A Comprehensive List Of Words That Are *Literally* Losing Their Meaning

This list is literally my Roman Empire

Photo by Albina White / Pexels

Language will always adapt and change, and thanks to our presence online and active use of social media, things are moving quicker than ever.

Sometimes though, words get so overused online that they eventually lose their meaning.


I’m existing on vibes”

While your vibe might mean your emotional state or the atmosphere of a place, we now have a habit of adding it to everything. Is the weather ‘giving cold vibes’ or is it simply cold?


“I literally spent €6000 on drinks last night”

This one is by no means new, but the word literally has come to mean quite the opposite of its literal, genuine meaning, and is instead a perfect addition to add dramatic effect to any story.


“This outfit is so aesthetic”

While it was once used in addition to other words – e.g. modern aesthetic, floral aesthetic, you’ll find people all over the internet talking about how simply ‘aesthetic’ something is.

Roman Empire

“I think about Zayn leaving One Direction at least once a day, it’s my Roman Empire”

Last year, everyone was asking what your Roman Empire was. It stemmed from the idea that men think about the Roman Empire quite a lot, and spurred people to ask what their equivalent was. But all of a sudden, everything and anyone was someone’s Roman Empire. No, eating is not your Roman Empire, you just enjoy it and need it to exist. No, your hair isn’t your Roman Empire because you think about washing it!


You need to try this hack to get perfect boiled potatoes”

*Show me a life hack that you randomly saw one day…* Since mid 2010s, everything is a hack. A quick, simplified way of doing something is a hack, sure. But all of a sudden anything and everything was a hack. Cycling instead of getting the bus to work isn’t exactly a hack, and neither is cleaning your room while playing music.


“Have you heard about the Orange Peel theory?”

A theory is usually abstract, conceptual and even philosophical. But TikTok is rife with theories that are nothing more than thoughts. Have you heard about The Orange Theory?

It’s the idea that a partner who does small acts like peeling an orange for you is showing their commitment to your relationship. The Shoe theory? The idea that wearing a different shoe can transform your outfit. Not exactly a theory, but something to think about, sure!


“I’m not gonna gatekeep this skincare secret”

Gatekeeping, or restricting access or knowledge is not a new concept. But the word is all over the internet. TikTokers will tell you they’re not gonna gatekeep which lipstick they’re wearing and proceed to show you the product.


“I’m in my tired girl era”

Adding era to just about every feeling, mood or situation is fun. Are you hungry or are you in your hungry era? Did you get a new job or are you in your boss era? There is nothing left in the world that can not be summed up by calling it an era. Try it yourself!

This article first appeared in the March/April issue of STELLAR