Slang dictionary

the struggle is real

th uh struhg-uh l iz reel ]

What does the struggle is real mean?

My WiFi is slow. I can’t find matching socks. I have a 9am meeting. The struggle is real …

The struggle is real is a phrase that expresses joking, hyperbolic, and ironic frustration.

Related words

fwp, realest, woe is me, forever alone, trill, thug life

Where does the struggle is real come from?

The struggle is real is a phrase used to describe a small, everyday frustrating situation or setback, similar to the complaint of first-world problems.

Its origin, however, is much more serious. The struggle is real begins in hip-hop culture, where the struggle refers to the oppression and poverty faced by black Americans, especially in the inner-city. Use of this struggle dates to the 1990s, but it was likely influential rapper 2pac who popularized the phrase the struggle is real on his 2002 posthumous track, “Fame”: “No, we ain’t blood, but we still real brothers. / The struggle is real, nothin’ can steal what we build.”

The original, earnest sense of the struggle is real followed as it appeared on social media, and by 2011, the phrase was established enough on its own that the rap group DTMD released a song called “The Struggle is Real” in late 2011, which further boosted the phrase.

Humor soon took over, as is common in slang and social media. By early 2012, black observers were using the struggle is real to make wry observations about the creative workarounds for life with limited means.

By late 2012, the struggle is real went full meme, with users captioning photos of hilarious jury-rigging with the phrase.

2013 saw the struggle is real go mainstream as commentary on mild inconveniences—where the “struggle” is … really mild.

Examples of the struggle is real

Eating cereal with no milk the struggle is real
@_GettinBlunted_ , February, 2015
Even people that have dyed their hair red know that the struggle is real.
Kali Borovic, Bustle, July, 2018
When you wear glasses, first thing you do right after waking up is to find them. The struggle is real!
@sriso_o, May, 2018

Who uses the struggle is real?

As the humorous the struggle is real spread into the mainstream, its more hard-knock parent became less common, though Lil Wayne notably used it in his 2015 “Street Chains”: This is victory lane, now do I need a horn? / The struggle is real, and the Bible too long.”

Most often, the struggle is real is found online about silly, minor annoyances—definitely not the kinds of challenges many rappers overcame while growing up in the inner-city.

Just Added

angel number, silky mom, WDYM, mid, almond mom


This is not meant to be a formal definition of the struggle is real like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of the struggle is real that will help our users expand their word mastery.