“Cheugy” is a term that has captured the internet’s imagination, sparking discussions and debates on its origin and significance.
Coined by Gaby Rasson, this word has journeyed from obscurity to a social media sensation, reflecting the ever-shifting landscape of pop culture.
Let’s find out more about “cheugy” together, shall we?
What is the meaning of “cheugy?
“Cheugy” is used to describe aesthetics, preferences, and pastimes that are embarrassingly outdated. It is often used to describe millennials (people born between 1981-1996), especially those considered trying too hard to be trendy. The term was coined by a software developer named Gaby Rasson.
Cheugy: from obscure word to social media phenomenon
Given that most uses of cheugy date from the late 2010s to early 2020s, you might be surprised to learn that cheugy was coined in 2013.
However, it is fairly typical for new slang to languish before being circulated on social media and suddenly becoming popular everywhere. (Yeet, anyone? Or how about “onl“?)
In the case of cheugy, the word was created by a high school student named Gaby Rasson, who would go on to become a software developer.
In 2013, Rasson described wanting a word to talk about people who stuck to old-fashioned trends. Since she couldn’t find one, she made one up.
Five years later (a long time in Internet terms), the word made its way onto urban dictionary, a popular crowd-sourced website for new words.
It wasn’t until 2021, however, that someone on the social media site TikTok picked it up and made a video that went viral.
Suddenly, “cheugy” was on everyone’s lips, and the most recent piece of Internet slang was born.
The definition of cheugy
So much for where cheugy comes from. What does it mean?
According to Rasson, who coined the word, cheugy is used to refer to people who still think old trends are cool and don’t seem to realize the world has moved on.
Especially in the fast-paced world of social media, where trends come and go every few weeks, it’s easy to see why cheugy is so popular.
Now, cheugy isn’t actually in any official dictionaries yet. This means there is no official dictionary definition you can pull out to impress your friends.
Instead, the word is in that somewhat porous stage that all new words go through, where people are trying to figure out what is and isn’t cheugy.
Despite the lack of a clear definition, there are definitely some common themes that everyone agrees on.
The main parts of Rasson’s original definition still stand: something cheugy is something that used to be trendy but isn’t anymore.
The word is especially used to describe things that tie into people’s roles as consumers of mass-produced popular culture, such as buying specific brand names or types of decor.
In addition to that, though, it can be used to refer to pop culture references that are extremely out of date.
No matter the specific details, “cheugy” implies that the person being discussed is out of date and a little embarrassing.
Additionally, they may not even realize it and might think they’re still trendy and cool.
Common examples of cheugy things
There is no canonical list of things that are cheugy. However, there are some things that everyone seems to agree are definitely cheugy.
Here are a few of the most common:
- Axe body spray
- Anything with “girl boss” or a similar sentiment on it
- An obsession with Disney characters or merchandise despite being an adult
- “Live, Laugh, Love” and other similarly mainstream decor items
- Skinny jeans
- The Office, The Simpsons, Harry Potter, Friends, or other similarly hyped TV shows and media
- Old memes (“doggo” is the most common example, while don’t at me might also qualify)
- Brand loyalty, especially if it’s to brands like Apple or Starbucks that epitomize mass consumerism
How to pronounce cheugy
Like many pieces of slang, especially those which don’t derive from existing words, cheugy looks weird.
The “eu” combination is not in many English words, and to make things worse, there are several different ways to pronounce -gy.
For example, wherever you stand on the cringy vs cringey debate, that word uses a soft g.
The actual pronunciation of cheugy is pretty straightforward, though.
Just put together the words “chew” and “ghee” (that’s a hard g, like in get, followed by the long e sound from “whee”).
Ghee is a type of clarified butter originating in India, and you don’t normally need to chew it.
Imagine someone is handing you a jar of ghee and saying, “you should chew this.” Chew ghee? They must be crazy! No, they’re not crazy. They’re cheugy.
How to use cheugy in a sentence
You can use cheugy in a sentence just like any other adjective.
Simply say something “is cheugy” or place the word cheugy before the person, habit, or thing you want to describe as cheugy, and you’re done.
It’s an easy word to use!
If you need to point out something is incredibly cheugy, you can reach for cheugier or cheugiest, just like any other adjective that ends in -y.
Here, a person talks about a few things they think are cheugy. It’s worth noting that nobody has labeled kombucha as being cheugy yet, but surely it’s just a matter of time.
“Tell me about it!”
“Oh yeah? Well, this isn’t meant as a criticism, but let me tell you what you’re doing wrong.”
“The Office quotes now? So cheugy!”
In this imagined exchange between two Gen Z individuals and a millennial, the third speaker responds with what they think is a clever reference to the popular show “The Office.”
Unfortunately, those memes are definitely cheugy.
The noun form of cheugy
By now, it should be pretty clear what cheugy means and how to use it.
But what if you want to call a person cheugy? Of course, you could just say, “This person is cheugy.”
Sometimes, though, you want a cleaner type of reference, ideally one that’s just a single word. Fortunately for noun lovers, the solution is simple! Much simpler, say, than using semicolons.
To use cheugy as a noun, just drop the -y off the end. That means you can call someone a “cheug” if you feel like it.
The pronunciation of this word is just like the pronunciation of cheugy. It sounds a bit like the word “chew,” followed by a hard g.
An overblown intergenerational conflict
An interesting side note about cheugy is that many media outlets insist it’s part of an attack on millennials by younger people.
However, most members of generation z seem to disagree. Some even characterize it as just the latest annoying thing the millennials are doing to themselves.
If you’re a millennial, it’s easy to see why you’d feel attacked. Most of the things that are cheugy are, after all, things that millennials still think are cool.
That said, it’s important to think about the narrative here. News media outlets thrive on conflict, which drives traffic to their cash-strapped business model. In reality, nobody is out to get millennials.
The best thing to do is to learn to laugh at yourself a little and move on. If you like something, you like it. Don’t let anyone else’s opinion change that!
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.