Culture / People

What is Cheugy? A breakdown of the word taking over the Internet

It has been a whirlwind week for the word Cheugy, an ironically cringey word that has taken over the zeitgeist in the past weeks and has landed us here, discussing it.

Last week, the New York Times did a deep dive into the bizarre term, which has seemingly been gaining popularity on TikTok and beyond for the past weeks, sparking a wider conversation on the word. Cheugy, as it stands, is a term coined by Gaby Rasson, 23, a software developer in Los Angeles who started using the word back in 2013 while attending Beverly Hills High School, and  is used to describe someone or something that’s outdated or trying too hard, usually aligning with objects and trends brought forward by millennials.


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What does it all mean?

Pronounced 'Chew-gee' with a hard G, the term has been used to describe things like chevron prints, “Live Laugh Love”-style home décor, cursive hand-lettering styles the #girlboss hashtag, Gucci belts with the large double “G” logo, it's the high school MLM aesthetic, and it's open to interpretation. So open, in fact, that Hallie Cain, an LA copywriter who introduced the term to TikTok told the Times,“One of my friends said lasagna is cheugy,” it truly is a genderless, identity-less term.

Upon rising to the front of our feeds, Cheugy was most frequently aligned with the term "basic", but many have argued it's not quite the same, nor is it necessarily on par with "uncool", it is, rather, an ambiguous and mildy endearing term to fill the internet's incessant void to categorise or 'starter pack' certain types of people and things. Which begs the question: am I Cheugy? Are you? At what level of Cheug am I at if I like lasagna but avoid chevron at all costs?

There is undeniable mystery that comes with the term, leaving it open to move with the times and the trends, I suppose. It's using words like "doggo", "vibes", and "adulting" unironically and phrases like "did a thing" and "Rosé all day", its often subjective, and it's changing very quickly.


Is it offensive?

Cheugy may seem on the negative side for some, but it was never intended that way. “Everyone has something cheugy in their closet. We didn’t intend for it to be a mean thing. 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.” Abby Siegel told the Times.

Some have taken it as far as calling cheugy misogynistic, and claiming it is but another way to bully women. At first glance, it feels like a valid point - sort of - but at the root of it, no one is weaponising anyone's identity. They are merely stating that 'live, laugh, love' plaques aren't so chic - hardly an integral marker of one's identity, and if they are - my apologies.

It can also be noted that cheuginess isn't relegated to only things that are classically gendered as feminine. Cruises, for example: Cheug ship. Minion memes? A cheug's meme. 'Saturdays are for the boys' sentiments? It's a cheug's world. The most cheugy thing of all? Straight Tik Tok. That, and getting upset about being called cheugy. I said what I said.

It's all about the broadness of the term, and the entertainment of it all is watching it unfold.

What isn't cheugy?

How cheugy of you to ask. Basically, it's anything that feels slightly off-kilter from the norm. Anything one can do with confidence and reckless abandon that you wouldn't turn into a pic quote because - you guessed it - pic quotes are cheugy as hell. If you are painfully unsure, just remember that we are all a little cheugy, and setting out to be non-cheugy? Cheug alert.


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