What It Means When Someone Calls You A 'Simp'

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man kissing woman's hand

TikTok has created all kinds of words to add to our vocabulary — like alt girl, cap/no cap, and GRWM. It's been done so seamlessly, it’s like we were taught these words when we were still learning to speak.

But the word “simp” is in a category all its own.

What does that even mean, you ask? If you don’t already know the answer to this, you’re not getting old, so don't worry.

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What is a simp?

To put it "simp" -ly, a simp is anyone or anything related to going over the top for the person they like. Urban Dictionary defines a simp as, "Someone who does way too much for a person they like."

The word is synonymous with being soft or overly sympathetic and is typically directed by straight men towards other straight men who might dare to be affectionate to a woman.

Unfortunately, misogynistic men have coined the term as an acronym for "Sucker Idolizes Mediocre P***y." But, in reality, a simp is a nice guy who does a lot for a girl he likes even if he's in the friend zone.

But the term simp also seems to confuse even the Gen Z-ers who use this term in a range of contexts. In fact, given that this word is an insult for some, and for others, it is a compliment to the highest degree; how you define the word simp might actually tell you more about yourself than the word.

The 2020 TikTok trend had social media users accusing each other of simping, proudly proclaiming their status as CEO of Simps, falling at the feet of someone who might make them simp, and desperately trying to avoid entering Simp Nation with Post Malone's "Rockstar" playing in the background of every simp nation meme.

What is an example of a simp?

If a guy buys his girl flowers every Friday to make her happy, he could be labeled a simp. MEL Magazine calls a simp a man who knows the art of looking respectfully, and gives the example of a man buying a woman dinner and not having sex at the end of the night.

Basically, if you are a man and you do anything "nice" for your girl, the term will be thrown at you in both prideful and degrading ways. And since some men have white knight syndrome, other guys can't handle it and use the term to insult respectful men.

However, there is a huge difference between a simp and an incel, also known as involuntary celibate.

A simp is a man who will do anything for the person he likes (most of the time to have a close relationship with her — i.e., sexual relations). This is part of the reason why people link simps to incels. Incel is commonly used to describe a man who is misogynistic in some way.

Each group appears to act one way, while their true intentions suggest an ulterior motive. They are, however, not the same thing.

Incels have been known to have violent perspectives of women and have been connected to several mass murders. Simps are men trying to please women to obtain a relationship or continue a relationship. So, there's a huge difference there.

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Where did the word simp come from?

Some people claim the word is derived from the 20th century term “simpleton,” but simp has become so detached from this original meaning that this is no longer a relevant comparison.

The word has also appeared in rap lyrics and other slang and unconventional English for longer than TikTok has existed. West Coast rappers Too Short and E-40 were using the word in their lyrics as far back as 1985.

The song “Sippin’ On Some Syrup” by Three 6 Mafia, which was released in 2000, opens with the line, “I’m trill working the wheel, a pimp, not a simp.”

As an antonym of the word pimp, simp has become a term that, at its core, refers to respecting women which is, of course, unmanly, effeminate, and just all-around terrible. (Note the sarcasm.)

It’s no surprise then that the term had a resurgence on forums used by men’s rights activists in the 2010s.

Fearful that feminism is weakening masculinity, these forum users align “simping” with surrendering patriarchal power. And while TikTok users probably don’t mean for the term to be as extreme as this, it is worth questioning what is so bad about a guy who wants to impress a woman.

A more recent reincarnation, and the most prolific use of the word simp, comes from TikTok, thanks to a 2020 trend of videos that show guys doing nice things for the girls they have a crush on, dubbed over with a sound or text that says, “Welcome to simp nation.”



The trend is a mixture of self-depreciation and accusation. Some are mocking the things they’ve done for girls, while others are calling out the problematic behavior of friends and strangers.

There is, of course, something to be said for drawing attention to ingenuine displays of affection. People can definitely support a trend that calls out guys who believe being nice or “simping” will get them a girl, but, unsurprisingly, these simp videos are mostly used to mock women or “unmanly” men than they are to defend them and their simping behaviors.

Is it bad to be a simp?

No. No, it's not.

Is it completely bizarre to think that maybe simping over a girl is what the guy wants to do? Does doing so make him any less of a man?

Given that all feminists actually want is for women to be treated with the same level of respect as men are, maybe we should all try being simps more often.

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Can a girl be a simp?

Technically, yes they can. The definition never truly assigns a gender to the term, it's just commonly known and associated with heterosexual men's feelings towards women.

A simp for a girl is when a woman is crushing hard on someone who may or may not like her back, to the point that her actions can seem a bit pathetic.

So, if a woman wants to buy dinner for a man or another woman, she might be deemed a simp due to going out of her way to make another person happy with the intention of creating a relationship.

How is the word simp used?

Believe it or not, some people actually like guys to treat them with kindness and adoration, instead of acting disinterested and ignoring their texts. But since modern misogyny has synonymized things girls enjoy with embarrassment and shame, simp is often used as an insult.

It doesn’t take much to be accused of being a simp. Any guy who has ever posted a cute photo of his girlfriend, or didn’t come to boys' night because it was her birthday, has probably had his friend mercilessly mock him for being a simp.

(I’ve even heard one man be called a simp by another because he reached back to hold the door open for me as I entered a cafe behind him. Keep in mind both of these men were strangers to me and would certainly not be the object of my affection anytime soon.)

How to Use 'Simp' in Conversation

Simp is a term being thrown around a lot, but are we all using it correctly?

Simp can be a noun or a verb. As a noun, it refers to a person who is excessively cheesy or caring for their crush. As a verb, it refers to the act of simping itself.

Using simp as a noun

Person 1: “Did you see Jake comment a heart on Jesy’s Instagram?”

Person 2: “Yeah, he is such a simp.”

Using simp as a verb

Person 1: “Yo, Ashley is so your type.”

Person 2: “Yeah, I might have to simp.”

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Alice Kelly is YourTango’s Deputy News and Entertainment Editor. Based in Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.