Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on July 22, 2021

Simp is an insulting slang term for men who are overly attentive and subservient to women, usually without being in relationships with them. These men would seemingly do anything to please a woman. Simp can also be used as a verb describing the behavior of these men.

Many who use the term simp believe the men they insult are attentive to women because they hope to have sex. However, it can also insult men seen as “feminine” because they are connected to their feelings and really care for women.

The term simp has been used for more than 100 years. It was initially just a shortening of the term simpleton. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, hip-hop lyrics called men acting subserviently towards women simps. This term hit the mainstream with the rise of the Simp Nation meme on TikTok around 2020. This internet trend saw social media users describing the behavior of subservient male millennials and welcoming them to Simp Nation. For these young people, simp is an acronym that stands for “sucker idolizing mediocre pussy” While simp is a relatively new use of the term, its meaning is already evolving. Now simp can also be used to show someone likes someone, like the slang term stan.

It’s unclear whether the historical term simp, meaning simpleton, evolved to become the current meaning of the term simp. However, they may be linked. Perhaps people believed the men they’d accuse of being simps were simpletons because they were too stupid to stand up for themselves and take a more masculine role in relationships. This brings up additional problems with ableism, as it starts with the premise that people with lower IQs are worth less than people of average intelligence.

Men are called simps because they behave in a caring way towards women, often without the benefit of a sexual relationship. For example, simps might comfort female friends when they break up with other men, buy them dinner, or compliment them. While this behavior is sweet, it usually lands the simp in the so-called “friend zone.” However, a man may be called a simp for expressing his love for his girlfriend, prioritizing time with a partner, or crying when his relationship ends.

There are several similar terms to simp, including cuck, white knight, nice guy, reply guy, and softboi.


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