What Stan Means On TikTok

When you think of the word "stan," what comes to mind first? Perhaps it's the late Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, the Swiss tennis star Stan Wawrinka, or somebody else. However, it's probably going to be a person with, well, the name Stan. But times are changing. You might be aware that millennials and Gen Z have been using the word "stan" to mean something different — particularly if you're a fan of TikTok or spend a lot of time on social media. But just what does it actually mean?

First things first: It's generally a positive thing, but the word doesn't have particularly cheery origins. Remember Eminem's 2000 song "Stan" (featuring Dido), about a particularly obsessive fan of the rapper? That's where the term is thought to come from (via HuffPost), with "stan" coming to mean a real hardcore fan of something — like the fictional Eminem fan of the same name. But is that still how it's being used on TikTok, where this phrase reigns supreme?

It's used to describe a fan of somebody, or to signal that you like something

According to USA Today, as well as "stan" being used as a noun to describe a big fan of a celebrity, it can also be used when somebody does something nice or something you consider cool and you want to show your approval. For that reason, while you might hear someone describe themselves as a "Billie Eilish stan," you're just as likely to hear somebody use "stan" as a verb and say something along the lines of, "Did you see his T-shirt? We have to stan!"

To add another dimension, you may also have heard of "Stan Twitter." This is the name given to a broad Twitter community of people who discuss and are fans of celebrities and popular culture, with their own slang and inside jokes. While the main theory is that "stan" comes from the Eminem hit "Stan," as it turns out, it might be merely a portmanteau of "stalker" and "fan," per Bustle. Whichever explanation do you prefer, it's clear that the word "stan" has evolved to have a much more light-hearted meaning now.