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What does the slang word 'mid' really mean?

Graphic with the word MID
Believe it or not, the slang word “mid” is older than modern English.TODAY Illustration
/ Source: TODAY

"Mid" is a slang word for anything that's ... blah. Meh. Eh.

According to, a company that decodes teen slang, "mid" is "a term used to describe something that is average, not particularly special, 'middle of the road.'"

Urban Dictionary states that “mid” is: "Used to insult or degrade an opposing opinion, labeling it as average or poor quality.”

What does 'mid' mean?

Think: a lukewarm bowl of mac-and-cheese or a three-star hotel, says Kelly Elizabeth Wright, a postdoctoral research fellow in language sciences at Virginia Tech.

For example:

  • “How was that new boba place?” “It tasted mid.”
  • “What do you think of my outfit? “It’s mid.”
  • “Did you like the movie?” “It’s a mid sequel.”

“Mid is a fun word that I find indicative of the ways in which the newer generations are using language, particularly how younger users find ways to downgrade less-than-pleasant experiences," Wright tells "(Previous) generations ... which have been prone to hyperbole, might have called such places and experiences 'wretched' or 'heinous,' making contemporary applications of 'mid' feel like a rather self-aware alternative."

According to Wright, "mid" is older than modern English.

"It's been part of the language since before 1150 and means ‘occupying a central, medial, or intermediate position,' according to the Oxford English Dictionary," she says. "We are seeing it grow in usage, both in terms of an increasing number of people using the term descriptively and that number of people including users from diverse backgrounds."

As guest writer Ayesha M. Malik wrote in “Among the New Words,” a journal published by “American Speech”:

“It can also be used very neutrally to mean something is not worthy of substantive remark, capturing perfectly Gen Z’s blasé attitudes about most things, as in ‘I have no feelings one way or the other. It is the middest of mid,’ It’s all somewhere near the middle — the spin is up to the speaker.”

Where did 'mid' come from?

According to Malik, "mid" was used by people in cannabis culture.

"Meaning weed that’s not quite top shelf, but not bottom of the barrel either," she wrote. "Perfectly fine in a pinch, mid-grade weed is neutral-positive as it gets the job done for cannabis consumers who are less than discerning."

“Mid” made trouble in September 2021, when professional wrestler Maxwell Jacob Friedman used it to insult people who live in Cincinnati, Ohio, during a match.

“It’s called the Midwest because every single thing in it is mid,” he yelled, including a chili restaurant chain, the Cincinnati Reds baseball team and people who call the region home.

According to Adam Aleksic, aka, the “Etymology Nerd” as he’s known on TikTok, the word “mid" will get midder with time.

“We will almost definitely see ‘mid’ become even more negative because it’s a very frequent theme in etymology for common or average things to become bad,” Aleksic said in a TikTok video.

Aleksic pointed to the origins of words like “trivial” which once defined “commonplace” and “vulgar” meant “pertaining to the common people,” he said.