The RuDictionary: All the hidden meanings behind RuPaul’s ridiculous catchphrases

‘Squirrel friends’ started because, like drag queens, squirrels also hide their nuts


One of the greatest joys you gain from joining the RuPaul’s Drag Race fan club is all the wonderful catchphrases you learn from the show. If a group of friends collectively share a love for Drag Race, they’ll spend the majority of their time screaming “She done already done had herses!!!” and singing “The realnessss” in each other’s faces.

As much as we all love Ru’s catchphrases and find them hilarious no matter how many times they’ve been said, the majority of them make no sense to us. But, let me tell you, RuPaul’s catchphrases aren’t just silly fun, they actually have semi-complex meanings behind them and come from a wide range of inspirations – from iconic LGBTQ+ films to woodland animals and fast food cashiers.

The hidden meanings behind RuPaul’s catchphrases:

Charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent

RuPaul says this over and over, and it’s not because he’s desperate for some charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. It’s actually because the words spell out C.U.N.T – and every drag queen needs a lot of that.

Condragulations

Fairly self-explanatory but this is how Ru congratulates his contestants on their drag. To make things easier, he merged the two words together.

Eleganza Extravaganza

When Ru throws this at the end of a runway challenge, it’s not just for a cheap laugh it actually has a meaning. The phrase is defined as something having “high amounts of elegance”, therefore, if a challenge is called: Glitterball Eleganza Extravaganza, the queens’ outfits can’t just be glittery they need to be oozing with elegance as well. 

Glamazon

This is one of Ru’s favourite words and the name of an album and song. The word combines glamorous and amazon, which together means a tall, assertive, beautiful, self-confident woman. We all need a bit of that.

Herstory

This word is heard a lot on the show. Not only is it a play on the word ‘history’ – taking out the ‘his’ in the word and adding in a ‘her’ which stems from Feminist academics. It also refers to the history of the show – “Drag Race herstory”.

How’s your head?

If Ru says this to a drag queen, only one answer is allowed – “I haven’t had any complaints”. The term comes from the film Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, starring Cassandra Peterson. It’s a joke about blowjobs, which is Ru’s favourite type of joke.

Realness

Again, you would of heard this on the runway when The Realness comes on. If a queen is described as having or presenting “the realness”, she’s either being realistic or accurate, extremely blunt and honest, or is able to embody the truest version of something (normally referring to gender).

Sashay, away

This is, of course, the phrase Ru uses to send queens packing.

Shante, you stay

Aside from being a great rhyme, Ru also uses this phrase because Shante is the name he calls people as a term of endearment. It also apparently is a play on Echanté, which means ‘nice to meet you’.

She done already done had herses

This catchphrase plays before the queens receive their She Mail in the werkroom. RuPaul picked this up from a worker at a fast-food burger chain who saw someone try to take an order that didn’t belong to them. When the girl behind the counter saw, she said: “Uh-uh na-na-na-nah, she done already done had herses.” Ru also says: “You country breakfast is ready,” inspired by this same girl – I hope she’s getting some commission.

She owns everything

This is inspired by the film Paris is Burning, as it a lot of Drag culture. If Ru says this about a queen walking down the runway, it’s a big compliment. It means their the one true queen, the most fabulous, the one who owns the WORLD.

Squirrel friends

Ru often says this when it’s time for the judges to chat about the runway. It’s not just a cute nickname, it actually has a wonderful meaning behind it: squirrels hide their nuts, so do drag queens, alas they are all one.

The library is open

The library is most frequently referred to in All Stars and is another nod to Paris is Burning. When you ‘read’ someone, you pick them apart, mock them, take the piss, etc – therefore, the library is where all the reading happens. If the library is open, that means everyone has free-rein to rip into each other without any hard feelings. When the library closes, the reading must stop.

Catch up on season 13 of Drag Race on Netflix here and season two of Drag Race UK here.

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