Gen Z Is Convinced That The Word ‘Stan’ Was Used Before Eminem — And They Are Wrong

"Just to chat, truly yours, your biggest fan, this is Stan."

Eminem Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

The Mandela Effect is a phenomenon where collectively-held mistaken memories are accepted as pop-culture truths.

Some of these wrongly remembered factoids include Mr. Monopoly wearing a monocle (he does not), and Dave Coulier’s character on "Full House" being called "Uncle Joey" (He’s just "Joey").

While these innocent errors mostly just cause confusion, a recent subject has led to heightened TikTok chaos and a conversation around the transmission of cultural knowledge from older generations to younger ones.


Gen Z is convinced that the word ‘Stan’ was used before Eminem, but they’re totally wrong.

A musician who goes by the name thiiirdperson located the correct origin of "Stan," tracing it back to Eminem’s song, “Stan,” which he released in 2000 on the album “The Marshall Mathers LP.”

In a TikTok post, thiiirdperson responded to a comment from a Gen Zer that confidently stated, “I’m pretty sure the term 'Stan' existed before the Eminem song in other hip hop tracks.”

@thiiirdperson Replying to @Charles the grunch ♬ original sound - thiiird person

RELATED: Eminem Sued By His Childhood Bully After Calling Him Out In A Song & Detailing His Vicious Attack


“I’m 100% positive that the term did not exist before Eminem released the song “Stan,” thiiirdperson said. “I was a teenager when the song ‘Stan’ came out. I had lived experience before and after the song came out.”

“Nobody used the term ‘Stan’ that way until the song came out,” they said before delineating the linguistic history of the word.

“Stan” features a sample from Dido, and it’s the third track from Eminem’s third studio album. As far as creative writing goes, the Detroit rapper used a unique narrative framing for the song: He wrote “Stan” in an epistolary style, meaning the song takes the form of fictional letters that Stan sent to Eminem.

Eminem Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock


Stan’s letters become more intense as the song goes on, representing how the character spiraled into violence, all due to his obsession with Eminem.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition, “Stan” is an “extremely or excessively enthusiastic and devoted fan.”

The word “Stan” was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2017 and can be used as a noun or a verb.

Thiiirdperson continued their music history lesson on the origins of "Stan," saying, “Shortly after the song came out, Nas used the term in a song and after that, everybody was widely using the term,” thiiirdperson said.

“Nas used the term because of how much Nas respects Eminem, by the way, so this should shut up all the commenters talking about how Eminem is ‘not welcome in rap culture,’” they said.


“Everybody that they respect the most in rap respects Eminem and his fearsome pen-hand and his deep respect and love of the game and his monumental historical contributions to not just to hip hop culture, but to language itself,” thiiirdperson said.

RELATED: The Communication Habit Millennials Refuse To Break Even Though They Should

'Eminem gave us Stan. I’m 100% sure because I’m 38 years old,' the millennial musician said.

“If you don’t remember what 9/11 was like, please listen to your elders so you can learn from us,” they continued. “I’m trying to do the same for you.”

In a separate post, thiiirdperson took on another comment asking where the term "Stan" comes from, saying, “I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not, so I’ll just be autistic and assume that you’re being serious.”


They clearly described the musical and linguistic context of "Stan," noting that “Eminem wrote a song called ‘Stan’ about an over-attached parasocial fan, like a decade and a half before we had the word ‘parasocial,’ we were talking about Stan culture.”

“We were talking about it because of the song ‘Stan,’ by Eminem, where a fan over-identifies with the artist and assumes that he has some sort of special connection to the artist and they should be together and stuff and ends up actually killing somebody close to him and driving a car off the bridge and, like, letting them drown and also taking themselves out because of how attached they are to Eminem.”

Eminem Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock


“It’s like a famous rap song,” they said. “It’s a legendary rap song, and this isn’t one of those moments where it’s like, I feel so old. I’m actually just worried that people are talking about rap, having conversations about rappers and going, ‘They’re 51 years old, they don’t even understand what Stan culture is like,’ about the guy who literally invented the term.”

Thiiirdperson’s explanation of Eminem’s crucial contributions to our lexicon holds huge value, as it indicates the ways in which language is always changing and how meaning can morph from one thing to another.

The beauty of language is located in its mutability. It functions as a living entity, changing as eras pass, and we find the need for new ways to describe the world and locate ourselves within it.


Gen Z is totally on point about how the corporate workplace needs to change. Their ethics and values are in the right place when it comes to making big life decisions.

While they exist solidly online, they’ve overlooked millennial institutional knowledge, and our pre-internet lived experience, meaning that they’re totally wrong about where Stan comes from. 

RELATED: Eminem Hired A Body Double Nicknamed 'Partial Mathers' To Keep His Privacy — He Went On To Be A Rocket Scientist

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.