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Why The Word ‘Mid’ Is All Over TikTok Right Now

Photographed by Eylül Aslan
In recent months you've probably seen the word "mid" on TikTok a lot. It seems to be popping up all the time in videos, captions and comments. And once you start using it in your own conversations, you may find yourself unable to stop. That's because "mid" feels like the perfect put-down for right now: it's three little letters that stand for a slight pout and a shoulder shrug.
"Mid" is defined by Urban Dictionary as a word "used to insult or degrade an opposing opinion, labelling it as average or poor quality". It's essentially a snappy shorthand for mid-tier or mediocre — not terrible, but nothing to get excited about, either. "How was your Boxing Day?" "Ugh, pretty mid — we ended up just sitting around and playing board games."
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"Mid" has become such a thing on TikTok that the hashtag now has more than 656m views. Its popularity has definitely been fuelled by a viral clip of American professional wrestler Maxwell Jacob Friedman hyping himself up (and dissing an opponent) by saying: "It's called the Midwest (of America) because everything in it is mid." Ouch — in one fell swoop, Friedman dismissed 12 US states including Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin as "mid".
Since then, his snappy sound byte has been repurposed by TikTok creators to apply the word "mid" to everything from mediocre Netflix shows to, well, having a boyfriend (relatable, tbh).
Even budget airline Ryanair has been dismissed as "mid".
As we look ahead to another year of potential pandemic stress — including the inevitable unpaid overtime that working from home leads to — the word "mid" seems destined to become even more popular. Just watch out for anything being dismissed as "mid" and "cheugy", which might just be TikTok's ultimate double-barrel insult.
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