Delulu: The Gen Z slang term for delusional explained

By Charlie Sawyer

Updated Jun 2, 2024 at 11:32 AM

Reading time: 4 minutes

If you’re someone who spends a lot of time on the internet, you’ve likely at some point come across the term “delulu.” As we all know, Gen Z has a very specific dictionary when it comes to everyday language and, for the most part, new vocabulary is wholeheartedly geared towards creating contemporary ways to articulate moments of internal turmoil and introspection. From FOBO to girl ethics, Gen Zers are always finding words with which to express themselves.

So, what does delulu mean? And how are Gen Z using it as a way to navigate life?

What does delulu mean?

Delulu, in its most straightforward form, relates to the concept of “delusion” and promotes a “delusional lifestyle.” Being delulu is all about your state of mind, it’s about swanning through life with completely unrealistic expectations about how your day and/or future might turn out.

Another common phrase is “being delulu is the solulu,” which can roughly be translated to “being delusional is the solution.” When in doubt, embrace the silliness and ridiculousness of endless possibilities.

@rimasrules

“acting as if” finally makes sense… lmk your thoughts 🤍 #manifestingtips #howtomanifest #manifestationquotes #manifestinglove #manifestingtok #delulugirl #deluluisthesolulu #delusional4eva #visionboard2023 #lawofattractiontips #lawofassumption #actingasif

♬ original sound - rimasrules

The concept of being delulu also has a lot to do with other TikTok trends such as lucky girl syndrome and being toxically positive. While being delulu is slightly less intense, it does encourage participants to manifest unrealistic expectations. It’s a light-hearted term, not that that stops Gen Z from bringing it up in the most inappropriate circumstances.

What is a delulu girl?

A delulu girl is someone who goes through life potentially lying to herself in order to try and avoid any disappointment or upset. Are you wanting your boyfriend to act a certain way? Delulu. Are you trying to manifest that your manager will grant you endless mental health days? Again, delulu.

@milfinnn

#sisterhoodofthetravelingpants #blakelively #movieclips #delulugirl #delulu #fyp #trending #clips

♬ original sound - FLO.MILISHXT

Some Gen Zers consider delulu to be a negative and toxic mindset. Let me just say that I wholeheartedly disagree. We’re currently in the midst of a raging cost of living crisis and we’re also witnessing an incredibly harrowing global warming crisis—if we want to be a bit delulu, so be it.

@iwantacinnamonroll

she’s definitely not toxic

♬ My Love Mine All Mine - Mitski
@mamaa.arii

GRWM to go see my bookie🥰 #grwm #influencer #delulu #influencersbelike #makeup #makeuptutorial #clown #clownmakeup #comedy #viral #trending #xyzbca #pov #skit #satire #fyp #foryou #justforfun #boyfriend

♬ original sound - ARI 🧜🏾‍♀️

It should also be noted that delulu is more commonly used in the context of romance. There are a lot of girls out there feeling delulu over that one boy who refuses to text them back.

Where does delulu come from?

Delusion, of course, has been around for decades. Delulu—which has now amassed over five billion views on TikTok—originated in the Kpop community. It was originally a term used to mock other fans’ beliefs.

According to Know Your Meme, the earliest available usage of the slang “delulu” appeared on the Kpop forum OneHallyu in April 2014, after one user responded to a post about relationship rumours between two Kpop stars by saying: “they’re cute and both are hot af lmao, but their shippers are pretty much delulu.”

For the next few years after this, delulu was used exclusively in relation to fan theories, romantic pairings, and wild theories all related to K-pop performers. It wasn’t until 2021 that the term began popping up on TikTok as a way for Gen Z to describe their own personal romantic situations.

K-pop

In the K-pop universe, delulu has been around for a long time. As previously mentioned, delulu has long been used in the K-pop world to make fun of certain fans’ obsessions over artists or potential romantic connections:

Fandom culture when it comes to K-pop stars is incredibly intense at times. For example, fans of the K-pop boyband BTS are notoriously loyal and devoted to their idols, even describing themselves as the BTS Army.

Tube Girl

Being perpetually delulu is a state of mind, and if there’s one girl who successfully embodies delulu, it’s Tube Girl. Sabrina Bahsoon, aka Tube Girl, went viral in September 2023 for her iconic videos on London’s underground.

@sabrinabahsoon

Like sirrrr why would i chase you 🤣 #tubegirl #greedy

♬ greedy sped up - Tate McRae
@sabrinabahsoon

Personally i think I’m slaying and trusssttt nobody cares #tubegirl shoutout to all the people who say hi while i made the videos - you make my day 🥰 #tubegirleffect

♬ sexy ass cars - frʌns

SCREENSHOT was lucky enough to get to sit down with Bahsoon and grill her on Tube Girl’s essentials—and a lot of them were hella delulu. For example, you might be wondering what Bahsoon’s girl anthem is. Naturally, it’s ‘The Way I Are’ by Timbaland—such a slay.

Speaking about her confidence when it comes to filming in public, Bahsoon revealed: “If you’re going to enjoy yourself more doing that, then I shouldn’t stop restricting myself from just having fun or living my true self. And I think that I’ve always wanted to branch out into a more creative industry, I love music and I love fashion. So, in that sense, I thought ‘Okay, if I want to do this for real I have to stop getting in my own way and I have to just put myself out there because you’ve got to be comfortable with being seen if you want to be seen in these places’.”

While confidence isn’t a direct translation for delulu, it sure is a part of the entire vibe.

Is delulu the solulu? Delulu and confidence

Gen Zers are often accused of being the “snowflake generation” and complaining too often about the realities of life. Despite valid concerns, we’re constantly accused of either moaning too much about working hours and boundaries or selfishly protesting over the impossible rental market and overall financial landscape.

And as the generational divide grows larger, it’s become more and more obvious that Gen Z simply approaches the challenges of life much differently from previous generations. For us, it’s all about that “fake it till you make it” attitude.

If you embrace being delulu and emulate a level of confidence so extreme it takes people by surprise, eventually, you will actually become authentically confident in yourself. As I’ve previously mentioned, life is tough, and Gen Z have decided to simply deceive themselves into believing that everything will simply work out the way it’s supposed to. Being delulu is simply our version of “ignorance is bliss.”

Delulu TikTok trends

Delulu was massive on TikTok in 2023 and so, as you can imagine, there are tons of videos on the platform dedicated to all things delulu. One of my favourites has to be the “POV, you’re delulu:”

@katieritchiie

Coming from ex delulu girls

♬ original sound - Katie
@lisabeverlyy

this is me i am delulu #relatable #delulu

♬ original sound - lisa beverly
@cringecarter

What would i do without my voice of reason🥰🫶 #friendgoals #delulu #pov

♬ original sound - Carter Kench

For all of your Gen Z vocab and internet culture needs, make sure to check out our Gen Z News hub and specific TikTok trends breakdown.

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