Tech & Science dictionary

TikTok

[tik-tok]

What does TikTok mean?

TikTok is a massively popular app that lets users create and share videos up to 15 seconds long. Lip-synced music videos are especially popular on it.

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Related words
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Examples of TikTok
TikTok: Was recently introduced to this "thing" by a friend (yes I live in a cave) & I'm in shock. What's exactly the point of this thing? Some of it is borderline funny ... 1 hour of it can reduce your IQ by 10 pts I tell u
@BabarBaAishKosh, April, 2019
Music marketers have pounced on short-form video apps like TikTok and Vine to promote artists. Unlike music streaming apps that are designed for consumption, TikTok, which has a social component to it, allows two-way interaction between artists and fans, who can lip-synch, hand-dance and remix their idols’ songs often as part of the platform’s hashtag challenges.
Rita Liao, TechCrunch, April, 2019
The Atlantic / TikTok
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Where does TikTok come from?
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TikTok is a social app that allows users to make short videos. Users can add filters, text, sounds, and music, from which it is especially popular to make creative, lip-synched music videos. Users scroll through a newsfeed, react to content, and navigate with hashtags.

Image result for tik tok interface

The app was launched in 2016 in China, where it’s called Douyin. It went international in 2017 as TikTok; the name, apparently, is a play on tick-tock, onomatopoeia for clocks and a term for countdowns and minute-by-minute action. In 2017–18, TikTok bought and merged with competitor, musical.ly. 

In 2018–19, TikTok came into prominence with a video trend where people transform into cowboys and cowgirls while lip-synching and dancing to Lil NaS X’s “Old Town Road.” The trend, sometimes called the #YeehawChallenge or Yee-Yee Juice Challenge, helped make the country-rap track “Old Town Road” a smash hit.

Who uses TikTok?

The term TikTok, of course, is commonly used in popular discussions (or explanations) of the app as well as among its users. The app is noted for its explosive growth and popularity, especially among younger people. It has been downloaded over 1 billion times and boasts over 500 million users.

TikTok has created a platform for comedians and influencers, many of whom seek to monetize their content there. As with much of new technology, especially tech that is popular with younger people, TikTok has its curmudgeons and critics—and plenty of cringeworthy moments too.

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Note

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