When Did ‘Wholesome’ Become a Gen Z Compliment?

When Celeste Scott sees “things that are unscathed by the bad things in the world,” she says she can’t help but blurt out: “That’s so wholesome.”

Examples: Two people on opposite sides of a foggy window playing tic-tac-toe with their fingers. A monkey riding on a piglet’s back. And Pedro Pascal.

It’s a Gen Z compliment, used to describe anything that is sincere, nice or cute, and, according to Ms. Scott, 26, it evokes a specific reaction. “People are like, ‘Aww,’” she said.

What’s not wholesome? “Love Is Blind.” “When I watch that, my heart rate is up. I’m annoyed at the contestants because they’re being dumb,” Ms. Scott said.

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