Sylvia Sierra, a linguist and assistant professor of communication and rhetorical studies at Syracuse University, told BuzzFeed News that this kind of creative “language play” is pervasive on the internet.
“Adding trendy suffixes to the ends of existing words is appealing for both content creators and audiences online,” she said. “It’s definitely a pattern we easily recognize and appreciate, which makes it easy to play around with and for people to feel like they are in on the joke.”
Though many of the suffixes that fall under this trend aren’t brand new, they’ve never been used like this before. Much of the joy in suffix-ify-ing a word now comes from the absurdity of smashing two words together that never would have met in organic conversation.
That’s a welcome respite from the issues of appropriation and plagiarism that frequently sour TikTok’s ecosystem.
In pursuit of virality, TikTok encourages imitation. Though a meme in its most basic form is just an internet inside joke remixed over and over again until it’s unbearable, taking someone else’s idea and repackaging it to your taste is especially encouraged on TikTok. Copy someone’s video format, use their sound, or mimic their dance moves and you might be rewarded with likes and views.