17 "Cheugy" Things We're Still Buying, Even If It Makes Us Uncool

by Gina Vaynshteyn
Originally Published: 
what is cheugy
Gina Vaynshteyn

Basic is dead. Long live basic, and welcome the Gen Z-coined term “cheugy,” pronounced “choo-gee.” One of my work colleagues pointed out the phenom the other day, and at first I rolled my eyes. “Another Tick Tock thing,” I wrote back in Slack, later realizing my response was SO cheugy. You know who says “Tick Tock”? Cheugies. (At least, this is what my other colleague, Maia, said.)

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According to The Cut, “cheugy” was invented back in 2013 by a then-high schooler who is now a 23-year-old software developer, but it recently gained traction when 24-year-old Hallie Cain illustrated the definition of “cheugy” on a TikTok she posted March 30. “OK TikTok, I have a new word for you that my friends and I use that you clearly are all in need of,” she says, before launching in a very important lesson on 2021 culture.

So what *is* Cheugy?

Countless outlets (including this one, hi) have been trying to dissect the style of being cheugy, but the truth is that it’s more nuanced than “basic” and maybe slightly kinder. While “basic” skews more toward women, making it misogynistic, cheugy applies to all humankind. Similar to “basic,” cheugy is all things passe, an exhausted idea or trend, or something expected.

Sade Akenzua, Content Manager at Tastemade and the most fashionable person I know, tells Scary Mommy, “Coming from someone who has recently come across the term on TikTok, cheugy is used to describe things that are out of style or not on trend anymore. With that said, I actually think it’s pretty spot on and quite hilarious. Though I don’t really pay attention to what’s in and out of style when it comes to my personal taste, I do think everyone falls under the cheugy category in one way or another.”

Immediately after doing my cheugy research while eating Flaming Hot Cheetos for dinner (big cheug energy?), I wondered…Am I cheugy? I thought back to recent memories, like the war dog meme. Back in the fall, I shared a photo of my dog wearing a “Mama’s Lil’ Pumpkin” bandana. Very cheug, isn’t it? (Me, not my dog.)

I posted a selfie in front of my Christmas tree; I have my hair in a messy bun and I’m wearing a cable knit sweater. Cheug fucking city.

Once I even shared a photo of my matcha latte. I’M A CHEUGY MONSTER, I realized, and threw my phone across the bed.

In case you’re still not sure if you’re “cheugy,” here’s how I’ve come to define the word after hours of obsessively reading cheugy articles, texting my friends, and getting more examples from my brilliant colleagues over Slack.

My ex-high school best friend who shares her idyllic yoga poses in Sedona on Instagram = Cheugy

Loving cheese or coffee or books as a personality trait = Cheugy

Bath & Body Works candles = Cheugy

Looking forward to Target trips more than sex = Cheugy

Saying “AF” instead of “as fuck” = Cheugy

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert = Cheugy

Anyone who lives in San Diego* = Cheugy

Alexis Rose = Cheugy

A colorful French manicure = Cheugy

A dude’s Adidas sandals = Cheugy

Getting a blowout from Drybar = Cheugy

Using hashtags like #hustle and #youbetterworkbitch = Cheugy

A Boomerang of you cutting into your poached egg = Cheugy

A photo of only your hand holding an ice cream cone = Cheugy

Mimosas = Cheugy

A photo of your engagement ring with the caption “ms. to mrs.” = Cheugy

A T-shirt that has “girlfriend” crossed out with “fiancee” written above it = Cheugy

Men’s salmon shorts from J. Crew = Cheugy

Chris Pratt = Cheugy

Believing Carrie should have ended up with Aidan = Cheugy

Believing Carrie should have ended up with Big = Cheugy

The Bachelor = Cheugy

Naming your baby or dog Khaleesi = Cheugy

Frozen yogurt = Cheugy

A bumper sticker of your alma mater = Cheugy

“Fam bam,” “Sunday Funday,” “Rose all day” = Cheugy

Using ellipses often = Cheugy

Mark Zuckerberg = Cheugy

*I admit, this one’s personal.

This is not to say cheugy is a bad thing. I think we’re all a little cheugy, and that’s okay. And if you’re willing to embrace the Cheugy Life, I’ve also compiled a list of cheugy product recommendations. All of which I would totally buy. Because I’m cheugy and I’m proud.

Best Cheugy Products (That I’d Actually Buy)


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