Connie Eble writes in UNC-CH Campus Slang 2016 on the word snatched:

looking attractive:

That outfit is snatched

This is the earliest and only record Green's Dictionary of Slang lists as a citation in defining the term.

Twitter shows some variations where snatched refers not to the thing that is attractive, but to the person being captivated by the attractive nature:

[The TV show] stranger things has me snatched

I'm waiting for Audrey to post some pics of her slaying in New York I'm ready to be SNATCHED

Still others on Twitter use the term as defined by Eble and Green, to refer to something as being attractive, and others further used the term in ways I couldn't even decipher.

So I'm curious if anyone can piece together an origin for the slang term "snatched" meaning "attractive." I can imagine a couple of possibilities, the first being my hypothesis based on the Twitter specimens.

  • Originated meaning the attractive entity has snatched me up, to the attractive entity has me snatched, and transferred the term from the object to the subject, as in the attractive entity is snatched.

  • Simply refers to the desirability of something, that it either was or will potentially be snatched up.

Or perhaps there is some other derivation that hasn't occurred to me at this point.

Could this Twitter User, in referring to an image widely described as snatched, be alluding to another origin of the term?

Y’all see his build? Y’all see the abs? Y’all see the waist snatched from God himself? The Balenciaga? This is a win tonight folks.

This offers a third theory: That the attractive "snatched" entity was taken from some supernatural power. I haven't found evidence for this theory beyond variants of the phrase that happen to fit this form.

Can further investigation shed any light on the origin of this slang term?

1 Answer 1


The current sense of “attractive” appears to have been in place for a while according to the following source:

The Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms (2.000) defines the expression snatching as:

an old term meaning “charming, fetching”

  • that’s a snatching dress you are wearing

The usage you are referring to was probably popularized by the drag world with the sense of “wig snatching:”

According to slang bible Urban Dictionary, snatched is "a popular term in the gay community referring to good looks, fierceness, or something good."

It should be known that the use of this word in this way has been happening in the world of drag forever. In fact, I wasn't far off when I thought it had something to do with wig snatching. In the drag world, in addition to meaning "hot as hell", snatched can also be applied to someone who is being particularly sassy and clever. As in, "You are so on fire with your sick, sick burns that your wig snatched!" (off your head by the subject of the aforementioned burn).


The following extract discusses the possible origin of snatched suggesting the “wig snatching”theory as a vialble one:

Understanding Snatched has an added difficulty we’ve not yet seen until now. How does a past participle act as an adjective?

We were under the impression that the only major derivation from snatch, semantically speaking, was that it had become one of a thousand alternatives to vagina. We were so wrong.

While it is now broadly used in the same way Fleek is, Snatched does in fact have an origin of sorts, similar in a way to Fleek – eyebrows spawned fleek, wigs gave birth to snatched. Seriously?

How did it come to pass that wigs could be described as snatched? Snatched from what? Snatched by whom? This phenomenon is arguably WOTW’s biggest challenge to date. The wig and weave is the physical embodiment of celebrity at its finest. You name them, they’ve probably rocked a wig at some time – Lady Gaga, Nicky Minaj, Rihanna, Rita Ora, Ariana Grande, Katy Perryand and last but certainly not least, various members of the Kardashian / Jenner family – they’ve all worn wigs. This in itself is in no way a bad thing, we couldn’t criticise anyone for making the decision to wear a wig - it’s a free country after all. It’s the grotesque adjective / past participle hybrid accompanying it that is baffling.


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