'Girl Dinner' Is the Latest Phrase Taking Over TikTok, But What Does It Mean?

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Jul. 18 2023, Updated 10:32 a.m. ET

Among the many ways it has subtly changed the world we live in, TikTok has been a key hub for the creation of new phrases. Some of those phrases read like total nonsense to people who were only trained to read English in school, but others are composed of real words that are put together in unfamiliar ways.

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The latest example of this trend is "girl dinner," a type of meal that has become incredibly popular on the platform — and across social media at large.

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What is the meaning of 'girl dinner?''

"Girl dinner" is many things. However, most iterations of "girl dinner" seen on TikTok are really just like ordering a bunch of appetizers for dinner instead of making one big thing. The trend essentially involves filling up your plate with small portions of a bunch of different snacks, and then eating all of that food instead of one larger meal. Typically, girl dinners are fairly high-brow, and involve things like bread paired with olive oil or a vinaigrette, fresh fruit, vegetables, and dips, etc.

The idea behind these meals is obviously not new, but TikTok is responsible for the name, which can be sourced back to a video posted by Olivia Maher in May of 2023 in which she showed off a "girl dinner" composed of bread, cheeses, pickles, and grapes.

“I cannot find the TikTok right now but a girl just came on here and said how in medieval times peasants had to eat nothing but bread and cheese and how awful that was, and she was like, ‘That’s my ideal meal,'” she said at the time.

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“This is my dinner, I call this ‘Girl dinner’ or ‘Medieval peasant dinner,'" she concluded.

Since that video was posted, the trend has taken off, so much so that it even earned a write-up in The New York Times.

The videos involved in this trend come in a variety of forms, with some users carefully building their dinners and presenting them in clever ways, while others make light of the trend by making sloppy ones that show how busy they are.

Source: TikTok/@liviemaher
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'Girl dinner' is new to TikTok, but these meals are not.

In part thanks to that write up in The New York Times, the idea of "girl dinner" has circulated around the internet quite a bit in recent weeks, and many have taken the time to point out that they eat like this all the time. They may not have called the meals they were eating "girl dinners," and instead referred to them as "abendbrot" or "picky bits" or by some other name. What's clear though, is that the meal itself isn't new.

Even so, it's hard to deny that the name resonated with many women who see this meal as reserved for a specific situation. As Olivia told The Times, “I think the concept of girl dinner came to me while I was on a hot girl walk with another female friend of mine.”

“We love eating that way, and it feels like such a girl dinner because we do it when our boyfriends aren’t around and we don’t have to have what’s a ‘typical dinner’ – essentially, with a protein and a veggie and a starch.”

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