It's Friday night. You leave your apartment in an Uber Black to head for that one club where Drake is rumored to sometimes show up. You get there and spend thousands of dollars you don't have on bottle service only to end up spilling a $600 bottle of wine on your fancy new outfit. The next day you go on a shopping spree, immediately wandering into the Gucci store where you know everything is beyond your price range but somehow justify buying yourself $1,000 slides, immediately putting them on so you look extra fire for that 3 o'clock massage you desperately need. Your bank account is literally screaming at you as you walk out of the massage therapist's office towards Lush for your ethically sourced shampoo. It's a little pricier than the other stuff but that's okay. You didn't pick the boujee lifestyle, the boujee lifestyle picked you.
If this sounds like you or your friends, you might be "boujee" or "bougie," a slang term that's picked up a lot of use online in the last decade as a way to call out a certain type of lavish lifestyle. Here's what it means and how to use it.
Where Does "Boujee" Come From?
"Boujee," also spelled "bougie," is a term derived from the French word "bourgeois." Bourgeois is derived from an old 18th-century French term, "burgeis," literally meaning "walled city" and has historically been used in reference to the middle and upper-middle class. Collectively, this class of people has been referred to as the "bourgeoisie," becoming particularly popular with the rise of Marxist theory, which essentially uses the term bourgeoisie as an alternative to "capitalists." The bourgeoisie is seen as the class that seized the means of production, marked by a reliance on material goods, enterprise and exploiting the labor of "lower" classed people.
The term "boujee" first started taking off in the late 20th century, largely in African-American communities. Typically, it's used deprecatingly to refer to people who live a pretentious, bourgeoisie lifestyle even if they don't have the means to do so. A bougie person is typically seen as someone who buys expensive things, has expensive tastes and spends money they don't have to keep up a lavish lifestyle.
"Boujee" Usage In Memes
While the terms has featured in memes and online discourse throughout the 2010s, boujee became more popular online following the release of Migos song "Bad and Boujee" in October 2016. Beyond inspiring the Rain Drop Drop Top memes, it also helped spread the term as a way of defining a specific lifestyle. As the term spread, people began labeling pretentious types who spend beyond their means and present the lavish lifestyle above all else as boujee. Many even started to use the term self-deprecatingly to poke fun at their own bad spending habits and expensive tastes, leading to memes across social media about the struggles of keeping up the bougie lifestyle. It's also used in a more literal way in reference to rich, capitalistic people, although this is less common.
Is It Spelled 'Boujee' Or 'Bougie?'
The correct spelling of the term is generally considered "bougie," however, "boujee" is an arguably more popular spelling of the term and an intentional misspelling. The terms are often used interchangeably, but some people claim there is a difference between the two. Yourdictionary defines boujee as "someone who is upwardly mobile and is actually in a higher economic class than others," while it defines bougie as, "someone who acts like they are richer or in a higher economic class than they really are." Essentially, if you're "boujee" you're actually of higher class, while being "bougie" means you're faking it.
How do you use "Boujee" in a sentence?
- "Did you see how much she spent at Louis Vuitton? She's so boujee."
- "Oh my god I'm like so boujee."
- "There's no way I can keep up my boujee lifestyle for much longer."
For the full history of "boujee," be sure to check out our entry on the slang term here for even more information.