We’ll be the first to admit that there are a lot of things about TikTok that we don’t really understand. We’re old, OK?! We *barely* understood the app back when it was Musical.ly and now spend most of our time just shaking our head in wonderment (and confusion) at TikTok’s dances, challenges, and crowd-sourced musicals.
But there’s one thing that we’ve noticed on TikTok that has left us particularly confused, and that is the word “muñañyo.” Or possibly “muñaño” — it appears to be spelled both ways on the app. We were also relieved to see that we’re not the only ones wondering what it means. So, we tried to find an answer! Here’s what we know.
What does “muñañyo” mean on TikTok?
If you haven’t come across the muñañyo gang (or muñaño gang) on TikTok, we think you should probably consider yourself to be one of the lucky ones. Again, we’re old, and we readily admit that we are not the target audience for much of what goes viral on the popular video-sharing app, but the trend of saying “muñañyo” in TikTok videos is definitely one for the kids. As far as we can tell, people are saying “muñañyo” in a high-pitched voice as some kind of catchphrase.
For whatever reason, saying “muñañyo” has caught on in a big way. Videos using the #muñañyo tag currently have more than 590 million views on the app, and most of them feature someone saying “muñañyo.” Repeatedly. The word has also crossed over into YouTube videos. Needless to say, it makes sense that people are wondering what it actually means.
You might think “muñañyo” means something in Spanish. It doesn’t. Google Translate appears to detect it as a Spanish word, but that’s most likely because of the "ñ" characters. As you can see, though, Google Translate offers no actual translation of the mystery word:
We got excited for a second upon finding Reddit user u/arudnoh explaining that “muñañyo” means “morning eater” and is the name of a Brazilian “shape-shifting demon [that] emerges from the morning mists just before dawn.” Alas, the link they provided as a source was actually just a Rickroll. (And yeah, we fell for it, OK? The fact that the Portuguese alphabet doesn’t even include ñ should have tipped us off!)
The catchphrase appears to have had a presence on TikTok for a few months now, but we think it may originate with TikTok user @jaykindafunny8 (who appears to favor the “muñañyo” spelling, FWIW). He refers to himself as the “CEO of Muñañyoooo” in his bio, and has many, many videos that feature him saying “muñañyo” over and over again. He also has tons of views and nearly 3 million followers, so something about his content is clearly resonating with people.
As for the actual meaning of the word, though? Well, unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that there is one. “Muñañyo” has no definition. It’s merely something people say to indicate that they are part of the in-group of… people who say “muñañyo.” We’re not saying we get it, but, well, there you have it. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go spend some time thinking about the future of humanity.