The Slang For Hot Dog That Originally Had A Very Different Meaning

Even those most well-versed in meme history might not remember when or why exactly everyone started calling hot dogs "glizzies." Perhaps this is because the glitzy had more of a steady rise than a meteoric breakout, one tied to the growth of TikTok itself. However, the real origin story of this inexplicably funny term is darker than you might expect.

It begins in the DMV (the D.C. metro area), where some say the slang term originated in 2016. There, the word already referred to something very different: a gun. Eventually, the word picked up steam in 2020 and swept across the internet. By mid-2020 "glizzy" had made its way to ESPN, which called Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest winner Joey Chestnut the "Glizzy Gladiator." On social media, people joked about "glizzy-gobbling" as if it was forbidden or shameful. They traded secrets on how to best avoid scrutiny for eating a hot dog in public. As usual, TikTok took things to the next level. In a frenzy of peak pandemic humor, one user filmed a "glizzy dispenser" he had created in his refrigerator, filling a cup with hot dogs. Bizarre? Yes, but it captured the spirit of what one commenter called "the glizzy side of TikTok" — a world that mostly involved men doing silly things with hot dogs to the dismay (and amusement) of the viewing public.

But why did people start using a regional slang term for "gun" to refer to hot dogs in the first place?

The glizzy mystery, explained

A trip down the Twitter rabbit hole reveals a lot of glizzy confusion. One user wondered in 2016 whether the definition of "glizzy" included "hot dog" from the beginning, or the usage recently changed. There's evidence of "glizzy" being used to mean hot dog as early as 2013 online. Some found the term confusing because they were familiar with D.C. Rapper Shy Glizzy. Had named himself after a hot dog? To clarify: No, Shy Glizzy's name references the original meaning.

A common explanation is that "glizzy" comes from an extended gun clip which is similar in length to a hot dog. Others have referred to frankfurters as "glocks," which also supports this argument. A user tweeted in 2015: "Why are guys so quick to call out other guys for eating a hot dog screaming it's a glock/'s just food." For those left unsatisfied by "glizzy," a long list of alternatives awaits – franks, wieners, and so on. There is probably a reason we're so resistant to just calling them "hot dogs," perhaps one that accounts for regional variation or for the phallic symbolism that makes people laugh and squirm. It's all in good fun, but the subtext of the joke is complex. Perhaps to some people, being caught enjoying a hot dog is a threat as deadly as a gun. For now, perhaps it's better to just let the mystery of the glizzy be.