Today we venture into the realm of neologisms; many adults don't know what this word means, though some zombies might. Fleek, an urban slang word meaning "awesome" that is now surprisingly popular among schoolchildren, was attested several times throughout the eighteenth century, peaking around 1744, when it was a probably unrelated word meaning "bushy" and chiefly used by poets who needed more -eek rhymes. Though there were a couple mentions throughout the centuries, the word as it exists today did not rise in prominence until a 2014 Vine video where the user Peaches Monroee (a Chicago teen) used it to describe her eyebrows. "[The word] just came to me out of the blue," she was quoted as saying. It does not appear to have any correlation with the 1700s word, especially since in the context she used it in, it meant "awesome". Later that year, fleek was used by pop singer Ariana Grande, and it rapidly gained traction from there. In recent days, fleek has lost popularity slightly; Google searches for the word are down 56 percent since their peak in May 2015. However, it's just gaining momentum in other countries like South Africa, and it's liable to remain part of our vernacular forever.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd