They’re throughout your TikTok feed: brief clips of meals, sports activities, makeovers, and even confessions — all overlaid with loud, high-pitched choruses of “sheeeeeeesh.”
You’ve heard individuals say “sheesh” earlier than — in response to Merriam Webster, the phrase has been in use for the reason that 1900s to “express disappointment, annoyance, or surprise” — however on TikTok, “sheesh” signifies every little thing from bragging, to cringe, to pleasure.
The which means of “sheesh” has shifted within the age of social media. In Young Thug’s 2015 track “Check,” he repeats the phrase within the line, “I got a check (sheesh, sheesh)” to emphasise how a lot money he’s raking in. Similarly, LeBron James has used “sheesh” on social media to convey approval: in 2019, he paired the phrase with a slew of fireplace emojis in a retweet of images of his signature Nike sneakers getting used on the court docket.
But in 2021, the phrase “sheesh” is in every single place — particularly, mentioned shrilly and repetitively, with an emphasis on the vowels. The unique “sheeeeeeesh” sound first started to flow into on TikTok in February, when person @meetjulio posted a video of a frog being serenaded by a refrain of sheeshes on Valentine’s Day. (Yeah, IDK both.) Since then, over 100,000 movies have used the original audio to make “sheesh” TikToks, and Gen Zers have even migrated the expression to actual life. One look at TikToks with the “sheeeeeeesh” sound — that includes loads of irony-inflected humblebrags — makes it apparent that the brand new which means of “sheesh” doesn’t solely align with Merriam Webster’s definition.
“In some contexts, it can mean something like ‘dang, you look good’ or ‘OK, I see you’ when someone does something impressive,” Anita, 18, tells Bustle. After Anita first seen the “sheesh” audio popping up in every single place throughout her hours spent scrolling via TikTok, she quickly started to overhear it in actual life, too — mostly by center or high schoolers once they flex their abilities in a online game or gossip about ladies they’re taken with. Sofia, 18, factors out that youthful Gen Zers have a tendency to make use of “sheesh” as a extra severe try at humor or flirting, whereas older Gen Zers ceaselessly use it in additional mocking, lighthearted contexts.
“When I hear guys use it in public, it usually has to do with a girl,” Sofia tells Bustle. “Sometimes it can be used as catcalling.” She and her buddies like to make use of “sheesh” as a joke, typically to emphasise one thing unusual or revealing that occurs in a TV present (choruses of “sheesh” crammed the room once they watched Hotchner’s ex-wife get murdered in Criminal Minds, for examples). They may use it to make enjoyable of center college boys, too.
Similarly, Anita sees most older Gen Zers use “sheesh” mockingly. “Sometimes people use it when someone does something clumsy or stupid,” she says. “If someone trips and falls, then their friends might say it to make fun of the situation.”
You may also simply hear it out in the actual world for no purpose in any respect. “[One of my friends] went on a hike where it was kinda crowded, and he just said ‘sheesh’ randomly very often,” Anita tells Bustle. “Other people would yell ‘sheesh’ back.” Why? Consider it bonding over the viral development.
Even although the phrase is clearly widespread, a shared sentiment amongst Gen Zers is that it’s cringey for millennials to say “sheesh,” particularly unironically. “If I heard a millennial say ‘sheesh’ in real life, I’d be like, ‘what are you doing?’” says Anita. “I think it could be funny if Gen Xers were to say it, though.” Sofia’s favourite kind of “sheesh” TikTok entails children asking their confused parents and grandparents to say “sheesh” — as a result of they do not know what it means, Gen Zers snicker collectively about how foolish older members of their households sound. Consider it a particularly innocent prank.
TL;DR? “Sheesh” is often used to idiot round or emphasize no matter’s humorous a couple of state of affairs. Different individuals will use it in barely other ways, however one factor stays constant — there’s one thing concerning the high-pitched squeal of “sheeeeeeesh” that’s simply hilarious.