Why is this Swedish phrase so popular on TikTok?

Image via TikTok

If you’ve been filling your downtime hours by scrolling relentlessly through TikTok lately – and who amongst us hasn’t? – you may have noticed a new ubiquitous phrase that left you scratching your head. It’s not the first time a new phrase or term has leaped into the popular consciousness from the user video service. Remember “naur”? No? okay, well, at least let us clear up “abow” for you.

“Abow” is blowing up because of its prominence in the song “Throw it Back” by ShantiiP and TarioP, one of the more ubiquitous pieces of music backgrounds on the platform- it’s been used in over 10,000 videos. Although there is no specific dance trend following the song, posters have placed particular emphasis on the song’s odd new terminology.

Warning: The song does contain fairly extensive use of profanity.

So what does it mean? Well, many users don’t seem to know or care, while some are even falsely attributing the term’s origin as Arabic or Turkish, but the phrase is actually from the same place that brought us IKEA and smorgasbord, Sweden. It’s is an idiom meaning “damn” or “wow.”

No telling how firmly the term will lock itself into the general American teen vocab. It may be as lasting as “cool,” but it is just as likely to go back to being incomprehensible to anyone but a Swede, given the normal lifespan of a TikTok trend. The hashtag #abow has over 57 million views and counting currently, so we can only wait and see whether the term becomes common coinage.