Confused by all the TikTok trends? This glossary might help

Anyone who shops or uses the internet probably has encountered a TikTok trend – whether they know it or not.

Since the social media platform made its U.S. debut almost six years ago, short videos posted there have created a rapidly changing menu of food and fashion fads. Many of these latest rages have gone on to inspire sales of countless products and to shape news coverage despite having names that can confuse people who are not chronically online.

TikTok also has popularized phrases like “I’m looking for a man in finance” – from a satirical song about searching for a tall, wealthy man who works in the finance industry and “the ick” – an expression of disgust or repulsion, as Merriam-Webster puts it.

Here are a few of the more ubiquitous trends the platform has spawned – or helped spread – so far:

Fashion and style:

Barbiecore: Barbie is known for pink, and so is Barbiecore. The color crept into fashion, beauty and food in 2022, and was even recommended by The Associated Press for holiday gifts that year. According to the fashion company LYST, the trend began after pictures of a pink-clad Margot Robbie surfaced online in June 2022, a year before the actor’s “Barbie” movie came out and toy maker Mattel launched its own marketing blitz to promote the color. Barbiecore was a heavy hit both on Instagram and TikTok, where more than 72,000 videos have been posted with the trend’s name as a hashtag.

Coastal grandma: A beachfront, white linen-clad fashion look that incorporates light blue and loose clothing in a way that subtly communicates a peaceful and carefree lifestyle. Lex Nicoleta, a TikTok creator who has 325,000 followers on the platform, coined the term.

Cottagecore: This style captures colors and patterns from countryside meadows. Think greenery, long flowery dresses and the aesthetic of Middle-earth, the planet’s mythological past as imagined in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.”

Mob wives: An aesthetic that incorporates the bold cheetah prints, fur and big (often teased-out) hair seen on women in mafia-themed films and TV shows. The term appears to have been coined by TikTok creator Kayla Trivieri, who posted a video on the platform early last year saying: “Clean girl is out, mob wife era is in.”

Office siren: Corporate clothing with form-fitting pieces like pencil skirts and cinched blazers. It’s often paired with slim Bayonetta glasses that resemble the pair model Gisele Bündchen’s character, Serena, wore in the 2006 film “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Y2K fashion: An umbrella term that describes various trends from the early-2000s, such as cargo pants, mesh tops and baguette bags. TikTok has helped resurrect such turn of the century styles. They overlap with the so-called McBling era, which emphasizes flashier items personified by brands like Juicy Couture and designer Kimora Lee Simmons’ Baby Phat.


Clean girl aesthetic: A no-makeup makeup look that often typically features glistening, hydrated skin and glossy lips. Oftentimes, it’s paired with slicked-back buns and minimalist clothing such as a white t-shirt, gold jewelry and jeans. Critics say components of the trend have been embraced for decades in Black and Hispanic communities.

Cold girl makeup: This look attempts to recreate what happens to many people when they get cold. Think red or pink blush for rosy-flushed cheeks and nose, combined with sheer lipstick or gloss. TikTok creator Zoe Kim Kenealy posted the term and the look in 2022.

Latte makeup: What color is a latte? This look incorporates smoky shades of brown and nude tones. The term was coined by TikTok creator Rachel Rigler, who was – in part – inspired by a 2018 makeup look from Australian makeup artist Tanielle Jai.

Strawberry makeup: Model and trend-setter Hailey Bieber named this makeup look, which incorporates components of latte makeup but focuses on pink and red hues. Bieber first posted the look on Instagram last August and followed up with a video tutorial on TikTok, where there are currently nearly 35,000 posts with the hashtag “strawberrymakeup.”


Chopped Italian sandwich: An Italian sub that includes chopped meats and toppings, such as salami, lettuce and banana peppers.

Girl dinner: Girl dinners can be anything, but are popularly known as a snack plate that requires less cooking and cleaning up than a typical evening meal. The phrase is credited to TikTok creator Olivia Maher.

McDonald’s Grimace shake: A berry-flavored milkshake that went viral on TikTok after some creators posted videos of themselves drinking it and then ending up on the ground in a messy pool of purple – or having some sort of seemingly paranormal experience. The limited-time purple shake, which is named after McDonald’s fuzzy mascot, boosted sales at the fast food chain during the second quarter of 2023.

Smash burger taco: A burger fried with a tortilla on top. Burger tacos aren’t a new thing. But they went viral last year when TikTok creator Brad Prose posted a video about it.

WaterTok: TikTok videos of users mixing water with different types of colorful and artificially sweetened syrups or powders to create flavorful drinks, such as salted caramel apple water.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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