As an avid social media user, I try to stay on top of the latest slang terms, acronyms and expressions that frequently appear in posts and messages.
One term that has become popular recently and is used quite often is 'based.' At first, I wasn't sure of the exact meaning or how to properly use the term in context.
Through researching various online sources and analyzing how others employ it on social media platforms, I have come to understand that 'based' is a slang expression used to convey admiration or praise for someone who is confident or defiant in the face of criticism.
In this article, I will explore the origins of the term, how it's used on social media, examples of its proper usage and context, and why it has become such a popular form of social validation and support.
For those still unsure of what it really means to be 'based' or how to leverage it in your own posts and interactions, read on.
The Origins of "Based" on 4chan and Reddit
The term 'based' originated on the anonymous message boards 4chan and Reddit, where it was used to positively describe someone or something that is authentic, honest or nonconformist.
The Early Days of 'Based'
In the early-mid 2000s, 'based' was used on 4chan and Reddit to describe an opinion, style or action that went against social norms or mainstream values in an admirable way.
To be 'based' was to be yourself without concern for what others thought or expected of you.
Over time, the meaning of 'based' expanded to refer more broadly to anything positive, admirable or agreeable.
On Reddit, users would comment 'based' on posts they strongly agreed with or found particularly insightful or clever.
The phrase developed connotations of courage, authenticity and intellectual independence.
Transition to Mainstream Social Media
By the early 2010s, 'based' had spread to mainstream social media platforms like Twitter, where it took on additional meanings.
Some used 'based' synonymously with words like 'cool,' 'awesome' or 'admirable.' Politically and ideologically, 'based' was used to signal strong agreement or praise for a perceived non-mainstream position.
The popularization of 'based' across social media reflects a cultural idealization of authenticity, nonconformity and going against the grain of mainstream opinions or sensibilities.
At its core, calling something or someone 'based' is a way to signal approval for courageously subverting social expectations or norms.
The spread of this terminology highlights the influence of niche internet communities on popular culture.
How "Based" Became Mainstream on Social Media
The rise of social media has brought with it an evolution of language, including the popularization of slang terms and abbreviations.
One such term that has become mainstream on platforms like Twitter is "based."
Origins and Early Use
The word "based" originally meant to be addicted to crack cocaine, referring to the base form of cocaine.
In the 1990s, rap group Three 6 Mafia helped popularize it in hip hop culture to mean "really cool." By the 2010s, "based" evolved into a general term of praise on social media, especially in marginalized communities.
Around 2020, "based" gained widespread use on Twitter to express enthusiastic support for a bold, unpopular, or nonconformist opinion or action.
Tweets describing someone as "based" for doing or saying something subversive or controversial receive tens of thousands of likes and retweets.
Politicians, brands, and internet personalities leverage the term to seem edgy or appeal to younger audiences.
A Complex Term
The meaning of "based" depends highly on context and intent.
It can be used genuinely to signal approval for courageous authenticity or ironically to mock perceived edginess.
Its historical roots in hip hop and current popularity among Gen Z and millennials give "based" a countercultural quality, even as it has been appropriated into the mainstream.
In summary, "based" is a popular but complex bit of internet slang.
At its best, it signifies praise for individuality and moral courage.
But it is also prone to ironic usage and appropriation.
As with all slang, its meaning and implications depend greatly on the speaker, audience, and context.
What Does "Based" Mean on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok?
As an avid user of social media, I frequently encounter new slang terms and phrases that gain popularity and spread through platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
One such word that has recently become common is “based.” In this section, I will explore what “based” means on social media and how it is used.
To be “based” is to be authentic and unconcerned with societal pressures or expectations.
When someone describes a person or their actions as “based,” it means that they believe them to be admirably confident and unapologetic in who they are or what they think.
They are acting without concern for conforming to popular opinions or political correctness.
To be based is to be real, raw, and unaffected.
For example, if someone posts an unpopular opinion on social media without worrying about potential backlash and another user comments “based,” it suggests they appreciate the poster’s willingness to share their authentic perspective.
The “based” individual is not swayed by the possibility of criticism or judgment from those who may disagree.
Some synonyms and related terms for “based” include:
While “based” began as a term used to convey admiration for indifference toward societal pressures, it has since evolved into a more general term of praise or agreement on social media.
However, at its core, to call someone or something “based” still suggests you perceive them as confidently and unapologetically themselves.
When and How to Use "Based" in Your Own Posts
The word “based” has become popular slang used on social media to show approval or agreement with something or someone.
As with any slang term, proper context and usage are key to employing it effectively in your own posts and comments.
When is it appropriate to use “based”?
Use “based” when you want to convey that you respect or approve of something or someone for being bold, authentic, or nonconformist.
For example, if a public figure speaks out against injustice or gives an unpopular but principled opinion, replying “based” shows you appreciate them standing up for what they believe in.
Similarly, commenting “based” on a post promoting self-acceptance, inclusion or individuality demonstrates your support for those values.
How should you use “based”?
To use “based” properly, keep the following guidelines in mind:
• Use it sincerely.
Only comment “based” if you genuinely support the underlying sentiment.
Using it sarcastically or trolling can come across as mean-spirited.
• Keep it concise.
Simply replying “based” is sufficient.
No need to elaborate unless you have something thoughtful to add.
• Consider your audience.
Make sure “based” is appropriate for the forum and aligns with the overall values of the community.
In some contexts, it may be better avoided.
• Don’t overuse it.
Like any slang, “based” loses meaning if used constantly.
Reserve it for times when you want to convey strong approval or praise for courage and authenticity.
• Explain if needed.
If “based” is an unfamiliar term to some readers, you may want to briefly clarify that you mean it as a compliment for being nonconformist or principled.
But in many online communities, its meaning will be understood.
Using “based” thoughtfully and appropriately is a way to spread more positivity and support online.
But as with all communication, consider your audience and think before you post.
When in doubt, a sincere comment explaining why you respect someone or something may be more meaningful than any slang term.
Why "Based" Has Developed Controversial Connotations
Why "Based" Has Developed Controversial Connotations
In recent years, the slang term "based" has taken on negative and controversial associations, often being used to signify beliefs that are deemed "politically incorrect" or offensive.
As the term has spread on social media, it has become co-opted by fringe groups promoting radical or intolerant ideas.
Originally, "based" was used as a term of praise on platforms like 4chan, Reddit, and Twitter to describe someone who expresses themselves authentically without regard for popular opinion or social conventions.
For example, a "based" tweet or opinion was one that conveyed an unconventional or nonconformist perspective.
However, the meaning of the word has shifted as it has been appropriated by extremist communities promoting racism, sexism, violence or other harmful ideologies.
Today, if someone describes an idea as "based," it often indicates beliefs that are racist, toxic, dangerous or socially regressive in nature.
The term is frequently used by groups such as white nationalists, men's rights activists and far-right provocateurs.
Within these communities, "based" is a term of endorsement for radical, intolerant or hateful speech that is seen as "politically incorrect".
Given the controversial connotations "based" has developed, many see the term itself as a dog whistle for hateful ideologies, and its spread on social media as a means of normalizing radical beliefs.
The appropriation of the word highlights how fringe groups can co-opt language and slang terms to subtly spread their message and make their ideologies seem more palatable or mainstream.
As the meaning of "based" has become more ambiguous and controversial, it is important to consider the context in which the term is used and be aware of the ideologies it may signify.
Promoting tolerance, empathy and inclusiveness is key to addressing the spread of harmful beliefs, even when they are conveyed through seemingly innocuous slang terms and internet culture.
As you can see, the word 'based' has taken on a new meaning in online culture and social media.
While its original definitions still apply, 'based' is now commonly used as a term of praise and approval, often for actions or statements that go against social norms or expectations.
The exact origins of this slang usage are unclear, but it has become popular across various online communities and platforms.
Using this new meaning of 'based' allows people to express support for ideas or behaviors that might otherwise face criticism or backlash.
However, it can also be used to positively reinforce harmful, unethical, dangerous or illegal actions.
So, while the spread of new slang terms across the Internet can be interesting to observe, it's important to consider the implications and effects, both positive and negative, of their mainstream adoption and use.