The true meaning of the slang word ‘boujee’

“Boujee” has become one of the most commonly used slangs among African Americans today. The word has become so popular that it has started gaining common usage in Africa as well, particularly Nigeria.

“Helloo, have you seen me? I’m boujee!” my close friend said the other day.

On Instagram and Twitter, it is not uncommon to see profile names bearing the boujee tag. Social media usage of the word boujee has grown over the years. Check below.

Meaning of boujee

Boujee is actually a misspelling of the word “bougie” which simply means “typical of the middle class”. Boujee may have become popular from the year 2018 and upwards but the term’s history dates back to almost a century ago. Both boujee and bougie are derivatives of the word “bourgeois” – a word of French origin used to describe people or attitudes of the middle class, especially in reference to money and material possessions.

It has been said that boujee is an intentional misspelling of bougie made to make the term more acceptable and less disapproving. Boujee, often used by Black people in that sense, can be taken to mean “rich and fabulous”.

Pronunciation of the word “boujee”

Boujee and bougie are pronounced the same – /ˈbɔːʒ.wɑː/ in the UK and /ˈbʊrʒ.wɑː in the US.

Use of boujee in pop culture

Boujee’s common usage in the media and in everyday conversation has been strengthened by its frequent appearance in modern works of entertainment – music, movies and other forms of art. The rap song “Bad and Boujee” by American hip-hop group Migos which featured rapper Lil Uzi Vert comes to mind here.

“Classy, bougie, ratchet, yeah (okay)” – sang American rapper Megan Thee Stallion in her 2020 song “Savage”. Originally released on March 6, 2020, as part of her EP Suga, Megan later teamed up with superstar Beyonce for the song’s internet-breaking remix.

Is boujee a good or bad word?

Boujee has been used both in approving and disapproving context. Boujee, derived from the 16th-century French term bourgeoisie used to describe the privileged middle class, has changed a lot in usage over the years. By the late 18th century, the term was used as a mocking word to describe someone who is “pretentiously materialistic.”

Originally mostly disapproving, boujee’s popularity in the American hip-hop culture, particularly among African Americans has turned it into something more approving. In fact, most people these days use boujee to mean “classy!”

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