Picture this: A millennial wearing skinny jeans, Tory Burch flip flops and an infinity scarf. Her home is decorated with shiplap, distressed wooden signs emblazoned with positive affirmations, and Rae Dunn pottery. This self-described #girlboss may or may not be involved in a MLM scheme.
In one word, how would you describe this woman?
Did you say cheugy? Cheugy (Chew-gee) describes someone who is slightly outdated or passe, but not quite basic. Any gender or age can be a cheug, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even lasagna is considered cheugy, and we all love lasagna.
First introduced in 2013, the word cheugy is surging in popularity after the now 24-year-old creator posted a TikTok (because where else do trends originate from these days?) speaking about this generic and moderately off-trend aesthetic. Cheugy is yet another point of contention between millennials and gen Z, who hold divergent opinions on style and culture. Check out our latest report, Gen Z on activism, Consumerism and Emojis, to learn just how deep the divide goes.
Here at Relative Insight, we love words. We love studying them, we love analyzing them, and we love seeing how they impact the world around us. And let me tell you, cheugy has left an impact.
Utilizing our text analysis technology, I set out to understand how the public has put this new entry into our lexicon to use. Using a social listening platform, I pulled all tweets mentioning the word cheugy from the past 30 days.
After uploading the file into Relative Insight, I compared the language used in over 6,000 tweets against our database of standard English – a general representation of the written English language. This type of comparison identifies key themes within a written data set and reveals the words most commonly used alongside the word cheugy.
What did we find?
We found thousands of statistically significant words and phrases associated with the use of the word. Many of these social insights reflected the culture of the early 2010s – from chevron print, to pumpkin spice, gucci belts and anything live-laugh-love.
This new word speaks to the ever-evolving nature of language. Anyone can create a word, even a teenager at a Beverly Hills high school. She found a gap in the English language and filled it. Everyone has seen a cheug, but had no way to describe them – until now.
Traits that we recognize as cheugy will evolve over time as the trend cycle continues and new items become outdated. So if you hold onto those infinity scarves long enough, they’ll probably be cool again.