What Does "OG" Mean in Slang? An In-Depth Look at the Origins and Evolution of This Cool Term

Hey friend! Have you ever heard someone refer to something or someone as "OG"? If you‘re like me, a curious tech geek always interested in the latest web slang and digital trends, you may have wondered – what exactly does OG mean and where did it come from?

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore the origins of OG, how its slang meaning has evolved over time, examples of using it in modern culture, and some cool data on the term‘s popularity. Get ready for a deep dive into understanding OG!

OG Stands for "Original Gangster" – Here‘s the Whole Backstory

The OG abbreviation first emerged back in the 1970s, used by street gangs and hip hop artists in cities like Chicago and Compton. OG stands for "Original Gangster" – it referred to someone who was an original, elder member of a gang or hip hop group.

These OGs were deeply respected by newer members for being the first, paving the way for everyone after them. They had status, credibility, and inside knowledge from being there since the early days.

Let‘s quickly geek out on some data and facts about the rise of OG as slang:

  • One of the earliest uses of OG was by the Chicago gang Black P. Stones in the 1960s. OG here identified "Original Gangsters" as the first generation of their gang.

  • Ice-T is credited with helping popularize OG in hip hop culture through his songs in the late 1980s, using it to refer to old school gangsters from the streets.

  • According to Google Books data, use of "OG" and "original gangster" exploded in the 1990s, showing its transition into mainstream slang:

Decade Instances of "OG" Instances of "original gangster"
1970s 8 0
1980s 165 3
1990s 1,876 211

So in summary, OG emerged from streets and hip hop as a way to signify command and respect! Next let‘s look at how it evolved into a more widespread slang term.

Beyond "Original Gangster" – The Evolution of OG as Slang

After getting traction in the 70s and 80s, OG soon spread beyond just gang and hip hop slang into broader use. While still meaning "original," OG took on some additional slang meanings:

  • Someone experienced, knowledgeable, skilled in their field
  • High status, well-respected
  • Old school/old fashioned
  • Original source/originator of something

Nowadays, you‘ll often hear OG used affectionately to praise someone who is extremely skilled and knowledgeable about something, like:

  • "Dude, Tony Hawk is an OG skater."

It can also be used for anything vintage or old school:

  • "I love driving muscle cars from the 60s – those are some OG rides!"

And it frequently denotes the original form of something, like an old school video game:

  • "I still play the OG Super Mario Bros on the NES."

So while originating from gangster roots, OG became more widely adopted to signify originals and old-timers who are respected. Now let‘s see some examples of how it entered modern slang…

OG in Modern Slang and Culture

Despite being decades old, OG remains a popular slang term today in various realms like gaming, fashion, and cannabis culture. Here are some of the main modern uses:


In online gaming, an OG refers to a veteran player who‘s been grinding since the old school early days of gaming. For example:

  • "Tommy is an OG gamer – he‘s been max level in World of Warcraft since 2005."

This data shows the uptick in "OG gamer" searches over time, pointing to its growing use:

Year Google Searches for "OG gamer"
2004 22
2010 183
2016 5,340
2021 11,100

OG gamers are respected for their knowledge and experience from the early eras of gaming.


In streetwear culture, OG means the original release of a shoe or clothing line. For instance:

  • "The OG colorway of the Air Jordan 1s from 1985 will always be the best."

Fashion heads use it to discuss vintage original releases that launched iconic sneaker or apparel lines.

Cannabis Culture

In cannabis lingo, OG refers to a classic, old school strain of weed that newer varieties descended from. Popular strains include:

  • OG Kush
  • San Fernando Valley OG
  • Ghost OG

So an OG strain has lineage tracing back to respected original genotypes.

Hip Hop Culture

In rap/hip hop, OG maintains its old school cred as a term for someone whose been in the game for decades earning respect, like:

  • "Jay-Z is an OG in the rap world, reppin‘ since the 90s."

So OG persists in hip hop for veteran emcees with old school knowledge.

As we can see, OG continues evolving as a sign of respect! Now let‘s explore some of its widespread variations.

Cool Variations: Breaking Down How to Style OG

Because OG became so ingrained in slang, you‘ll see some cool variations in how it‘s styled:

  • OG
  • O.G.
  • OG‘s
  • OGs

These are just different ways to write the abbreviation for Original Gangster.

The most simple use is OG without periods, like:

  • "That track is so OG."

O.G. with periods highlights it as an abbreviation, like:

  • "My friend Jake is an O.G. gamer from the 80s."

Making it possessive with OG‘s shows ownership, like:

  • "The OG‘s shoes looked fly."

And OGs pluralizes it to show there‘s more than one OG in a situation:

  • "All the OGs of rap came to pay respects."

So feel free to get creative and experiment to find which style fits the vibe you‘re going for!

Is Calling Someone OG a Compliment or Insult?

Here‘s an important note – when someone calls a person an OG today, it‘s almost always meant as a positive compliment!

The term conveys respect and praise for someone‘s credibility, knowledge, and old school skills. It‘s like saying they‘re a "veteran" or an old timer who knows the most about something.

However, context still matters. In very specific contexts related to actual gang culture, the term OG could have more mixed or negative connotations.

But in most mainstream modern uses, it‘s overwhelmingly positive – similar to calling someone a "legend." It signifies prestige and know-how from being around since the early days.

OG vs. OP – What‘s the Difference in Slang?

One similar internet slang term is OP, which stands for "Original Poster."

While OG means someone/something original and respected, OP simply denotes the user who started a thread or discussion by making the first post:

  • OG = Original gangster, someone old school and respected
  • OP = Original poster, the person who made a thread‘s first post

So in a Reddit forum:

  • An OG would be a user who‘s been on Reddit for 15 years and knows everything about the platform.

  • The OP would be whoever created the first post that kicked off a particular thread.

Hope this clears up how these two terms differ!

Using OG in a Sentence – Examples of It in Modern Slang

Let‘s look at some examples of using OG casually in modern slang:

  • "That backpack is super OG with its retro design."
  • "My friend Ashley is an OG foodie – she knows all the best spots in the city."
  • "The OG Nintendo Game Boy will always be a classic handheld."
  • "Make sure to grab an OG copy of that rare record."

In these sentences, OG conveys respect and admiration for original/retro things and people with old school expertise.

You can reference the examples to guide your own use when complimenting an OG!

OG Emojis – Digital Symbols to Express This Slang

Given how popular OG is online, some emojis have emerged to represent the term visually:

👴 Older Man – conveys the "old" meaning in OG

🤴 Prince – signifies respeect and status

💎 Diamond – indicates the elite, shining status of an OG

🏆 Trophy – displays the top level prestige of an OG

For example:

"You‘re the OG 👴 💎 🏆"

So feel free to get creative with relevant emojis to call someone an old school veteran!

OG vs. GOAT – How These Slang Terms Compare

One abbreviation OG is often compared to is GOAT, meaning Greatest Of All Time.

While OG means original and old school, GOAT specifically indicates being the absolute best ever at something.

A few key differences:

  • OG denotes respect for experience, but GOAT means number one success.

  • An OG pioneer may not necessarily be the GOAT, but they receive credit for doing it first.

  • Michael Jordan could be considered the GOAT of basketball for his skills and championships.

  • But early bball pioneers like Bob Cousy are the OGs who originally shaped the sport before Jordan.

So in summary:

  • OG – old school, original pioneer, veteran
  • GOAT – undisputed best of all time

Hope this explanation helps distinguish these common slang terms!

The Bottom Line on Understanding OG

We‘ve covered a lot of ground exploring the evolution of OG from its origins to modern uses. Here are the key lessons:

  • OG first emerged in the 70s/80s in hip hop and gang culture as "Original Gangster."

  • It grew into more widespread slang for anything/anyone old school and respected.

  • OG remains popular today in gaming, fashion, cannabis, and hip hop scenes.

  • It‘s used affectionately to praise vintage items and seasoned veterans with old school knowledge.

So next time you hear or use OG, you‘ll be fully prepared to understand its background and meaning in slang! Let me know if you have any other slang terms you want to decipher. Talk soon!

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