A Short History of ‘Simp’ (Published 2020) (2023)


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An insult takes a dizzying trip through rap, men’s rights, misogyny and TikTok.


A Short History of ‘Simp’ (Published 2020) (1)

By Ezra Marcus and Jonah Engel Bromwich

The word “simp” isn’t new. In fact, it’s pretty old.

But it has been dragged into fresh popularity. In the same way that older songs can find new audiences on TikTok, older slang emerges on the app to be championed by a broader, younger audience.

Too Short, the bawdy West Coast rapper who used the word in lyrics as early as 1985, said that he was not surprised that the word is more popular than ever.

“It still means the same thing,” he said. “If I was in a room with a bunch of 20-somethings or even teenagers, I would expect them to know what I’m talking about.”

The Evolution of Simp

Simp’s new status as a prime insult — a misogynist one, that implies a person is “unmanly” — has lasted most of a year. Mel Magazine, an online journal quick to note new cultural trends, deeply dissected the resurgence in October.

The “New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English,” defines it as a shortened version of simpleton, so the phrase’s original meaning is rooted in calling someone stupid. The dictionary lists its first known usage as 1946, though it appeared in The New York Times as early as 1923.

The most recent entry in the dictionary dates to the 2000 novel “My Once Upon a Time,” by the British novelist Diran Adebayo, where “simp” appears twice in the first 20 pages.

Mr. Adebayo said he had used it to inject an old-fashioned noir tone into the book.

“Simp would have been used in an old-school way,” he said. “Not the other way it’s been used as a very soft kind of man, who is very soft to his female friends.”

That newer sense of the word — as an insult for being “soft” or “overly sympathetic,” particularly to women — became more prominent in the 1980s and early 1990s. A set of West Coast rappers who regularly addressed pimping, including Hugh-E. M. C., Too Short and E-40, started using it in their songs.

“To me it’s like the opposite of the pimp,” Too Short said. “It really degrades the person who you’re aiming it at.”

He added that it evoked the sense of something counterfeit: “Like you’re a knockoff pimp.”

Too Short said that he may have drawn it from 1970s Blaxploitation movies, where the word thrived. The 1982 B-movie “Penitentiary II” even had a character named Simp.

In the early 2010s, the word, still used with some regularity by rappers, was seized upon by members of the nascent “manosphere,” the world of men’s rights activism. Simp became a staple of men’s rights forums, where feminism is derided as weakening men — just waiting for an enterprising TikToker to dust it off and give it a new sheen.

Do We Know Where Simp’s Going To?

The word’s current definition isn’t too far from Too Short’s. It’s a person, often a man, who throws money or attention at someone else, often a woman, in order to win their affection. (It doesn’t work.)

That usage only became popular on TikTok in 2019, and may have peaked thanks to a trope made popular by Marco Borghi, whose account, @polo.boyy, has more than 2 million followers on the platform.

On Dec. 16, he posted a video that showed him posing beneath a block of text. It read: “If she rants to you about her relationship problems and you comfort her,” while Post Malone’s “Rock Star” played. The beat switched. The chords of OutKast’s “Hey Ya” began to play and a text banner flashed: “Welcome To Simp Nation.”

Mr. Borghi had been making videos riffing on the notion of simps throughout the year. But that one seems to have inspired a boom of simp content on TikTok.

The @polo.boyy videos marked the first time that Sterling Fournier, 21, had seen the word on TikTok, where he himself has over 675,000 followers. He made his own video in the same format.

He said he had already been aware of what it meant.

“If you were out with the boys, you’d say, ‘Oh, I had such a great date with Sydney. I paid for her food,’ and then you know, like, just as a teasing word, we’d be like, ‘Oh dude, you’re such a simp,’” he said.

Hope She Sees This, Bro

The first wave of simp content on TikTok and YouTube was driven by men. More recently, a simp-related video trope driven by female creators has emerged.

Lauren Halbach, 19, posted one such video in May. In it, her boyfriend is resting his head on her torso in bed. A song called “Simp (Simp Nation Theme Song)” starts playing. He jumps up, laughing.

“I feel like my boyfriend definitely fits the context of being a simp,” Ms. Halbach said.

The boyfriend-simp meme gave her the chance to turn the tables on TikTok’s alpha male culture, she said, where women are often “shamed or slammed for being too clingy or being too obsessive over men,” and men mock each other for doing “overly special things for women.” She called the dynamic “very toxic.”

The ubiquity of the term “simp” has taken some of that sting out of it. Like other insults, it has been taken up by fan communities, who often refer to themselves as simps for their favorite stars. Gretchen McCulloch, a linguist and the author of “Because Internet,” a book about language online, compared this usage to terms like “stan” or “trash,” as in, “I’m trash for this.”

Ms. McCulloch called it a self-conscious approach to fandom — “preemptively putting yourself down so that other people can’t,” she said.

So … It’s Sexist?


The word expresses discomfort with equality when it comes to gender, and offers a simple way to dismiss the people causing that discomfort. Its resurgence cuts against simplistic ideas about young people, who are often caricatured as beacons of political correctness — woke saviors arriving at a time when America desperately needs them.

Mr. Fournier said the word’s edginess was part of its appeal. “I think it caught on because it was just, just within that perfect margin where it wasn’t something that you could get like too, too angry about, but it was also something that was still pretty politically incorrect,” he said.

Ms. McCulloch places simp in the same category of terms as “white knight” and “whipped,” used to degrade men who are “perceived as trying to curry the favor of women.” These also crop up the world of men’s rights activism where simp is frequently used.

Mr. Adebayo teaches creative writing at Kingston University London. He said that when he saw the word in his students’ work, it reflected a character’s “backlash or irritation, or even confusion, around quite what you’re supposed to be as a man in terms of furthering your appeal to women.”

“A simp is someone that puts like, woman on a pedestal,” said Tiago Garcia-Arenas, 22, a TikTok creator with more than 2 million followers who released a song called “Simp” earlier this year. Such men, he said, see women “as a higher being, or something like that.”

And Nelson Cam, 19, a TikTok user with over 150,000 followers, said that the word has also retained its economic associations. Simps, he said, are “guys that spend a lot of money on girls and get nothing in return.”

“I feel like a lot of guys saw this word as an opportunity to, whenever they’re in an argument online with I guess, a male feminist or any male that’s sticking up for woman’s rights, they have an automatic weapon that they can just use,” he said.

The Enduring Power of Simp

Simp has linguistic qualities shared by a lot of timeless slang. It’s short, punchy and easy to pronounce.

“You look at the list of words for cool — you know, ‘rad’ or ‘hot’ or ‘bad,’” Ms. McCulloch said, “a lot of them are monosyllables that have like a consonant and a vowel and a consonant.”

Mr. Adebayo agreed that it benefits from sound alone.

“It’s a word that sounds quite dismissive and authoritative in its way,” he said. “You can see it being kind of a useful, insulting term.”

And longtime users of the word expect it to retain that meaning.

“I don’t know what simp will evolve into but it will always be a negative word if you’re called that,” Too Short said.

Jonah Bromwich is a news and features reporter. He writes about cultural change — shifts in the way we date, eat, think and use language and technology — for the Style section. @jonesieman

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When did simp start? ›

The Evolution of Simp

The “New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English,” defines it as a shortened version of simpleton, so the phrase's original meaning is rooted in calling someone stupid. The dictionary lists its first known usage as 1946, though it appeared in The New York Times as early as 1923.

What is the origin of simp? ›

While simp's way-back origins are connected to the word “simpleton,” its current usage is linked to West Coast American rappers like Too Short, who first used it in the mid-1980s in a way that denotes the opposite of “pimp” in his song “Pimpology.”

What is simp short for? ›

Simp is short for simpleton : I would never be foolish enough to say to anyone in my workplace that he is a simp. disapproving. someone who tries too hard to do what another person wants, especially in a romantic relationship: "I miss loving someone and doing everything for them." "You big simp."

What does simp mean for a girl? ›

What does simping mean? Simping is just one of the dating trends that exist within many others and was created primarily by Gen -Z culture. A simp or simping refers to when someone obsesses over someone else who does not return their affection.

Who made simp popular? ›

Simp began to have the connotation of someone being "soft" and "overly sympathetic" in the 1980s, when it was used by West Coast rappers such a Hugh E.M.C., Too Short, and E-40.

Who used simp first? ›

The word 'Simp' was first coined in 1985, after US rapper Too Short used it in his 1985 hit 'Pimpology”. The word at that time was to describe someone who is a stupid.

What is the old word for simp? ›

Then there's simp as a short form of simpleton (a fool), which was first recorded all the way back in the early 1900s.

What is a pick me girl? ›

Noun. pick-me girl (plural pick-me girls) (slang, derogatory) A woman who asserts that she is unlike (and sometimes better than) most other women, in order to gain attention, approval, or validation from men.

Why is simping bad? ›

People may simp out of fear that they won't measure up if they don't give into their desires, so they become willing to submit themselves to another person as a way to feel accepted and validated. Unfortunately, simping can lead to unhealthy relationships where one partner has power over the other.

What is BAE in texting? ›

"Bae," Urban Dictionary says, is an acronym that stands for "before anyone else," or a shortened version of baby or babe, another word for sweetie, and, mostly unrelated, poop in Danish. In addition, "bae" has appeared in rap songs and countless web memes since the mid-2000's.

What makes a guy a simp? ›

“Simp” is both a noun and a verb (to “simp over” or “simp for” someone is to engage in simp behavior). These days, the most common definition of the noun “simp” seems to be this: a man who throws money or attention at a woman in order to gain her affection, even when his tactics aren't working.

What is a synonym for simp? ›

What is another word for simp?
189 more rows

Can a girlfriend be a simp? ›

However, the dynamic can play out in all types of relationships, and a woman who behaves this way might also be considered a simp.) A simp exhibits fawning, groveling, or debasing behavior, possibly doing things they wouldn't normally do or that compromise their values or make them look silly.

What is a 2 man slang? ›

“2 Man” is another term for a double date in which the woman wants to bring a friend, and so the man responds by bringing his own friend, as well. “2 Man” might also simply mean a double hookup involving 2 couples. “Two-manning” also sometimes refers to a sexual encounter involving 2 men and 1 woman.

How do I know if Im a simp? ›

Now, the definition means *thanks, Urban Dictionary*, “someone who does way too much for the person they like.” So, a simp is someone who treats another person with respect and kindness only in hopes of starting a romantic or sexual relationship. In other words, a simp isn't being honest.

What is an example of a simp behavior? ›

According to a TikTok posted by NoChillTy, these are some obvious markers of a simp:
  • Always doing the most for a female that doesn't like them.
  • 'Where my hug at? ...
  • Always trying to impress females.
  • Puts females before themselves.
  • Will defend a female just for a drop of *cat emoji*.
  • Hates slander of any female.
Jan 4, 2020

What is an example of a simp? ›

In essence, a simp is someone who sucks up, schmoozes or otherwise fawns over another person — typically a person they're interested in romantically. Friend: “I'm gonna have to leave this game, I want to see what Anne is doing right now.” The Bois: “You're simping bro.”

What is the difference between simp and Stan? ›

'Simp' refers to someone who does way too much for a person they like while 'stan' which originally referenced the Eminem song 'Stan' about an overly obsessed fan is now used to refer to someone or something you idolise or truly love (Like 'We stand legends only').

What does simp mean in TikTok? ›

16. What does Simp mean on TikTok? According to Urban Dictionary, 'simp' stands for 'Suckas Idolising Mediocre Pussy'. Essentially, it's a term for a man who will do absolutely anything for a woman in the hopes of getting sex or a relationship in return. The term has softened thanks to TikTok.

Is the simp app safe? ›

For high schoolers, the Simp app isn't the worst idea, but you know your child best. It's not nearly as dangerous as other apps like Snapchat or websites like Omegle. Keep in mind, though, that it may cause stress and anxiety about figuring out crushes, and may even prompt cyberbullying if used nefariously.

Is simp a Gen Z word? ›

Gen Z didn't invent simp, but they've found a way to make it their own. Simp is used—often, it's important to note, in sexist ways—as an insult for men who are seen as being too submissive to women, especially under the guise of trying to win sexual attention from them.

What is the opposite of a simp called? ›

(slang) Opposite of a simple person lacking common sense. sage. philosopher. sensible person. wise man.

When was the word simp most used? ›

That newer sense of the word — as an insult for being “soft” or “overly sympathetic,” particularly to women — became more prominent in the 1980s and early 1990s.

What is a bruh girl? ›

bruh girl (plural bruh girls) (slang) A girl with personality traits and interests considered masculine, especially associated with frequently using the word bruh (“expressing amazement or shock”) in conversation.

What is a UWU girl? ›

“Uwu girls” are e-girls who have adopted both the emoticon and its cutesy connotations to an extreme extent, often speaking and acting with exaggerated innocence or with juvenile mannerisms perceived as cute.

What is a male Pickme? ›

pick-me boy (plural pick-me boys) (slang, derogatory, rare) A man who claims or acts as if he is unlike most other men, in order to gain attention from women.

What do you call a man who uses a woman? ›

/ˈwəmənaɪzə/ Other forms: womanizers. If you've ever known a man who can't keep his eyes off every single woman who walks by, you can call him a womanizer — especially if he's constantly handing out his phone number.

Do girls like being simped over? ›

Girls aren't naturally attracted to simps from what I gather. However, they may like having them around, for a nice dose of validation every now and then. Especially on social media, it helps them feel good about their personal image. However, don't expect a girl to like a simp because he's a simp, that's just weird.

Do girls like having SIMPs? ›

Another reason why women are repulsed by SIMPs is that women are attracted to the virtue of independence in a man. It's difficult for a woman to be attracted to men who are dependent on someone else's approval for his sense of self-purpose. Women are attracted to the virtue of independence in a man.

What does ROFL mean in texting? ›

(also ROTFL) (informal) ​(especially in text message, on social media, etc.) roll(ing) on the floor laughing.

What does BBE mean in love? ›

"Babe" is the most common definition for BBE on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. BBE. Definition: Babe.

What does Nah mean from a girl? ›

The meaning of nah

Nah is an informal version of the word no. It's often used in text messages and casual online writing.

Does simp mean desperate? ›

“Simp" is a slang term used to describe a person who is perceived as overly submissive or even desperate for the attention or affection of someone without receiving anything in return.

What does it mean to be called a munch? ›

Considering these lyrics, we can decipher that a “munch” is a sexual partner who solely performs oral sex and doesn't penetrate, and Genius's analysis of the anthem backs this up. ADVERTISEMENT. “'Munch' is New York slang meaning to perform oral sex on a woman.

Is simp only for girls? ›

While most people use “simp” to describe men who date women, anyone can engage in simp behavior. According to Hafeez, insecure people of any gender or orientation are likely to show disregard for others' boundaries.

Is simp day real? ›

National Simp Day is celebrated on June 3 every year. It is an important day that aims to break the stigma currently surrounding the term 'simp. ' For instance, many men are called 'simps' when they show sympathy towards another person.

Is simp a dating app? ›

Overall, Simp Video Dating is the perfect app for anyone looking to find love and build a strong, lasting relationship. Whether you're new to dating or have been looking for love for a while, Simp Video Dating is the perfect app to help you find the right person for you.

Is it rude to call a guy a simp? ›

Simp is a slang insult for men who are seen as too attentive and submissive to women, especially out of a failed hope of winning some entitled sexual attention or activity from them. Translation? The word simp is meant to troll young men for doing anything for a girl to get some action he supposedly deserves.

Can I simp my girlfriend? ›

Yes, you can.

To be a simp for another girl isn't a hard task to do as we young boys/men have an attraction for another, but I personally wouldn't recommend it as doing so could lead to consequences with your relationship.

What is the opposite of simp? ›

(slang) Opposite of a simple person lacking common sense. sage. philosopher. sensible person.

How do I know if I am a simp? ›

Urban Dictionary suggests a simp is someone who's overly desperate for another person. Most often, a simp is thought of as a guy enamored with a woman who possesses no interest in him—to the point he'll do seemingly anything for her attention.

What is the difference between simp and flirting? ›

Simping is a submissive behaviour... flirting is an assertive one. What can be assertive or submissive in complimenting someone for looks or voice for example?

What month is simp? ›

Show some love and appreciation for those around you on National Simp Day, June 3! This day was created to celebrate the act of being a "simp", or someone who shows kindness and respect in their relationships with others.

What is the no simp September rule? ›

Like No Nut November, No Simp September is an internet challenge that encourages men to not engage in any simp-like behavior for the entire month of September.

Is the simp app safe for kids? ›

For high schoolers, the Simp app isn't the worst idea, but you know your child best. It's not nearly as dangerous as other apps like Snapchat or websites like Omegle. Keep in mind, though, that it may cause stress and anxiety about figuring out crushes, and may even prompt cyberbullying if used nefariously.

Why was the simp app removed? ›

“Simp” is being banned under a portion of the revamped policy that prohibits derogatory statements about another person's perceived sexual preferences. “And that does include negatively targeting another person with sexually focused terms,” Clemens said.

Can you simp for guys? ›

Are simps always men? There's no doubt that being a simp or simping can apply to both genders. If you go on TikTok, you'll see plenty of videos including women. So, at least it's inclusive of both sexes.


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