What ‘Flex’ Means On TikTokSeptember 3, 2021
By Thalia Ortiz/Sept. 3, 2021 1:03 pm EDT
Social media can feel like completely uncharted territory at times when you don’t know the relevant slang, especially on a platform like TikTok. Known for its fast-paced and upbeat videos, the platform continues growing quickly with an expansive vocabulary that includes new, catchy words like “bussin'” or “no cap.” I mean, honestly, who can blame users for not being able to keep track of it all?
As Prep Eng points out, what makes phrases circulating on the app so tricky to understand is that most of them have been invented by Gen Z, known for their creativity and quick wit, which can leave millennials in the dust. One of the most popular phrases that users can spot almost instantly when lurking around the comments section or scrolling through videos is “flex.” So what exactly does this elusive term mean, and when should it be used? We’re breaking down the major instances where you might see others “flexing” their vocab on TikTok.
Flexing doesn't always have to do with muscles
Contrary to popular belief, “flexing” does not refer to the official dictionary definition where someone literally bends their joint or tightens their muscle. In reality, “flexing” can have a phony connotation. Per Urban Dictionary, it can mean that someone is attempting to brag about something they don’t actually possess and is straight-up lying for appearances. On the other hand, it can also have a second, more confident meaning. When someone says what their “flex” is, they’re really referring to their strongest bragging point, whether it’s an accomplishment, skill, or something they own (via The Atlantic). Incidentally, suppose the achievement being gloated about sounds awkward or inappropriate for the situation and not that impressive. In that case, users can acknowledge it by saying “weird flex but ok” (via Oprah Daily). With 341 million views, the #flexing is booming and shows TikTok users trying to “flex on their haters” by showing off skills in sports like equestrian or rolling in the dough.
Truth be told, we’ve all probably been guilty of “flexing” at one point, and while being humble is often the best policy, it is fun to show off now and then. As easy as it would be to scroll past all of the confusing jargon, learning what these new terms mean on TikTok is half the battle (and fun).
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