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Delulu is a slang term that refers to a short version of the word delusional. The term was created by the K-Pop community in 2014 to mock other fans' beliefs. TikTokers started to use the slang in November 2022, applying it to personal romantic situations unrelated to K-Pop.
The earliest available usage of the slang "delulu" appeared on the K-Pop forum OneHallyu on April 6th, 2014. OneHallyu user tinkeobel responded to a post about relationship rumors between two K-Pop stars by saying "…they're cute and both are hot af lmao, but their shippers are pretty much delulu." The answer received 49 likes in nine years (seen below).
On June 19th, 2014, Urban Dictionary user eyeofink submitted a definition for "delulu," reading, "a delusional fan girl/boy who believes they can/will end up with their favorite idol or celebrity and invest an unhealthy amount of time and energy into said idol."
The term was largely exclusive to K-Pop forum community posts until some cases started to appear on social media in 2016, also related to K-Pop. For instance, Twitter user @chaebinseu shared a GIF about a K-pop singer staring at another celebrity, using the slang in the caption "not being delulu" to comment on a fictional scenario they created. The post was uploaded on May 22nd, 2016, garnering 225 likes and 339 retweets in seven years (seen below).
not being delulu but chaeyeon's reaction when she sees jaehyun talking is so freaking cute I'M SQU EALING pic.twitter.com/6yodVOjZrm
— 지오 (@chaebinseu) May 22, 2016
The popularity of the term would burst out of the K-Pop community in November 2022, when "delulu" transitioned from a niche phrase to a general slang on TikTok. For example, user @zainnyd posted a lip-dub video about friends that support delusional ideas, adding the term in the caption, "now we both delulu." The video (seen below, left) garnered 3.2 million plays and 965,000 likes in five months. Another instance of the term being used outside of K-Pop content is TikTok user @nicolebloomgarden's video skit about "delulu girls" posted on December 26th, 2022. The video (seen below, right) received 7.9 million plays and 1.8 million likes in four months.
@zainnyd now we both delulu #zainnyd #relatable #trend #fypシ #delusional ♬ original sound – $
Not the water bottle😩😭😭😂
The sudden turn to the mainstream of the term confused some K-Pop fans, like TikTok user @odd.of.course, who explains in a video with overlay text saying "the term delulu becoming normalized outside K-pop community is so silly to me because what do you mean 'I was delulu' and you're talking about a fella from your hometown." The post (seen below), uploaded on February 21st, 2023, garnered 288,000 plays and 67,400 likes in one month.
@odd.of.course delulu is not a crush on the greasy haired blonde boy you are probably hotter than😭 #foryou #fyp #kpop #chuu #delulu #saesangs ♬ all i wanted was you – ↯
@gsgetlonelytoo Replying to @Nicole Wyant how to be delusional and enter ur de lu lu eraAAAAAA #fyp #delusional #delulu #bimbo #bimbotiktok #bimboification #bimbocore ♬ original sound – fifi
@homiephoibix Idk if this is satire or I’m manifesting #taylorswift #speaknow #speaknowtaylorsversion #swiftie #swifttok #swifties #delulu ♬ Speak Now – Taylor Swift
my favorite pastime
@olivia.daphne delulu era guys #fyp ♬ orijinal ses – Jane
 Forum – First mention of delulu
 Urban Dictionary- Delulu meaning
 Twitter – @chaebinseu
 TikTok – @nicolebloomgarden
 TikTok – @odd.of.course
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