Think you're stylish but dress like you did in high school? You might just be 'cheugy'

·3-min read
Cheugy is now the buzzword on TikTok.

If you don't already say 'cheugy,' pronounced chew-gee, put it on your list of words to know. The term, which can refer to a way of dressing, eating, or even living in society, is spreading like wildfire on TikTok in the United States and will soon be arriving in Europe. And that too... may well be cheugy.

Cheugy, or not cheugy? Before you go any further, take a look in your wardrobe for an answer to this question. And don't worry, regardless of what this article says, you shouldn't take it personally, or even view it negatively. There is nothing wrong with being cheugy. Take our word for it. But what exactly does it mean? It is more subjective than you might think, and mainly applies to female millennials, if the New York Times , which was the first newspaper to examine the question, is to be believed.

As a first step, let's take a look at the only definition that we've been able to find in a dictionary : "The opposite of trendy. Fashionable in middle school and high school but no longer in style. Used when someone still follows these out of date trends. This may include but not be limited to fashion, habits on social media, usage of slang, etc." Does that make sense? And given that this article has already used the word "stylish," could it be that, in the space of two paragraphs, it has also become cheugy?

No matter. This is in all likelihood a valid definition because it is confirmed by the Instagram account @cheuglife : "A person who currently follows out of date trends usually stemming from things that were popular in middle school & high school." If everyone, necessarily, has a cheugy side, that explains why generation Y is particularly concerned by the term.

An ode to self-affirmation?

At the end of March, the American Hallie Cain popularized cheugy in a TikTok video, which was seen by no less than 600,000 people, reports the New York Times. The American daily also notes that before then, cheugy was popular in universities, having been used by a Beverly Hills high-school student who spread it to her class and friends in 2013. But let's not forget that it went viral on social networks just one month ago. Make it yours as quickly as you can if you don't want to pass for someone who is well… cheugy.

But what or who, I hear you ask, is cheugy? The NYT offers a few examples: Gucci belts with the large double “G” logo and Golden Goose sneakers — no, please don't take it personally. It also applies to a slew of clothing and accessories with slogans that are tired puns like "Sea you later." And let's not forget brands that you wore in junior or senior high, which have since disappeared — we won't mention names — but which we still love (Long live secondhand!).

In the final analysis, perhaps the easiest way to understand cheugy is to think of it as the opposite of self-affirming. No doubt, this shortcut might seem reductive. But the fact of not signing up to trends that have had their day, of not wanting to vanish into the crowd, of taking up current fashions, and setting aside diktats that were imposed in school by friends and society at large, could it be that this is the opposite of cheugy? I'll let you be the judge of that! Because, once again, what's cheugy for you is not necessarily cheugy for everyone.

Regardless of your conclusions, you will need some notion of what cheugy means, because we haven't heard the last of it yet. Bear in mind that the simple fact of writing this article is already and irredeemably… cheugy.

Christelle Pellissier