THERE’S a new buzzword: cheugy. The term – a modern-day way of suggesting something is passe – is garnering column inches and stoking much bafflement about what it actually means.

What’s the lowdown?

Erm. I fear that even saying lowdown might be viewed as a tad cheugy. Pronounced “chew-ghee”, the word appears to be used when describing an aesthetic or behaviour that could be considered hopelessly out-of-touch or trying too hard.

What are its origins?

Cheugy is credited to Gaby Rasson, a 23-year-old software developer from Los Angeles who is said to have coined it while she was a student at Beverly Hills High School, circa 2013. The expression is used largely by Gen Z to poke fun at Millennials.

Cheugy is eight years old?

Correct. It spread from high schools to summer camps to college campuses, then recently exploded in popularity thanks to TikTok. The New York Times describes cheugy as “the latest in a long line of niche identifiers that have gained traction on the internet.”

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What is considered cheugy?

The list is lengthy yet not exhaustive and seemingly subject to constant change, but at time of going to press apparently includes rose wine, owning a “live, laugh, love” sign, lasagne, Rupi Kaur quotes, Minions memes, the Instagram caption “we did a thing” and being obsessed with the TV show Friends.

I haven’t been obsessed with Friends since the 1990s. Does that mean I’m not cheugy?

The fact you watched the original run of Friends in the 1990s means there is a good chance you are cheugy.

I remain confused.

Aren’t we all? In short, for something to be truly cheugy, it had to once be regarded as a red-hot trend. While that peak has long passed, there are those valiantly/pathetically still clinging to the dying embers of what was formerly hip and happening.

Have you heard anyone use cheugy?

Not in real life. Only on the internet. Which suggests I am at the wrong end of the cheugy scale.

Cheugy has some major Mean Girls vibes?

There is a distinct whiff of “you can’t sit with us” (it was coined by a teenage girl after all). While most of the cheugy discourse is light-hearted intergenerational teasing, there are those who argue it could be viewed as cliquey, class-based snobbery or bullying.

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Anything else?

The overarching message: We all have a little cheugy in us and that is OK. The fact we are even talking about cheugy means it is probably already cheugy. Here’s hoping.