Thot Topic: A New Slang Term Is Sweeping the Nation

"Thot" is the country's latest popular slang term. A look at its definition and a history of its origins.

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Image via Complex Original
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"A lot of thots/Like I'ma fuckin' scatterbrained thinker."Wale, on Lorde's "Royals (Remix)."

Wale is only the latest rapper to capitalize on a newly popular slang term: thot.

"'Thot' stands for 'That Ho Out There,'" Kiara Johnson—better known as rapper Katie Got Bandz—told Complex when asked about the definition. "So, a slut, a ho, a tramp, you know. Bust down."

So, yeah: THOT is the latest slang word for calling a woman promiscuous, the same old double standard dressed up in new—catchier—clothes.

Katie's "Riding Around and We Drillin" was one of the early songs to popularize the word "thot," and she has no regrets about the term's useage. "I like using the word 'thot.' It ain't what you say, it's how you say it."

Not everyone agrees; thot is inarguably a misogynist term, one of which Veronica Wells of is not a fan. In a piece entitled "Death to the Word 'Thot,'" she outlines her case.


Fair point. [ed. note: recently, in New York City, a Complex staffer overheard the term being used by two teenage girls to describe a male acquaintance. "He's a thotty," said one girl. "Yeah, he's a thot," said the other.]

Where did it originate? All signs point to Chicago.

Thot leader and videographer Duan Gaines, who made videos for Chief Keef ("I Don't Like") and other Chicago hip-hop artists, popularized the term on social media in 2012, and recalls transforming it into a trending topic on Twitter.

Although a pinpoint origin of the term has yet to surface, Gaines says he first heard 'thot' when he was shooting Keef's "Aimed At You," the second video he put together for the rapper. "He said, 'Show no love for a thot...' I said, what the hell is a thot? I used to go around the GBE members, they used to say 'thot' and 'thoinks'—thoinks is marijuana. The word was just catchy, 'THOT.' So I started using it."

That quick catchiness, combined with the natural American thirst for all things nasty and insulting, explains its national spread. Other Chicago slang terms haven't found the same traction. ("We droppin' thots if they opps, piid," raps Katie on "Ridin Around and We Drillin"—translated outside Chicago, that means "we're shooting hoes if they're with the opposition, period.")

"Thot"'s success is partly due to its deviously viral-friendly qualities; there is a veritable thot catalog of memes popularized on Instagram. It's spread easily through social media, with running hashtags like "#YouKnowYouAThot." And it's promulgated through hip-hop easily, because rappers are often looking for a fresh cliche to run into the ground. (See also: "getting brain" punchlines.)

And the rest? Well, some like it thot. (I'm so sorry.) Frankly, the word is very pun-friendly.

Here are the top 20 "thot" puns, as determined by science and God.

Thot pocket
Thottin on the low/Schemin on the low
Penny for your thot
What the blood thot?
The thot thickens
Thot wheels
Stop/Drop/Shut 'em down, open up thot.
"The Block is Thot" (by the Thot Boyz)
Tater thots
Thot police
Thot sauce
Two thots and a cot
Thot town, summer in the city
Thot control
Black thot
Thot Fuzz
Wet Thot American Summer
Thot Shots! Part Deux
Thot Tub Time Machine

Thot's amore

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