TikTok has become a breeding ground for new slang and phrases over the past few years. And if you blink, the latest trends can pass you by at a whirlwind pace. One such word has been making its way across the platform lately, so if you’ve been wondering why everyone is referring to things as “mid” all of a sudden, we’re here to help.
Before trending on TikTok, “mid” had been around for at least a year or two as a slang abbreviation for the word “mediocre,” often referring to something that receives unearned praise. The top definition on Urban Dictionary, which was added on July 7, 2020, defines mid as: “Used to insult or degrade an opposing opinion, labeling it as average or poor quality.”
How did ‘mid’ become popular on TikTok?
Mid’s ascension to TikTok, however, where the tag currently has over 586 million views, is a wholly different story altogether. In September, a clip went viral featuring professional wrestler Maxwell Jacob Friedman, or “MJF,” during an All Elite Wrestling match. Hyping himself up in the ring, Friedman took aim at the midwest United States.
“It’s called the Midwest because everything in it is mid,” Friedman yelled. “Skyline chili? Mid! Your Cincinnati Reds who haven’t won a World Series since 1990? Muh-muh-muh-mid! And every single person who lives here is MID.”
Thi clip first went viral on TikTok when uploaded by user @this.is.cdub on Sep. 23 (with the word “mid” punctuated by explosion sounds), and the official account for All Elite Wrestling later added its own footage on Oct. 29.
As the various clips of Friedman began to go viral, others used the soundbite to add to their own videos, roasting everything from Netflix streaming and other television shows to overrated exercises for muscle growth.
Eventually, TikTok user @dafunydude sped up Friedman’s rant so he sounded more like one of Alvin and the Chipmunks than a professional wrestler. That version of the soundbite, which was originally used to roast Drake, quickly eclipsed the popularity of the original. And while many of the adaptations aren’t specific to the midwest, one version uploaded by user @abbie.cheeseman took the meme quite literally.
Oddly enough, there’s another entire subset of “mid” culture on TikTok that’s devoted to making fun of various types of food — fast food, for the most part — accompanied by a creepy, tinkly piano soundtrack that first originated from a Russian TikTok account. The original sound hashtag currently has nearly 150,000 videos uploaded to date. The two below, which roast Wendy’s and Wingstop, respectively, have over 3 million “likes” each.
Hopefully, that mostly clears things up — though, we say “mostly,” as nothing is ever completely quite straightforward when it comes to TikTok. By next week, who knows what the platform will dub as mid, or maybe it will have moved on to another trend entirely!