Before we learn the definition of "snatched" and explain what the slang means (and where it came from), we must first explain its predescesor "on fleek".
The first time a teenager told me my eyebrows were "on fleek" I experienced a reaction like nothing I had known before. it was a sensation not unlike I imagine one feels upon arriving at the gates of heaven and being told that yes, you may enter paradise, and yes, that is Tom Hardy standing over there shirtless, waiting to slather you with oils and festoon you with puppies.
For those of you living under a rock and therefore feeling somewhat confused, "on fleek" is defined by Merriam-Webster as originating "in a Vine video on June 21, 2014... [that] was originally (and still is most commonly) applied to perfectly-groomed eyebrows, but [which] has been used to describe everything from hash browns to skateboards."
Here is the original Vine in which "on fleek" made its grand entrance into popular culture.
The reason for my somewhat overwhelming feelings of joy and awe in this instance was that, for one thing, this meant that after years of careful practice and far too much research, I had, indeed, cultivated the perfect eyebrow grooming technique. Thank you, the Internet! And for another, this meant that I had done my eyebrows so well that this cool kid — a cashier at a Sephora none the less! — found my eyebrows so hip and youthful that not only did they merit a compliment, but they merited a compliment delivered in hip-cool-raised-on-the-Internet-young-person speak.
No. I am still not over it. Obvs.
But it was different the first time someone told me that my hair looked "snatched."
Previously being familiar with this word only as the past tense of a verb meaning "to take or grasp abruptly or hastily," and also having watched more than my fair share of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, I assumed this person must be trying to tell me that my hair looked bad, as though I had snatched a wig off of another woman (à la Sheree Whitfield) and was now trying to pass it off as my own.
It was only this person's enthusiastic delivery that made me pause to consider that, perhaps, she might be giving me a compliment... And as it turns out, she was!
Because "snatched" is the slang replacement of choice for people who'd already stopped saying "on fleek" before it was even cool.
According to slang bible Urban Dictionary, snatched is "a popular term in the gay community referring to good looks, fierceness, or something good."
It should be known that the use of this word in this way has been happening in the world of drag forever. In fact, I wasn't far off when I thought it had something to do with wig snatching. In the drag world, in addition to meaning "hot as hell", snatched can also be applied to someone who is being particularly sassy and clever. As in, "You are so on fire with your sick, sick burns that your wig snatched!" (off your head by the subject of the aforementioned burn).
There's another meaning too, one that seems to be gaining popularly at a rapid clip. Snatched can mean that you are SO FREAKING PUMPED about something that you snatched your own wig right off of your own head!
I think it's awesome that the English language is so friggin' alive and dynamic. That said, I also think it would behoove us all to know more about the origins of the slang we use in our everyday lives. So many of the most brilliantly kinetic, zany and catchy words we adore come from marginalized populations like the gay and black communities who traditionally don't receive proper credit for their innovations.
Sure, you can't change the world by explaining what you mean when you tell everyone your friend Kim is snatched when she's drunk, but when you do tell folks where words like this come from, you set a positive example and open the space for a larger conversation with the people around you who are willing to listen.
In the meantime, if you're a millennial (or just want to be as cool as one) here are 15 memes to help you better understand what snatched means and how to use it correctly.
1. If anyone snatches as many wigs as she causes to be snatched, it's Babs.
"me listening to barbra streisand sing evergreen. Wig snatched for the gawds."
2. Get ready to feel the burn snatch you...
"I'm gonna snatch you bald headed."
3. Ariana Grande snatches so hard her fans believe she can do no wrong.
"arianators are at that level of fangirling where if ariana robbed a bank they'd still be like 'look how cute ari looks with that gun! that outfit snatched my weave."
"Bless all the weaves she snatched."
5. To be snatched or to do the snatching, that is the question.
6. Snatched AF.
"Your makeup is just..."
7. This is one snatched meme.
"Click That! She's SNATCHED."
8. RuPaul is so snatched that RuPaul's Drag Race even features a segment called "Snatch Game"!
9. Whatever you do, don't just be snatched... be SO snatched.
10. YAS, QUEEN YAS!
"The look on your former fake a** supervisor's face when you are snatched and she's not — priceless."
11. Preach it, Regina.
"Darling, it's snatched. Fleek is not going to happen."
12. Getting all the clicks with that high bun.
"Look at that snatched waist and sock bun. She'd do numbers on Instagram."
13. Those lashes aren't just on fleek!
"Look at these lashes b*tch im snatched i might just have to start wearin some damn."
14. Chanel was so talented she snatched 'em.
"AMIGAS CHEETAHS (Chanel's intro snatched me so bald when I was like 7 omgfgosh)"
15. And the queen of the word... natch.
"Omg she was snatching weaves left and right last night in Tampa!"
Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the sex, love, and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:20 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.