By Alana Dore, Word Nerd
It’s the dream, ladies and gentlemen – the rise from obscurity to center stage. It’s the ascension from being anonymous to being the key to several promotional marketing campaigns. “Fleek” is the star in question.
Generally, the term is synonymous with the phrase “on point.” It’s also been described as being “cool” or “fresh.” When speaking about one’s eyebrows, however, the term means they are well-groomed and defined.
The earliest definition of the word popped up on Urban Dictionary in 2003, and it seems it was floating about in space, being passed back and forth like instant messages until finally – finally – it was “discovered.”
Much like pop sensation Justin Bieber and comedian Bo Burnham, the word fleek began its climb to fame through online video sharing but, unlike the men, the term only needed six seconds to make an impact. Fleek owes its success to the one and only Peaches Monroee – and a few other people, but we’ll get to them later.
Peaches, if that’s even her real name, uploaded a Vine in 2014 informing the world she was in “this b*tch,” that she was “finna get crunk” and, lastly, that her eyebrows were “on fleek.” She had no idea that her seemingly innocuous comment would spark a pandemic, forever changing the world and the vernacular of people everywhere.
Sweet, innocent little Peaches should have taken out a copyright. The Vine was reinterpreted by Ariana Grande on MTV a few months later and went viral. Soon after, artists and celebrities started using it in videos, hashtags and song lyrics. B.O.B. even has a song titled “Fleek,” though he gets credit for coining “Fleekwood Mac” – is that genius or what?
There is speculation as to whether or not fleek is just a creative adaptation of sleek – with good reason. The words have similar meanings, at least when referring to eyebrows, and have only one letter difference between them. Often in Old English, the letter “S” was written similarly to the letter “F,” but considering the recent recognition of the word, it seems unlikely that the term was created way back when and was undiscovered for so long. Bieber was discovered at age 12 – it’s doubtful fleek has been waiting around for notoriety since the 11th Century.
Along with celebrity recognition, the term was lauded by corporations looking to appeal to the youth of America. The word was incorporated into the marketing strategies of IHOP, Taco Bell and JetBlue toward the end of 2014. Whether or not “Pancakes on fleek” was the beginning of the end for Peaches’ word baby is yet to be seen. but who knows where the next fad will come from? Why did Peaches succeed where Gretchen Weiners failed? The world may never know.
Alana Dore can be reached at Inside@HuntNewsNU.com.