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Thirst Trap is a slang term used for a picture or text that is designed to elicit a feeling of thirst in others on various social media platforms. Thirst traps can be considered similar to fishing for compliments, but from the opposite side of the spectrum. The term originated in the early 2010s, continuing to grow in usage into the early 2020s. It's primarily associated with platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, though the term is widely used around the internet.
The exact first use of the term online is unknown, but it appears to have originated around 2011. On October 11th, 2011, Urban Dictionary user MisterGQ uploaded a definition for "Thirst Trap" to the site, calling it a statement or picture that is intentionally made to create thirst, receiving over 4,300 likes in 11 years (shown below).
The term increasingly gained steam with more usage year after year online, with a notable spike occurring circa 2015 around the advent of online dating via apps like Tinder. This led to the term gaining mainstream virality that year, highlighted by an article in The Cut by Allison P. Davis in which Facebook and Instagram photos of Kim Kardashian were examined closely and various different methods of thirst trapping were explored (shown below).
Thirst trap then became a commonly used slang word heading into the late 2010s and early 2020s whenever someone would post a picture or make a comment with the explicit intent of making someone horny. This trend would continue to the point where "#ThirstTrapThursday" started to become a trending hashtag in the later parts of 2022, in which various accounts post thirst trap content in an attempt to promote their OnlyFans or other adult content for sale (example shown below).
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