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What Is the Origin of ‘Turnt Up’ and What Does It Mean?

miley cyrus turnt up
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Turnt up. It’s a phrase that’s becoming more and more common in pop culture vernacular. While Miley Cyrus‘ use of the phrase in her new song “We Can’t Stop” has definitely helped (is helped the right word?) the process, she’s definitely not the first musician to drop the term.

In her 2013 track “We Can’t Stop,” Cyrus sings: “And everyone in line in the bathroom/Trying to get a line in the bathroom/We all so turnt up here/Getting turnt up yea yea.” Cyrus has confirmed the drug reference in the song, and the former Disney star’s interpretation isn’t far off from the phrase’s musical origins and common definition.

Turnt Up Definition

According to that bastion of slang Urban Dictionary, the definition of Turnt Up is “getting loose [whether that be just being wild or engaging in sexual activity]“ or to be “drunk, wasted or otherwise impaired.”

Oddly enough, the reader-voted scores for the various definitions were nearly split. We’re guessing half the people were turnt up when they voted.


According to PopDust, one of the earliest uses of the phrase was in Lupe Fiasco’s song “Turnt Up” from the album “Enemy of the State: A Love Story.”

Another early use of the term turnt up was in 2010 by rapper Roscoe Dash in his song, “All the Way Turnt Up.” Dash told MTV at the time that the phrase’s definition was “a new age crunk — a 2010 crunk.”

And in case you didn’t know what crunk means.

Other artists think of turnt up with more poetically, like Trinidad James, who told Vibe that turnt up means: “Turning up is when the people can feel it. You can say you’re ‘turnt up’ all you want to, but when the pepole [SIC] are turnt, you’re gonna know you’re really turning up.”

Whatever that means.

Watch the video for “We Can’t Stop”

Watch Miley Cyrus Perform 'We Can't Stop' on Good Morning America

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