TikTokers have adopted a new word in order to describe a certain type of millennial who fits into a category that previously ‘didn’t exist’.
The term can apparently be used to describe people, objects, clothing items, interests and general ways of life, and though it was initially coined in 2013, it has recently been picked up by TikTokers.
It was created by Gaby Rasson, a now-23-year-old a software developer in Los Angeles, who was struggling to come up with a term to describe people who were slightly off-trend. After being unable to find a suitable descriptor, she came up with her own: ‘cheugy’.
Pronounced ‘chew-gee’, Rasson explained that the word created a category that ‘didn’t exist’, saying: ‘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.’
According to The New York Times, the term is not quite synonymous with ‘basic’ or ‘uncool’, nor is it always embarrassing or negative, but it is used to describe those who are out of date or trying too hard. It can apply to anyone of any gender and any age, though millennials seem to be the ones who regularly display cheugy traits.
Objects and hobbies that are deemed ‘cheugy’ include Golden Goose sneakers, Gucci belts with a large double ‘G’ logo and being really into sneaker culture, while things that are excluded from the category include thrifting, handmade products, Levi’s jeans, Birkenstocks and home decor not found at Target.
Rasson explained: ‘Looking good for yourself and not caring what other people think, that confidence exudes non-cheugyness.’
Abby Siegel, who said she learned the phrase at a summer camp that Rasson also attended, said the word wasn’t intended to be a ‘mean thing’, saying: ‘Everyone can be cheugy… Some people have claimed that it is. It’s just a fun word we used as a group of friends that somehow resonated with a bunch of people.’
Though the term has been around for a few years, it didn’t make it into the mainstream until it became the focus of copywriter Hallie Cain’s TikTok video, where it has since been picked up by millions.
One TikToker, Michael Cotos, 24, described cheugy as ‘the perfect word’ for ‘a certain sub group of people that just don’t quite get it.’ Meanwhile TikTok user Alex Lugger said she herself was a bit cheugy, explaining: ‘We were basic in our 20s and now we’re cheugy in our 30s.’
Though being described as cheugy may mean you’re behind the times, Cain noted that things often come back in style, so anyone who fits the category now might just worm their way out of it in the future.