Urban Dictionary added a new word to its expansive vocabulary capturing the popular culture recently and it’s called “Cheugy” (pronounced as chew-gee). And if you are rolling your eyes and scratching your head to understand this term, then bestie, you are a cheugy. 

Cheugy is used, broadly, to describe “someone who is out of date or trying too hard.” 

Who is a Cheugy?

In 2021, if you are using words like Girl Boss, Christian Autumn Girl, wearing skinny jeans and side parting, using glitter mugs and having quote frames like Live, Love, Laugh, loving farmhouse aesthetics and chevron, using words like Doggo, loving minion memes, adulting and watching Friends and The Office re-runs, then you are definitely a “Cheugy”. 

There is a classic word war going between Gen Z and Millennials apparently where the former are terming the latter as cheugs. Harmless and Fun Generation gap, you may say. 

A takedown on “Cheugy”

A word to describe digital aesthetics, people and experiences, Cheugy was coined by Gaby Rasson, 23, a software developer in Los Angeles back in 2013. She started using the word back while attending Beverly Hills High School. Since she couldn’t quite come up with the right term to describe these people who were off trend, she created her own word ~ Cheugy. It caught on among her classmates and camp friends. “Everyone in our sorority knows the word cheugy,” one of the creators added. One wonders why didn’t she just look up the dictionary if she couldn’t find the right word…

Wish we could coin a word too and get it viral, just saying!

Thanks to TikTok, the funny sounding word became famous after Hallie Cain, 24, a copywriter in Los Angeles shared in her TikTok Video in March as she said “OK TikTok, I have a new word for you that my friends and I use, that you clearly are all in need of,”. Think of UGG boots, denim jackets, Gucci Logo Belts, Wine-o-clock quotes and Instagram aesthetics ( bright walls, artfully arranged lattes and avocado toast, and Millennial-pink everything, all with that carefully staged, color-corrected, glossy-looking aesthetics ), all very cheugy according to Gen Z dominating the TikTok culture. Gen Z loves unfiltered versions of themselves as opposed to Millennials who try to hard to nail certain aesthetics. Touche !

The Holderness Family, American internet personalities best known for their Facebook and YouTube channels, created a parody on Cheugy to get back at GenZ in the digital word war. Your best ready reckoner for knowing what is Cheugy.


Holderness Family Parody on Cheugy on Youtube

The New York Times article explaining Cheugy went viral and internet went in a spin to check, “Is this Cheugy or not?”. Kelly Wright, an experimental sociolinguist and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan who studies language, shared with The New York Times, that with the rise of social media, “we see words emerging to define very niche categories of people, identities and behaviors. In their core, they’re marking shared events or a shared understanding of the world. These words that emerge from smaller communities have the potential to be picked up by wider audiences because of social media and that connectedness.”

 “A word like cheugy is a way of labeling an in group and an out group,” said Gretchen McCulloch, a linguist and the author of “Because Internet,” a book about how the internet has shaped language in the same article. 

gThe term is new and novel, and has caught fire to make it trendy in colloquial terms by Gen Z. The Instagram account @cheuglife, which documents particularly cheugy offenses, includes pictures of Ugg slippers, #girlboss mugs, Minions memes, Smirnoff raspberry vodka, and cake pops. It’s really just a very current form of passé: off-trend, out of date, still on the bandwagon long after the parade has ended.