It's been two weeks and you still don't know whether you're a cheug...let's break it down

By Hanna Flanagan
May 12, 2021 03:13 PM
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If you're still trying to figure out what the word "cheugy" means, we hate to be the ones to break it to you: You might be a cheug.

The new term – which gained traction a few weeks ago when 24-year-old Hallie Cain's TikTok explainer went viral – is pronounced CHEW-gee can be used to broadly describe "someone who is out of date or trying too hard," according to the New York Times.

So by definition, if you haven't picked up on what exactly fits this je ne sais quoi aesthetic of uncool, you might, in fact, be cheugy. To help you decide if you fit the bill, we've rounded up the best explainers to catch you up to speed on what Gen Z has deemed "post basic and out of touch."

In her TikTok posted on March 30, Cain, a copywriter from Los Angeles, shared that she and her friends use the term to describe "the type of people who get married at 20 years old" or give off millennial "#GirlBoss" energy. Think: the polar opposite of trendy.

A few examples? Chevron print, anything featuring the phrase "Live, Laugh, Love" (bonus points if it's embossed on a wooden sign from Target), glitter tumbler cups and grown adults who still love all things Disney, appropriately referred to as "Disney Adults" on the Internet.

According to the New York Times, "cheugy" was first coined in 2013 by then-high school student Gabby Rasson, and the definition evolves based on what's fallen out of style. So right now, cheugy is essentially anything that was popular in 2016, which includes (yes, you guessed it!) skinny jeans and side parts.

Chicago-based influencer @rod, whose viral videos help keep millennials in the know, also clarified that cheugy is gender neutral. "Men, suck it up. We are basic too," he said in a TikTok video, which declared that energy drinks, Axe body spray, cargo shorts, Buffalo Wild Wings and more all constitute as the "male version" of cheugy.

In addition to the skinny jeans and cargo shorts you already knew weren't on-trend, Gucci belts, infinity scarfs and floppy sun hats with corny phrases written across the brim are considered undoubtedly cheugy fashion trends. But don't throw them out just yet — like we mentioned before, the word is constantly changing. (You can keep up with the account @cheuglife on Instagram, and we fully expect to see that the word "cheugy" is now cheugy.)

TikTok fashion influencer @glowupu even pointed out that several once-cheugy trends are making a comeback. "Coach was definitely considered outdated five years ago, but they've since rebranded and are absolutely killing it," she explains, referencing the label's resurgence under creative director Stuart Vevers.

"Lilly Pulitzer is on its way back. I'm honestly here for it," she says, adding that anything velour or terrycloth would've been cheugy a few years ago — but not anymore, thanks to celebrity and Gen Z-approved brand Frankies Bikinis.

"I don't know if the Gucci belt will ever be back in, but it's worth saving just in case," the creator suggests.

So are you cheugy? If you're still not sure and need further explanation, it might time to bite the bullet and download TikTok.