Has anyone done you the honor of calling you OG? It is a sign of respect. We’ll explain what an OG is and how to use this slang term to refer to someone you admire.
Taken literally, OG means “original gangster.” If that doesn’t seem to match the places you’ve seen this acronym, don’t worry. While the literal definition may seem different, the abbreviation “OG” has taken on a life of its own in recent decades, from its origins in the 1970s to today on the internet. You can write it in both uppercase “OG” and lowercase “og”.
While its definition has changed slightly over the years, at its core, calling someone an OG is an expression of deep respect or admiration for someone. It can refer to someone who is a pioneer or innovator, such as an artist who popularized a musical trend or fashion style. This is as close to the initial definition of the term as being “original” or “first” at something.
OG can also mean “exceptional” or the best in a particular field. In this use case, OG stands for GOAT or “the greatest of all time.” One could say “Tiger Woods is an OG” to refer to his excellence in the field of Golf for example. You can also use OG to refer to friends or personal relationships, particularly people who have stayed true to you over a long period of time. For example, you would call friends who have been by your side since childhood OG.
The history of OG and the original gangsters
OG and “original gangster” come from the African American Vernacular English or AAVE. The phrase was coined in the 1970s by the Crips gang based in Los Angeles, whose members identified themselves as the OGs, or the first gangsters to emerge. Later, they would use this term to refer to people who have been deeply committed to the gang for a long time. The younger members often called the older members OG.
The term entered mainstream consciousness through hip-hop, which incorporated many words and ideas from gang culture. You can find it in rap lyrics from the 80s and 90s, most notably in a song by Ice-T called » OG Original Gangster “, which reached the Billboard charts.
Finally, it hit the internet. Although the first entry of Urban Dictionary is from 2004, OG became very popular in the late 2010s with the rise of platforms like Twitter and TikTok . As a result, you’ll often find memes that say things like “Only OGs will know this,” referring to an inside joke that only people with a specific set of experiences will understand.
What is an OG?
Like many terms, the exact meaning of OG can vary drastically depending on the context, especially since it has had so many definitions over the years.
The most basic way to use OG is an abbreviation for “original.” For example, you might say, “Adam West is the Batman original,” referring to the fact that he is the first to play a live-action Batman in a filmed show. This usage is widespread, so much so that you will find many people using it without really knowing what it means.
As stated above, an OG is also authentic, exceptional, or admirable. Young people often call older people, like their grandparents, OG. You’ll also see this for historical figures, artists, sports legends, and anyone worthy of admiration. So if someone refers to you as an OG, you should take it as a huge compliment.
You should also note that the letter “G” is right next to “H” and “F”, which is why OG usually autocorrects as “oh” and “of”. So if you see an “OG” that doesn’t seem to make any sense, it could be one of those other words. Alternatively, some keyboards automatically correct the lowercase letter “og” in “of” or “oh”, so be sure to check your message before sending it.
How to use OG
Using OG is quite simple. Use it to refer to people you consider to be original, authentic, or exceptional. Depending on the context, you can also call someone “my OG,” which means you have a special relationship with them.
Here are some examples of OG in action:
- “Prince was the interpreter of og.”
- “My grandfather has been through crazy things. He’s an OG.”
- “You are my OG. Through thick and thin, you’ve been there for me.”
- “Christopher Reeve is the OG Superman to me.”
Do you want to learn about other Internet acronyms? See our explanations on TBF , IRL Y WBK to further expand your online slang vocabulary.