What is ‘Blinkerton City’? Meaning explained amid social media buzz

Bruno Cooke January 20, 2023
What is ‘Blinkerton City’? Meaning explained amid social media buzz
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With people on Twitter talking about supposed crime rates in “Blinkerton City,” or taking a trip upstate to “Blinkerton,” it’s worth knowing the meaning of the word, as it appears to be becoming increasingly popular.

People have been asking about the meaning of the word “blinkerton,” and its associated phrases “blinkerton city” and “hitting a blinker,” for months.

Forums about the vaping trend have appeared on Reddit; videos have emerged on TikTok; Urban Dictionary has defined it.

So here’s an explainer, plus what The Focus understands to be the context behind the term.

Hand holding electronic cigarette

What, or where, is ‘Blinkerton City’?

No, Blinkerton City does not appear to be a real, literal, physical place. You cannot get there in a car, or riding a tricycle.

The meaning of the word “blinkerton,” according to Urban Dictionary, has to do with vaping. As many will know by now, a “vape” is an electronic cigarette.

It’s a device that heats up liquid to create vapor, which its user inhales. Vaping devices come in several shapes and sizes: pens, e-cigarettes (such as JUUL), hookahs.

As Johns Hopkins Medicine writes, it is “less harmful than smoking” but “still not safe,” despite what some people may believe. It cites an outbreak, in 2020, of lung injuries associated with the use of vaping products

Meaning of ‘blinker,’ ‘blinkerton’ and ‘blinkerton city’ explained as terms trend

Based on its usage and other definitions of the term online, blinkerton is a place one goes to after taking a particularly large draw on a vaping device.

Its etymology appears to have to do with the safety light on the side of vaping devices. WikiHow identifies three reasons a vaping device might begin to blink, one of which is that its user is “taking a really long hit” on it.

Many vapes will shut off if you take what the website categorises as a “really long puff.”

That’s something like 10 seconds or more. “If your vape started blinking right after your last puff, your device might just be telling you to take shorter hits in the future,” the website says. It advises people to check their vape’s user manuals to see what their exact cut-off times are.

So anyway, the meanings behind the words “blinker,” “blinkerton” and “blinkerton city” all have to do with taking a large hit on a vaping device. Blinkerton City is a name for the internal “place” you might go to as a result. But where did it come from?

Origin of the terms

It’s not clear exactly who was the first person to use the word “blinkerton” to describe the experience of taking a particularly long draw on a vaping device.

It may be tempting to credit Fulcrum, a music producer, as having coined it. Many appear to associate it with him. And tweets from November 2022 – when Urban Dictionary first gained an entry defining the meaning of the word “blinkerton” – allude to him.

The name Fulcrum, “Yodie Gang” and “taking a trip to double blinkerton” all seem to exist in the same lexicon. 

But blinkerton’s predecessor, the “blinker,” has an Urban Dictionary entry dating back to June 2018, meaning the term existed at least three years before Fulcrum’s first-ever Instagram post

Colourful overlapping silhouettes of e-cigarettes or vapers. Best in RGB

What exactly is a blinker?

Know Your Meme’s entry on ‘Fulcrum Come In Yuhhh Yodie Gang’ dates back to November 2022, and contains references to blinkers in a way that suggests they are different from regular vapes. It contains a link to a video Fulcrum posted on YouTube in April 2021 titled ‘Blinkerz In Target.’

He posted a video with a similar name about a year later. The proper name for the blinkers he appears to be referring to is a dab pen, or wax pen. 

According to the Lighthouse Treatment Center, in the context of recreational cannabis consumption, dabs are created from the leftover materials of the cannabis plant. They contain high concentrations of THC. Green Health Docs adds that dab and wax are synonymous, because “dab is the process and wax is what you use,” although wax and dab pens don’t actually work in the same way.

The Focus previously wrote about Dab Day, a day during which niche cannabis consumers celebrate the practice of dabbing. Recreational marijuana use is currently legal in several US states. However, as we wrote then, users should do so with both respect and education about the cannabis plant.

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.