone of any gender and any age and is highly subjective.

“3. Decidedly un-cheugy: thifting, making your own clothes, handmade products, Levi’s jeans, Birkenstocks, home decor not found at Target.”

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Where does the term come from?

Earlier this year in March, TikTok user Hallie Cain posted a video which explained that she and her friends had a word that they used for things that were no longer trendy.

In the video, Cain says: “Okay TikTok, I have a new word for you that my friends and I use that you clearly are all in need of.”

The New York Times reports that the word was actually coined by one of Cain’s friends, Caby Rassan, back in 2013 when she was in high school and trying to come up with a way to describe people who aren’t up to date with the latest trends.

Speaking to The New York Times, Rassan said: “There was a missing word that was on the edge of my tongue and nothing to describe it and “cheugy” came to me. How it sounded fit the meaning.”

Cain added that there also isn’t a hard and fast rule for what is and isn’t cheugy, saying: “It’s totally open to your interpretation. I’ll send something to our group chat and be like, “Is this cheugy?” and some will say “yes” and some will say “no”.”

What are some examples of things considered cheugy?

What falls under the category of cheugy is ever changing.

“When I first introduced the word in 2015, low rise jeans were cheugy. Now, six years later, low rise jeans are back in style and I don’t think they’re cheugy anymore,” Cain said.

Currently, these are just some things that are considered cheugy, according to CheugLife:

- Anything that says “girl boss”

- Graphic t-shirts

- Ugg boots

- Being obsessed with Disney as an adult (can also be applied to the Star Wars and Harry Potter franchises)

- Live, Laugh, Love decorations

- Saying “I did a thing” after cutting or dying your hair

- The song I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas

- The Twilight franchise

- Cake pops

- Starbucks frappuccinos

In short, if, as a millenial, something was popular whilst you were in high school, there’s a good chance it’s now considered as cheugy.

If you’re worried about coming off as cheugy and want to avoid it, Rasson says: “Looking good for yourself and not caring what other people think, that confidence exudes non-cheugyness.”