The major aim of this study is to provide a broad review of the fundamental ideas, progress, and utilization of triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs). The modes and operations of numerous triboelectric nanogenerator configurations along with applications and materials are also discussed. Triboelectric nanogenerators, a ground-breaking power production technology, were unveiled in 2012 and classified as one of the most effective generators to convert unused mechanical energy into electrical energy to run a wide range of devices. Triboelectric nanogenerators have made significant progress since the creation of this novel power-generation technology. The operating principles of various modes, such as freestanding triboelectric-layer, single-electrode, lateral sliding, and vertical contact-separation have also been carefully investigated in order to give readers a deeper understanding of the technology. The key applications of TENGs, such as high voltage power supply, blue energy, self-power sensors, and micro/nano-energy, are also described in this work along with concepts for further research. As a result, triboelectric nanogenerators are very important and attractive technology with advantages of low cost, straightforward construction, simple fabrication, high efficiency, and relatively high output performance. Wide range of material choice allows researchers to use the technology in many configurations with multiple applications. Numerous scientific modeling and analysis are also reviewed for a more solid understanding of this revolutionary and unique technology.