What Does Based Mean? The Origins & How to Use it Today

Key Takeaway
  • Based means when someone does something original or out of societal norms; it's an expression of confidence.
  • Based can be seen as the opposite of cringe. When someone is based or does something based, it's a positive.
  • The word Based originates from the 1980s where drug-addicts were called baseheads. Later, rapper Lil B popularized it with his song called "Based Boy" in 2007.

Every generation has its own way of talking and with GEN Z, there’s always some new phrase blowing up on social media. One such term in recent memory is “Based.”

In short, the term based means not caring about what others think and simply being true to yourself. Over the years, the term has had a massive incline in popularity due to the meme culture. But it doesn’t stop there as based slowly made its way into the Urban Dictionary as a common slang.

From 4chan posts to Reddit’s political discussions, can “based” be used in any context? That is why in this article, we will explore what does based mean and whether you can use it with your kids to sound cool. Let’s jump in!

Confused Linus asking what is based

What does “Based” mean?

In today’s pop culture, the term “based” means to be original and confident. It’s usually referred to as someone who is unbothered about what others think of them and isn’t afraid of following their hearts.

Based might also refer to someone going out of their way to oppose social norms and do something that goes against what’s commonly accepted.

The Origin and Development of Based

Based didn’t always have such a positive connotation. In fact, in the 1980s, based was used to describe someone who is either a drug addict or acts like one. Words like Dopeheads or Baseheads went hand in hand and were used to make fun of those deemed as based.

But as time passed, the meaning also started to go through several phases. And the most popular of those phases was introduced by Lil B.

1. Lil B’s Influence on Based

West Coast rapper, Lil B, was among the first few who gave based the positive meaning we have today. In 2007 Lil B and his band, The Pack, got together and released their debut album called Based Boy. The album heavily focused on the word based and how the rapper molded it into his personal possession.

Lil B’s song “Based” lyrics | Genius

However, Lil B didn’t magically decide to flip the word around. He had to go through a pile of negativity to finally own the term based. In an interview with Complex, Lil B was asked about the idea behind the phrase, here’s what he said:

When I was younger, based was a negative term that meant like dopehead, or basehead,” People used to make fun of me. They was like, ‘You’re based.’ They’d use it as a negative. And what I did was turn that negative into a positive. I started embracing it like, ‘Yeah, I’m based.’ I made it mine.

Lil B

Due to such a major influence on the term, Lil B titled himself “The Based God.” and his fanbase created TYBG or “Thank You Based God” to show their love for the rapper.

2. The Political Aspect

In addition to this, based is often seen as a short response to agreeing to a specific side of a political discussion. This implies, that someone who is described as based may have an opinion different from what the mainstream popularized.

In this sense, being based is all about having the courage to express opinions that might stand out from the crowd, but you aren’t afraid to express them. Such as supporting controversial political opinions or figures, etc.

Read More: What Does LFG Mean? Here’s How to Use it Properly Online

Applications of Based

The true meaning of based can’t be defined by a single definition, unlike other internet slang like “simp” or “sigma.” Hence, now that you understand what does based mean, it’s time to use it according to the context without people thinking you have been living under a rock.

“Based” Can Be Used to Show Admiration

In its most basic form, based can be used to show admiration or respect for someone being brave and true to themselves. Here are some examples:

  • “That new album by the artist is pure fire! They’re so based!”
  • “I can’t get enough of this YouTuber’s content. They’re so based in their approach to sharing knowledge.”
  • “You just won the tournament despite being the underdog? That’s Based AF.”

“Based” Can Be Used as an Antonym of Cringe

Another method to use based is to use it as the opposite of cringe. Here’s a meme to give an idea of how that works:

Based used as the opposite of cringe | imgflip

“Based” Can Be Used to Agree

In most cases based can be used in the sense of affirmation or agreement with someone. Let’s look at some examples:

  • “I couldn’t agree more. Your perspective on that issue is totally based.”
  • “You believe in equality and social justice? That’s a based stance”

How to Use Based in Conversations

Several variations of the term based can often confuse people when using it. However, making based a part of your everyday conversations ultimately comes down to the context.

This means that if you are in the middle of a conversation revolving around appreciating or supporting someone’s courage you can simply use based to convey your meaning. Additionally, if you want to agree with something but don’t want to write a whole paragraph you can just say based.

Using based to agree with someone

Apart from these, there are many ways you can use based in your everyday life whether that’s through memes or music. So explore the trend on your own a bit and don’t worry if doesn’t go right who cares about what others think? Instead, be based.

Every trend has its moment of glory. For quite a while based had the internet spotlight on it. People not only used it as a meme term but also as a way of hyping their favourite creators.

This ultimately led to the trend being the only thing searched on TikTok. If you look up #based on TikTok, the hashtag for it has almost 9.5 billion views with creators using them to relate to the idea of being brave.

Popularity of based on TikTok

However, as with everything on the internet, based also started to be the talk of the town. People started going towards some other new thing and based just lost its spotlight. Nevertheless, some have made based a part of them and still use it today.


The internet is a pretty strange place, especially in today’s time. It’s like every time you open your phone there’s something new and confusing waiting for you. And based was and still is one of those terms that seem quite confusing to wrap your head around.

We hope this article has helped you understand the meaning of based and how the word started its negative journey to slowly become the positive and accepted slang today.


What’s the differecne between based and unbased?

”Based” typically refers to someone who isn’t influenced by ideals set by others and follows their own path. On the other hand “Unbased” reverses that definition and is used to describe someone heavily influenced by what others think or do.

What is the meaning of having a “based opinion”?

Having a “based opinion” means expressing your true thoughts and feelings without worrying about what others might think. It’s often used to describe someone who isn’t afraid to go against popular beliefs and speak their mind.

What does “based af” mean?

”Based af” means someone is very true to themselves and doesn’t care what others think. The “af” is short for “as f***.”


Huzaifa Haroon

Born and raised around computers, Huzaifa is an avid gamer and a keyboard enthusiast. When he's not solving the mysteries of technology, you can find him scrutinizing writers, striving to inform the curious.