Heather – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Do you need a specific term that refers to a women’s women – or a word for the kind of women that many other women look up to in terms of her appearance, behavior, or style?

You could use the term ‘Heather’ to let everyone know whom you mean. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this internet term.

Meaning

The term ‘Heather’ is a type of proper noun and internet-based reference that is used to refer to specific girls or women that share ideal traits that others (especially other women) could consider worth admiring.

A ‘Heather’ is similar to the 1990s colloquial idea of the popular or ‘it girl’ who commands everyone’s attention, or stands out due to her stunning characteristics or morale.

When someone is called a ‘Heather’, then it is generally meant as a compliment or positive attribute.

The use of calling women ‘Heather’ or ‘Heathers’ as a compliment is most common on social media sites, and less common in mainstream media – although this might change as the use becomes more widespread.

Alternatively, the word ‘Heather’ can also be used to refer to someone as an insult or derogatory term but only if the rest of the statement is negative and insulting. Most often, negative usage of the term ‘Heather’ is not common.

Example Usage

“Did you see how badly Serena Williams played at the last tennis tournament? Some of the newspapers called it an embarrassment in their headlines. She certainly was no Heather!”

“We all need a friend like that, someone who we can look up to. She was a real Heather!”

“Every grandmother is a Heather deep down, you just have to sit them down and ask them some of the right questions about the wild stuff they did in their twenties.”

“If you have a friend that’s a Heather, then you know you’re going to get through the rest of your life okay.”

Origin

The term ‘Heather’ as a reference for admirable women first started on the popular social media website TikTok, although it has since spread to most other social media profiles that include Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

The origin story for the reference ‘Heather’ begins with an eponymous song by singer-songwriter Conan Gray. The song describes a girl named Heather, and then goes on to list some of the qualities that he associates with her.

The song ‘Heather’ was first released in 2020, and the popular common use of the name ‘Heather’ began shortly after this through social media platforms like TikTok.

It follows a popular trend of associations and names, usually drawn from popular songs of the time. Almost every time has similar names, and the popularity of a name almost always spikes when there is a song by that name in the charts.

The use of ‘Heather’ has spread further and given rise to what’s called the ‘Heather challenge’ where several streamers are recorded lip-syncing to a song.

Phrases Similar to Heather

  • Olivia
  • It Girl
  • Popular

Phrases Opposite to Heather

  • Jezebel
  • Karen
  • Delilah

What is the Correct Saying?

  • A Heather

Ways People May Say Heather Incorrectly

Incorrect ways to use the term ‘Heather’ would be to confuse its meaning with something else, or to think that it is always used in a sarcastic or negative sense like the more common negative ‘Karen’ stereotype.

Most commonly, ‘Heather’ is used as a positive term that means good qualities.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Heather

The word ‘Heather’ is used in the same way as the phrase ‘it girl’ would have been used in the 1990s and early 2000s. If someone is a ‘Heather’, then they possess specific good qualities that other women can look up or aspire to.

It is less common for the term ‘Heather’ to be used negatively, although if the rest of the sentence, status or statement is negative then this can be acceptable use of the term ‘Heather’ too.

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