Self

What It Means When Someone Says You Look 'Snatched'

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The first time a teenager told me my eyebrows were "on fleek" I experienced a reaction like nothing I had known before. It was a sensation not unlike I imagine one feels upon arriving at the gates of heaven and being told that yes, you may enter paradise.

But it was different the first time someone told me that my hair looked "snatched."

Previously being familiar with this word only as the past tense of a verb meaning "to take or grasp abruptly or hastily," and also having watched more than my fair share of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," I assumed this person must be trying to tell me that my hair looked bad, as though I had snatched a wig off of another woman (à la Sheree Whitfield) and was now trying to pass it off as my own.

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It was only this person's enthusiastic delivery that made me pause to consider that, perhaps, she might be giving me a compliment. And as it turns out, she was!

What does snatched mean?

"Snatched" is the slang replacement of choice for people who'd already stopped saying "on fleek" before it was even cool.

According to slang bible Urban Dictionary, snatched is "a popular term in the gay community referring to good looks, fierceness, or something good." It's "used to take the place of 'on fleek', 'perfect', 'on point' or 'fashionable'."

In the drag community, snatched is used to describe something so incredible, something that blew you away to the point where it "snatched" your weave off.

There's another meaning too, one that seemed to gain popularity at a rapid pace. "Snatched" can mean that you are so excited about something that you snatched your wig right off of your own head!

Where did the term 'snatched' originate?

The use of this word in this way has been happening in the world of drag forever. In fact, I wasn't far off when I thought it had something to do with wig snatching.

In the drag world, in addition to meaning "hot as hell," snatched can also be applied to someone who is being particularly sassy and clever. As in, "You are so on fire with your sick, sick burns that your wig snatched!" (As in, snatched off your head by the subject of the aforementioned burn).

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I think it's awesome that the English language is so alive and dynamic. That said, it would behoove us all to know more about the origins of the slang we use in our everyday lives.

So many of the most brilliantly kinetic, zany, and catchy words we adore come from marginalized populations like the gay and Black communities who traditionally don't receive proper credit for their innovations.

Sure, you can't change the world by explaining what you mean when you tell everyone your friend Kim is snatched when she's drunk, but when you do tell folks where words like this come from, you set a positive example and open the space for a larger conversation with the people around you who are willing to listen.

How to Use 'Snatched' in a Sentence

1. To compliment someone's appearance

"Wow, your makeup and outfit are snatched!"

2. To compliment yourself

"My eyebrows look snatched AF and I'm feeling myself."

3. To express how someone blew you away

"Ariana Grande snatched me with that set at her live show!"

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

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