The 'Dupe' trend on TikTok explained

Back in the mid-2000s, if something wasn't brand-name, it was labeled a knockoff. Owning a pair of faux Uggs or a knock-off North Face jacket was basically a red letter in high school, but not anymore, because people are finally realizing that not everything needs to come with a ridiculous price tag to look cute. But instead of calling these cheaper versions knockoffs, TikTokers call these discounted products "dupes," short for "duplicates." In true TikTok fashion, the term has become so popular that users are now calling everything they see a scam, from loungewear to treatments.

According to Know Your Meme, long before you heard it on the Five Year Plan, people on the Internet were describing these things as "scams." YouTube beauty bloggers often use the term when reviewing cheaper versions of expensive cosmetics, so it makes sense why people are using the expression on TikTok all these years later to talk about affordable alternatives to corsetry and skincare. Although the word "dupe" has a long history on the internet, it has now become a staple in the TikTok lexicon, all because users have turned the slang term into a full-fledged meme.

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After the term unofficially took over the timeline around 2022, people started mocking creators for using the phrase to describe everything under the sun, calling products "dupes"—and I mean everything . According to Know Your Meme, one of the first cheating parody videos to go viral on the platform was posted by @keylimeleah on December 15, 2022, in which users and their friends cheated by calling various content found at Target “cheating.” Make fun of deceptive content" for brands like Lululemon, Skims, Hoka and Beis. At the end of the video, the creator refers to a pre-made salad as "Target's Sweet Green Dessert" and even refers to a pack of Nicorettes as a "cigarette dessert" , thus clarifying his point of view.

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This has sparked a trend of creators seeking out their own "hustlers" in the store, and the content is just as interesting as it sounds. TikTok user @theblackoncrack and their friends renamed a bunch of everyday items as brand-name crooks in this February 5 video, including a rug (which they called the " Aladdin crook") and a glass (appropriately named "Starbucks Hustler") - and nearly got kicked out of the store in the process.

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The way the word is pronounced has become a joke in itself, with people overpronounce it and it sounds like "doop" instead of "dupe." One of the most extreme examples can be seen in this video from @sexxxcbishhh, whose pronunciation was so exaggerated that others in the store couldn't help but stare.

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Now that the word has spread across the platform and beyond, it's hard not to view everything in life as a scam for something else. This video from @actressbecc perfectly sums up the shopping experience in the post-deception world – once you hear something called cheating, you can’t unsee it.

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As of April 21, the #dupe hashtag had more than 3.7 billion views on TikTok, and at this point there are probably as many parody videos under the hashtag as actual recommendations. TikToker and baker @thejonnycakes has put his own sweet spin on the meme by creating cake replicas of famous items like a pair of Crocs shoes and a Himalayan salt lamp. If this is the only way to get the Mona Lisa, so be it.

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You might even have heard the term in a viral voice by @zoes_reads, in which the creator described novels like Sally Rooney's Normal People and Raven Leilani's Luster as "therapeutic charlatans." As of April 21, the voice has been used in more than 50,400 TikToks, so clearly there are more therapy scams out there than just books.

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The trend has even spread to creators recreating meals from their favorite restaurants at home and calling them dupes, like this Domino's Philly Cheesesteak-loaded kiddie dupe recipe from @momlifewithlaura.

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Whether you're actually in the market for cheat recommendations or you're just looking for a good laugh, there are a lot of cheat trends on TikTok. Chances are this trend isn't going away anytime soon, so you might as well put on your favorite Skims robe and peruse the hashtags for some good advice and even better laughs.