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You might be clinging to some outdated trends.

A fun thing about the internet is how quickly a newly coined term can catch on. Whether you’ve seen the term “cheugy” before or clicked on this article out of curiosity, this term is a prime case study of how a new word can be created and adopted by the masses seemingly overnight, as long as it finds the right audience.

The word “cheugy” (pronounced chew gee) started on social media. But defining the term is a little more complicated, as it encompasses a broad range of trends, habits and behaviors considered untrendy.

Read on to learn more about the term cheugy – where cheugy originated from, if cheugy is considered an insult and examples of cheugy tastes and behaviors. 

What Is Cheugy and Where Did the Term Come From?

silhouette of two hands making a heart
(Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash)

Urban Dictionary defines cheugy as being the opposite of trendy – as something that may have been popular in middle or high school but is no longer a trend. The term cheugy is used when someone still follows an outdated trend. The term cheugy can be applied to fashion trends that are no longer in style, certain slang terms that are no longer considered “in,” and even social media habits. 

The term cheugy has been specifically targeted at millennial trends that have outstayed their welcome. Skinny jeans, “Live, Laugh, Love” home decor, Ugg boots and Disney world are all things that have been described as cheugy since the term’s inception.

Since the term gained popularity, many media outlets have looked at the term critically, calling out obvious inconsistencies in what is and isn’t considered cheugy. Though many of the things that make the cheugy list seem to be reminiscent of 2010s pop culture, some of the things are abstract. 

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When social media pages dedicated to determining what is and isn’t cheugy inevitably came into fruition, one commenter stated that a friend said lasagna is cheugy – which led to the cheugy discourse surrounding how to quantify whether or not something is cheugy and how lasagna fairs on that scale. Because the term is so loosely defined, what is and isn’t considered cheugy can vary depending on who you ask. Which makes it hard to keep up with the cheugy trends featured on Cheuglife’s Instagram feed. 

The term cheugy gained popularity on TikTok when Hallie Cain posted a video explaining the term in March of 2021. In the video, Cain says she uses this term among her friends. She cuts to a video of a woman shopping in a home decor store, picking up items that say phrases like “Gather,” “Home,” “Happy,” and “Family” in bold lettering – which she goes on to say is a staple of millennial households. 

Cain equates cheugy with the same vibe as sayings like “Girl Boss Energy” or “That’s So Millennial.” She explains that something becomes cheugy when it inevitably falls out of style, yet people continue to use it. 

Is cheugy an insult?

So is cheugy considered insulting? Writer Kelsey Weekman attempted to answer this through a chart she created that gained popularity on Twitter. The scale indicates that the more self-aware you are of your personal style, the more cheugy you are. However, the more outdated your style is, the more cheugy you are.

According to Weekman’s chart, a cheugy person is self-aware of their style yet chooses to continue wearing outdated trends. Calling someone cheugy means they’re trying very hard regarding their personal style yet lacking knowledge of trends. Which sounds pretty insulting. 

However, since the term gained popularity, many millennials have said they’re proud to be cheugy. Although these trends may no longer be popular, they like what they like and are not afraid to continue rocking skinny jeans and live, laugh, love it up with their home decor. 

Cheugy Examples

adult enjoying disney world
(Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash)

In the original video, Cain calls out graphic tees and hats with lettering on them as cheugy. Herbal Essences shampoos are also deemed cheugy in the video, as well as a list of Instagram captions frequently used by millennials that are cheugy.

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Here are a few more examples of what’s considered cheugy.

  • Harry Potter fans
  • Disney adults
  • People who frequently quote The Office
  • Gucci belts
  • Jean jackets
  • The Bachelor
  • Apple Watches
  • Leggings
  • Avid Grey’s Anatomy watchers
  • Pumpkin spice lattes
  • Rae Dunn home decor
  • Posting a boomerang video cheersing with your friends at a bar
  • Using the Instagram caption “I did a thing” with a photo of a new haircut

How to Tell if You’re Cheugy

woman wearing gucci belt
(Photo by Jamar Crable on Unsplash)

If the above random assortment of items deemed cheugy in 2021 still has you confused about whether or not you’re cheugy, here are a few additional quantifiers. 

You’re of a certain age. Millennials are the biggest age group offenders of being cheugy, typically between 24-40 years of age.

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You are brand focused. Particularly on brands that had their moment in the 2010s, like Rae Dunn home decor and Gucci belts.

You cling to your outdated style. If you haven’t purchased a new style of jeans, still use the same brand of shampoo and haven’t changed the way you part your hair for many, many years, you’re probably cheugy. 

Summary

Younger generations inevitably poke fun at older generations’ styles, habits and affinities. Thanks to social media, older generations are just much more aware of it these days. Regardless of what Gen Z has to say about it, it’s okay to be cheugy for as long as you want to be, as long as it makes you happy. Like the VSCO Girl trend, the term cheugy will inevitably fade over time – which means you can get back to rocking those skinny jeans in peace.

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