TikTokers Are Stealing From Their Schools in a New Trend

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Sep. 10 2021, Published 12:23 p.m. ET

When it comes to TikTok trends, it seems like anyone could become famous from one video. Even though trends can quickly come and go, all it takes is one post to get enough traction to gain a ton of followers. And since the trends don't last long, another one is always just around the corner to get millions of views.

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This latest TikTok trend is all about a "lick," but what does that even mean? The term has actually been around for a while and it may be older than the app itself. Here's what we know about it and how it got so popular.

What does "lick" mean on TikTok?

When you say you got a "lick" on TikTok, it means you stole something. According to Know Your Meme, it all began in September 2021 when the user @dtx.2cent posted a video that started the trend. With text over the screen that says "only a month into school and got this absolute devious lick," the user pulls a hand sanitizer dispenser out of their backpack.

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@dtx.2cent's TikTok now has over 11 million views and tons of people have already re-created the video. People are stealing things from their campuses like microscopes, signs, a box of hand sanitizer, and more, all to the same audio by a user named @minttea. @dtx.2cent has continued to take other things like a soap dispenser, a temperature gun, and more.

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But another popular "lick" video takes it to a whole other level. TikTok user @support.audible.com said they saw Shang-Chi and took a part of the movie theater's wall home with them. Know Your Meme says this video got 260,000 views in one day, and it now has over 408,000 views.

What actually is a "lick"?

Actually, "lick" has been used in this way previously. It's been slang for years now to say that if you "caught a lick" you stole something successfully. Cardi B even has a song called "Lick" with her now-husband Offset from back in 2017 about this exact thing.

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In some cases, a "lick" isn't exactly a robbery. It's more of a situation in which someone comes into a lot of money at one time. Cardi's video spans both meanings of the word. While she does sing about making lots of money and being able to afford whatever she wants, the concept of the music video is about robbing a casino.

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There are also similar-sounding phrases like "hit a lick," which Grammarphobia defines via Green’s Dictionary of Slang as "to make an effort" but often used in negative ways "implying laziness ... e.g., 'He hasn't hit a lick all week.'"

In the case of Cardi or this TikTok trend, to say you "caught a lick" fits better.

Also, saying you "caught a lick" only works if you don't get caught. If you try and steal something and someone actually catches you in the act, it's not a lick. You just got caught. This also seems to be the case if someone catches you after the fact.

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