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

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What Does 'Bougie' Mean?
Entertainment And News

So, you're on the Internet.

Maybe you're visiting Twitter, maybe you're hanging out on Imgur, 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 rose.

You read the caption, hit the like button, and that's when notice the hashtag: bougie — or, more recently, boujee.

What does bougie mean?

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Chances are your eyes hit this word, maybe your brow furrowed, and then you went on to the next post. But I'm here to tell you that chances are you're going to see someone on social media calling something "bougie" again soon, and you're gonna wanna know what, exactly, it means. 

While the word "bougie" might seem like the epitome of modern slang, that isn't the case! In fact, dare I say, 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 — a French term for being a member of the middle class.

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 middle class and the working class by referring to them as the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

Hah! You came here to find out what an internet word meant and now I am teaching you about communism. Who'da thunk it? 

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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.

Over the years, 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 is bougie or boujee? Bougie is 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, then you aren't wrong!


Nowadays, the word has returned to the zeitgeist thanks to the track "Bad and Boujee" by trap artist Migos.

As a result of this song getting big, 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. 

That brings us to the variations in spelling.

What's the difference between bougie vs. boujee?

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

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."

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.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.