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On Fleek Essay

Fleek was not a word until 2003 when it was added to urban dictionary for the first time. Then it meant “smooth, nice or sweet.” It was not even popular among the youth or the old. Even after adding another meaning “awesome” (in 2009 to the word did not help the word to become famous but the internet did help the word in 2014. It popularized the word among the youth. Technology especially the internet and social media played a role in wide spreading the word like other messages or words online (Heigl; Kutner). In the world of social media and internet words and messages are misinterpreted and wrongly used. The meaning of a word or a phrase change as it is overly used on the internet with a different meaning. Sometimes the overuse of the word makes it extinct from the society altogether as it various meanings attached to it make it complex and confusing for the people. In addition, it becomes difficult to control the change in the meaning as the internet is accessible to most of the people in the USA nor can the true meaning be taught to all the people in the society(Scocca). Moreover, the “true” meaning becomes a difficult subject to bring up. The internet users use the words and phrases according to their liking caring less about the exact use of the word if it is related to the real meaning remotely. It was the same phenomena the word fleek and the phrase on fleek become famous on the internet. Now it covers most of the things from fleek eyebrows to fleek dance or style. It also means “amazing, perfect or most suited, highly stylized and perfected.” The earlier meaning of the word, “smooth, awesome and nice” as well as the popularized meaning of the word “on point, perfect, and amazing” all have died at the abuse or overuse of the word made it complex for the users.

The word fleek and on fleek become famous online and the meaning was changed. The meaning changed and distorted but the popularity of the word has increased greatly in the past four years. The word became famous for in 2014 when Peaches Monroe used in her vine but she used it as “eyebrows on fleek” making it a fashion term. Hence, it got the attention of the popular culture and social media becoming famous (Smith). It was famous that the American Dialect Society nominated it as the word of the year in 2015.

Today the word fleek or on fleek has four meanings. First is the original meaning that urban dictionary wrote in 2003, the “smooth, nice and sweet.” This meaning of the word fleek is less popular but one can argue that Monroe used it to point out to her “smooth” eyebrows. She might have used in those terms but the original meaning since that usage has changed (Sonnad). The original meaning of the word nice and sweet have lost their way into the fashion industry and more exaggerated terms such as perfect and amazing have taken over the nice or smooth. And I have never heard someone use it as nice or smooth and many of the older people such as my uncle does not even understand the word smooth as he does not find the word in the dictionaries that he has for more than 20 years.

The second meaning of the word on fleek is to the point or at the right moment. Everyone used on fleek instead of on point since its initiation. Even the celebrities and popular brand used it but the meaning of using it was not the same as on point. Everything became on fleek since in after the 2014 and well into 2016. The on fleek was seen on twitter or facebook being used by many users on daily basis. The word on point was taken over fully. It was a cool and trendy term for on point due to which it was used regularly (Smith). For instance, on Twitter, someone wrote, “Everything is on Fleek.” Even though it was a famous new word among the youth, some of the adults used it. For instance, once my grandmother told me that she loves responses that are on fleek.”

The third and one of the most famously used meaning of the word is perfect or amazing commonly used for fashion (Oxford Dictionary). The celebrities were also the reason that its popularity paced up among the youth and internet users. Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj alongside many brands such as Taco Bell and IHOP used the phrase. Moreover, many YouTubers made their own versions of the rap using the phrase “on Fleek.” It became part of the vocabulary and the conversation immediately after its first use (Dachille). The popular culture is used it to present their hairstyle, eyebrows, makeup or anything that goes with fashions. For instance, “every brow on fleek” by Kim Kardashian. Although the term on fleek is used frequently on several occasion, it is not popular with the older generations. For example, my aunt scolded me and told me to use a proper English language when she heard me complimenting my sister that “her style was on fleek” (Dachille). Therefore, even though it is understandable and widely used the older generations do not like it as it takes away the sophistication of the language.

It was a promotional term for many brands as it was popular with the youth. It was printed on teach shirts, it was used to promote pancakes and tacos. It was easy to sell, as it was famous. And the meaning attached to it added a value to material that the company intended to sell. Therefore, it got the attention of the big companies and celebrities. The original meaning of the word was related to eyebrows or hair but people and companies started using it out of context (Sonnad). They used it to promote their products presenting it as tasty or delicious or presentable in case of pancakes and tacos.

However, the fame was short-lived, as the word cannot be seen widely used today. The overuse of the word made it confusing for the people. As initially, everything was on fleek, the term and its use become confusing. Some people did not focus on the original meaning due to which it started losing its sensibility and a post on Twitter by Zayn Malik spoke for many in 2015 “what does on Fleek mean? Like seriously.” It widely used context of the word had started confusing people. It had started raising questions about what was the real meaning and how to use it. Then people started omitting it from using as it becomes overused and untrendy (Smith; Sontag). The overused and out of context use of the word On Fleek killed the trend and it became nonexistent online after two years of constant focus.

To conclude, a word can become viral online today on the internet as it most of the people use some form of social media but the overuse modifies the meaning. It sometimes affects the word negatively as it did in case of the On Feek by popularizing it, attaching various meaning to it and at the end, making it senseless. The word became famous as it was used to describe perfect amazing, delicious, nice, sweet and awesome but it lost its momentum soon as it was overused and misused by the companies and people. Moreover, the older generation did not recognize the worth of its popularity and trend as they preferred their old sophisticated languages.

Works Cited

Dachille, Arielle. “8 Celebs Using ‘On Fleek’ In Their Own Unique Way.” Bustle, 2015,

Heigl, Alex. “Explaining Internet Slang: ‘On Fleek.’” PEOPLE.Com, 2014,

Kutner, Max. “Meet the Chicago Teen Behind ‘On Fleek.’” Newsweek, 3 Mar. 2015,

Oxford Dictionary. “Fleek | Definition of Fleek in English by Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxford Dictionaries | English,

Scocca, Tom. On Smarm. Gawker, 2013.

Smith, Madilyn. “Fleek: Where Did It Go? Here’s How Popularity Slowly Kills Slang.” Entity, 21 June 2017,

Sonnad, Nikhil. “How Brand-New Words Are Spreading across America.” Quartz,

Sontag, Susan. “Notes on Camp.” Camp: Queer Aesthetics and the Performing Subject: A Reader, 1964, pp. 53–65.



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