Defining Woke: How Society Ruined My Favorite Slang Word

Matthew Suchan
3 min readMar 23, 2023

Woke = Aware of… That’s it. If you just want the definition, you can stop reading now. It means “aware of.”

If you want to hear me rant and let out all my frustrations about this word, please continue reading. And for those that are looking for its use in politics, you can jump to the end. Thank you.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

“Aware of” is thee exact slang definition for the word “woke.” If you are saying it in any context that it cannot simply be swapped out for the words “aware of,” then you are wrong and should quit your tomfoolery. Seriously, stop saying it.

I first felt compelled to write this after hearing the stupidest statement ever made by a US politician, which was:

Florida is where ‘woke’ goes to die!

I literally felt sick to my stomach, but I held off. But then, then just a few days ago, this happened… “What is woke?”

So let’s clarify two things here:

  1. “Woke” is NOT an agenda. It’s not an -ism, or an ideology, or anything other than a word replacing “aware of.” AND it must be in a specific context.
  2. The only time in which saying woke makes sense, is when it’s in a call-and-response context with the slang meaning of the word sleeping/asleep.

So right away if you’re trying to correctly use the word “woke” and you don’t know what is meant by “being asleep/sleeping on,” then please, sit down.

Here is the perfect example of the correct usage of being woke (aware of).

If you’ve ever been in a fantasy football draft and have picked an unknown player that you just knew had great potential and people were just underestimating him, you would call that player what?… your “sleeper pick.” He’s not well known, he’s under the radar, but YOU are “aware of” his great potential. People are “sleeping on (not aware of)” his greatness. Congratulations, you are woke.

[Sleep = unaware of / woke = aware of]

So whenever someone says a policy is too “woke,” or talks about a “woke culture,” you’re literally talking about people who are just aware of things. Anything.

Moreover, if you’ve never told a friend to quit trying to flex, or stop frontin’, or called someone savage, you have no business using the word woke. And I’m sorry, but if your 60yr old uncle bobby isn’t going around calling cap on people, then he shouldn’t be shouting about “wokeness” either.

You know what, here’s a list of people who should never say “woke” again:

  1. If “no cap” means your water bottle lost its lid.
  2. If “slaps” is something you do with your hands.
  3. If “shade” is something that covers you from the sun.
  4. If “receipts” are pieces of paper.
  5. If you’re literally ANY politician.

… then do NOT say “woke.”

Woke in Politics

Just stop it. For real. You’re using it wrong and there are very clearly defined words that make actual sense to what you think you’re calling “woke.” How about trying out these words: progressive, liberal, democratic, etc. You know, words that make logical sense for what is being talked about.

The reason asking someone to define woke seems like a “gotcha” moment, is because it is. You’ve been fed one of my favorite slang words, that is actually still used today, and have spun it into a loosely put together idea of a bunch of stuff you don’t like or agree with.

So lastly, unless you’ve genuinely told your friend they’re a savage, then do as Will Smith says and, “Keep the word woke, out of your mouth!”

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