What Does 'Woke' Mean? A Simple Guide To The Slang Internet Term Everyone's Using

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What Does Woke Mean? The Definition & Cultural Meaning Of The Modern Slang Term

Chances are, you've at least heard someone use the word "woke" as an adjective lately.

If you haven't, it is clear that you have just woken up from a decades-long slumber and should probably take a shower and a get a good meal in you, so get off of the internet and take care of yourself, okay?

For the rest of us, I'm talking about the use and definition of the modern slang term 'woke,' as in "stay woke" or "he's woke."

What does woke mean?

If you've heard the word you probably have a loose idea of the woke definition, but do you know the specifics of the internet slang term that you're tossing around? Because let me tell you, friends, this is more than just your average slang.

"Woke," as we traditionally used it in days of yore, usually referred to someone waking up from sleep.

The way we define wokeness today isn't actually all that different, only instead of being done with sleep, a person who is "woke" is also done with something — only it's not sleep, it's dealing with social injustice, primarily racism.

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The Urban Dictionary definition of woke is as follows: A word currently used to describe "consciousness" and being aware of the truth behind things "the man" doesn't want you to know i.e. classism, racism, and any other social injustices.

The millennial slang term is perfect for use when you want to wake someone up from their complacency and make them active and aware of the problem of injustice in our country.

It doesn't just apply to race, either. A person who is "woke" is aware of the fact that sexism, classism, and other forms of prejudice, and isn't going to turn a blind eye to this terrible stuff when they see it out in the wild.

The word has been used this way for years, but only became popularized in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin and the advent of the Black Lives Matter Movement. "Woke" was frequently incorporated into hashtags that spread the word about the problem of police brutality and violence against unarmed black men, women, and children.

Now that you know what it means, I'm going to share some examples of how the word "woke" is used this way. I'm doing that because while it's easy to read a definition and feel like you understand it, nothing is a better teacher than seeing how a word is used in action.

1. Stay woke about Kavanaugh.

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2. Even being woke is meme-worthy.

3. Woke about being woke...

4. And woke about the election...

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture, and news. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.