What Does Bougie (Or Boujee) Mean? A Simple Guide To The Slang Term Everyone's Using

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fancy rich woman driving a car
Self

So, you're on the Internet. Maybe you're visiting Twitter, maybe you're hanging out on Instagram, or something like that.

You're scrolling along and you stop at a photo of a group of your friends all glammed out and toasting with glasses full of rosé. You read the caption, hit the like button, and that's when you notice the hashtag: bougie.

What does bougie mean?

While the word "bougie" might seem like the epitome of modern slang, that isn't the case. In fact, the word "bougie" is actually derived from a French word with hundreds of years of history in the United States and in Europe.

The word in question is bourgeoisie or bourgeois, meaning middle class or a member of the middle class in French. 

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The word was popularized by the social critic and theorist Karl Marx, who, in his legendary text "The Communist Manifesto" talked about the differences between the upper middle class and the working class by referring to them as the "bourgeoisie" and the "proletariat."

According to Marx, the members of the bourgeoisie were obsessed with the creature comforts of life.

They cared more about material things than they did about supporting their fellow man.

When people use the word now, they are talking less about class struggle and more about middle-class people who are obsessed with looking wealthy and chic, rather than a group of people destroying society. 

What does it mean to be boujee?

There's a difference between bougie and the alternate spelling, boujee.

The word bougie means starting your day with a blow-out and avocado toast before heading off to SoulCycle solely so you can add pictures of yourself on the bikes to your Instagram story.

If it sounds a lot like being basic to you, you aren't wrong.

According to Urban Dictionary, bougie means people who are pretending to be rich or high class when they really aren't or don't realize they aren't. On the other hand, boujee means the actual high class and elite, the ones with swag. 

Nowadays, the word has returned to the zeitgeist thanks to the track "Bad and Boujee" by trap artist Migos. In one verse, rapper Offset spits, "I'm young and rich and plus I'm bougie (Hey) / I'm not stupid so I keep the Uzi (Rrah) / Rackaids on rackaids, got back-ends on back-ends / So my money makin' my back ache (Aagh)."

As a result of this song becoming so popular, the word "bougie" or "boujee" became a part of African-American Vernacular English to describe the kind of folks who would have been called "yuppies" back in the 1980s. 

The terms have different variations according to the Black Vernacular English, as Bougie Black means someone isn't hood or considered to be hood; however, they could have grown up in the hood, grown out of it, and have some secondary form of education like a college degree of some sort. 

Bourgie Black means this person wouldn't even know what the hood was or identify with being from the hood.

Lastly, Boujee is a type of rich hood where you see somebody "cooking up dope with the Uzi," but they aren't the same type of rich as a bourgie person, who would be seen as old money, and a boujee person would be new money.

Though "Bad and Boujee" popularized using the term and is spelled differently, boujee is common when referring to "middle-class or upwardly mobile Blacks."

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An example used in a thread by Tressie McMillan Cottom explains that "boujee seems to reject aspiration but embraces middle-class consumerism... It's designer labels at the hood liquor store and not seeing those as in conflict."

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Of course, the terms both describe the need to emulate the rich and powerful, while, at the same time, kind of poking fun at them.

Because, as we all know, all that glitters is not gold. Unless, of course, it's made by Michael Kors.

What is a synonym for bougie?

Words to use in place of bougie include artificial, ostentatious, arrogant, turgid, and euphuistic. There are also other variations of the word bougie like boujee, bourgie, and bourgeois. 

Calling someone the bourgie is like calling them an upitty, pretentious, and annoying — a person who thinks they're all that and a bag of chips, essentially.

Examples Of How To Use Bougie In A Sentence:

1. To describe a pathetic rich person.

"That girl at the store who shops with a Gucci bag and designer shoes, yet complains about her expired store discount not working, is so bougie."

2. To call people out on their arrogance.

"That guy over there is bougie — just listen to him brag about his well-paying finance job but working for his father on the side."

3. To compliment someone.

"That guy has it all — the girl, the car, the house! I envy how bougie he is."

4. To point out someone with good style.

"Do you see her rocking that outfit? That girl is bad and bougie, her fit is fire, and she's always on-trend."

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer and the Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime.