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The Term 'Cheugy' Is Having a Moment

Generally, it refers to a trend that's somewhat out of date
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2021 10:30 AM CDT
Updated May 15, 2021 7:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Do you use cheesy hashtags on your social media posts? Are you an adult Disney fan? You just might be "cheugy," a term that's gone viral on TikTok and is slowly seeping its way into Gen Z vernacular—often as a jab against members of older generations. Coverage:

  • So what is cheugy? That's a little harder to define, though let's start with the basics: It's pronounced CHEW-gee, per the Guardian. Speaking of "basic," another term often used by young adults, that's not what cheugy is, either. While basic means someone who's generic or conformist in how they dress, accessorize, or act, cheugy is meant to describe something that's out of date (think a style that was cool in middle school but not anymore), or someone trying too hard (similar to the term "extra"), per Urban Dictionary—like someone captioning their online posts over and over with a cringey "I did a thing."
  • As In the Know puts it more eloquently, it's a term that describes a "millennial girlboss" aesthetic.

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  • Gaby Rasson, a 23-year-old Los Angeles software developer who's credited with coining the term eight years ago, tells the New York Times she came up with it after struggling with how to describe people who fell into this off-trend niche. "There was a missing word that was on the edge of my tongue and nothing to describe it, and 'cheugy' came to me," she says. "How it sounded fit the meaning."
  • It fell into the mainstream earlier this year, when Hallie Cain, a 24-year-old copywriter also from LA, mentioned it in a TikTok video that soon went viral.
  • There are definitely nuances to cheugyness. Some say those who are cheugy are actually self-aware that they're not aligned with current trends. Rolling Stone, meanwhile, cites critics who say the term is misogynistic, as it's most often used to describe women; others roll their eyes at that. Either way, it appears cheugy appears is here for at least the next 15 minutes.
  • Still confused? Here are some signs you might fit the profile.
(Read more language stories.)

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