bombastic side eye: TikToker over Kim Kardashian using her sound on TikTok (l) person speaking bombastic side eye meme (c) TikToker over North West TikTok using her sound with 'THAT ONE SOUND FROM TIKTOK' logo (r)

@lmfaomal/TikTok @4kmmxv/TikTok by Caterina Cox

‘Bombastic side eye’ goes viral (and global) on TikTok

How one creator ‘accidentally’ made a viral sound.


Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

That One Sound is a column from internet culture reporter Charlotte Colombo that explores the origin of popular sounds heard on TikTok.

Side eye is a universal expression, one that conveys everything without words. But one popular sound does use words, and it’s become part of TikTok’s “language.” Here’s a look at how the “bombastic side eye” sound took over.

Bombastic Side Eye: The sound

The sound most popular on TikTok features the words “Bombastic side eye. Criminal, offensive side eye.” The words are punctuated by Vine booms, and it appears to have started circulating more widely in February. The account @4kmmxv posted it in late February; that clip now has more than 38 million views, and the sound has been used in more than 360,000 TikToks.

But it appears that particular sound originated in early February via the account @whatareyoulookingatbabs. That clip has more than 1.8 million views.

@4kmmxv bombastic side eye! #bombasticsideeye #criminaloffensivesideeye #sideeye #trend #crop #viral #foryou #foryoupage #freevideo ♬ LMAO THE VIDS – ✨ ILikePotatosOnCheese ✨

The sound was used in a variety of ways, but mostly to convey the popular human (and animal) emotion that is side eye.

@barhadre I feel extremely judged😭#fy #fypシ #sideye #cat ♬ LMAO THE VIDS – ✨ ILikePotatosOnCheese ✨

The only thing I’ve taught him apparently 🙃

♬ LMAO THE VIDS – ✨ ILikePotatosOnCheese ✨

It was also used by Malala, Manchester United, and Kim Kardashian and North West.

Where’s it from?

The original (without Vine booms) comes from creator Malaika Norman, who posts as @lmfaomal on TikTok and has more than 110,000 followers.

Norman duetted a remix in March, and expressed her disbelief when Kim and North used the sound that same month. The latter TikTok has more than 10 million views, and the bombastic side eye tag has more than 700 million views.

@lmfaomal #duet with @CasaDi #Remix if i don’t hear this in the club im filling a suit for real 🤪 #bombasticsideeye #comedy ♬ Bombastic Side Eye Criminal Offensive Side Eye – CasaDi
@lmfaomal I cannot believe @Kim and North used my sound 😭😭😂 I think we made it yalll @lmfaomal #fypシ #bombasticsideeye #comedy #viralsounds ♬ LMAO THE VIDS – ✨ ILikePotatosOnCheese ✨

Norman tells the Daily Dot the sound originally came from a stitch with a TikTok that “flabbergasted me, for a lack of better words, and she captured “the first thing that came out into my head.” (That TikTok doesn’t appear to still be on the account, but it was posted to YouTube by someone else.)

There’s another popular “side eye” sound on TikTok, but Norman says she “accidentally created a viral phrase” by adding on to it. It’s even in the Urban Dictionary now.

“A lot of people still don’t know it’s me,” Norman says, “but those who do say it to me almost every day.”

Sound off

Norman didn’t just create a viral phrase. A sub-trend involves people translating “bombastic side eye” in other languages, showing its broader application.

@sarinaschroff which version do you like best hahhaha? #bombasticsideeye #trend #polyglot #deutsch #english #français #español #italiano #português #languages #sideeye ♬ original sound – sarina
@lizzytharris Replying to @nik_kxd ♬ LMAO THE VIDS – ✨ ILikePotatosOnCheese ✨

Need more bombastic side eye? Now you can watch our That One Sound from TikTok column on YouTube! Subscribe to our channel and keep an eye out for new episodes every Wednesday.

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