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46 Memes That Defined 2018

To all the memes I’ve loved before.

Posted on December 14, 2018, at 5:17 p.m. ET

1. Big Dick Energy

Nicholas Hunt / Getty Images, @badgalriri / Via instagram.com

Rihanna has it. Jeff Goldblum has it. Pete Davidson, of course, has it.

Big Dick Energy — more an elusive concept than a meme — took the world by storm in June, when Ariana Grande tweeted then deleted that her then-fiancé was packing 10 inches.

The term was first used by @imbobswaget in reference to Anthony Bourdain after his death earlier that month, but it really took off with Davidson after @babyvietcong (whose account is no longer active) tweeted that he “exudes big dick energy.”

2. Moths

instagram.com

Like a moth to a flame, so were we drawn to moth memes in 2018. The memes, which kicked off on Reddit in July, revolved around the insects’ never-ending lust for lamps.

Moth memes were about as absurdist as memes get, but somehow, a strange thread of relatability ran through them. What are we all if not a bunch of moths searching for our lamps?

3. Walmart Yodeling Kid

i can't take twitter any longer. i watched a little kid yodel in walmart and thought "what the hell" but 24 hours passed and i've been humming the song all day and my brain has been destroyed by a little white boy tapping his foot

Ten-year-old Mason Ramsey stepped into the aisles of an Illinois Walmart and into our hearts in April with his rendition of Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues.”

It quickly went viral — like, ridiculously viral — and Mason got real-life famous. He released an EP, went on Ellen (and BuzzFeed), and even played Coachella. Yeehaw!

4. Tide Pods

Who didn’t want to eat these forbidden laundry gummies in 2018? While Tide Pod Eating Discourse™ has been around for a while, the meme really kicked off at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018.

This was a meme with staying power. Some teens went as far as actually eating them for the Tide Pod Challenge. It got so bad Tide had to warn us not to give in to our cravings, as did the US government. And just this November, Tide unveiled its detergent box that made everyone want to slap the bag.

Anyway, please do not eat a Tide Pod! It is bad for you!

5. Gritty

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

Introduced as the new Philadelphia Flyers mascot in September, Gritty — a seven-foot-tall monster with orange fur and wild eyes — quickly went from “what the fuck is that thing” to a national darling. His entrances onto the ice have been nothing short of iconic, and his tweets are an impossible balance of wholesome and harrowing.

Gritty was adopted as a leftist mascot, especially after socialist mag Jacobin tweeted that “Gritty is a worker.” The Wall Street Journal even published an op-ed calling for activists to “keep your Marxist hands off Gritty,” which was very funny.

When President Trump visited Philly in October, tons of people brought Gritty-themed protest signs.

“This town only has room for one orange asshole,” one said.

6. Squinting Woman

Me looking for the part in the long ass paragraph that ima reply to

In March, Kalin Elisabeth from Gwinnett County, Georgia, posed for a trendy squatting pic. It did not make her knees too happy, and the resulting photo turned into one of the most relatable memes of 2018.

Elisabeth told BuzzFeed News she in no way expected to become a meme, but loves seeing all the hilarious ways people have used the photo.

“So many people have reached out telling me how the memes have brought them so much joy,” Elisabeth said in April. “I’ve even been asked for more ‘meme-able’ photos. Everyone has showed so much love, my heart is truly overfilled.”

7. Johny Johny

Billion Surprise Toys / Vox / Via vox.com

Johny Johny, yes Papa? If you’d somehow gotten this song out of your head by now, sorry, it’s back, you’re in hell again.

The video, which comes from nursery rhymes YouTube channel Billion Surprise Toys, depicts a baby (“Johny”) lying to his dad (“Papa”) about not eating sugar. Set to the tune of “Baby Shark” and accompanied by Pixar-meets-uncanny-valley animation, it became viral nightmare fuel after spreading to Twitter.

Bizarrely, little evidence of “Johny Johny” survives.

After the memes took off, Billion Surprise Toys issued a ton of DMCA takedown notices — which got the original viral tweet and a ton of other posts that included the video removed. They even removed the video from their channel.

For all we know, it could have been a giant collective fever dream all along.

8. American Chopper

This comic-style meme, which shows screencaps of Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul Teutul Jr. arguing on the reality show American Chopper, became a popular vehicle for sharing ~the discourse~.

This included topics from brutalist architecture to Garfield to even meta-commentary about the meme’s classist undertones.

As Vox put it in April, the American Chopper meme kind of operates as a simplified version of Socratic dialogue:

More broadly, in an era of performative social media dunking and tribalism run amok, the Chopper offers a lighthearted way to demonstrate that you actually understand the viewpoints of people on both sides of an issue. And beyond demonstrating your personal virtuosity, dialectic — the argument between two opposing points of view — turns out to be a fairly effective way to convey ideas and information, one that dates back to Plato’s famous dialogue but can be difficult to replicate in conventional media formats.

9. Let’s Get This Bread

While certainly not a new slang phrase, “let’s get this bread” really had a moment this year.

Obviously, a ton of people went literal with the meme and made lots of bread jokes.

There was also this oddly delightful thread of mascots hyping each other up with mirror pics.

10. “Thank U, Next”

One taught me love, one taught me patience, and one taught me pain. Now I’m so amazing.

Following her breakup with Pete Davidson, Ariana Grande’s hit single “Thank U, Next” was one of the year’s biggest pop culture moments, and therefore became natural meme fodder.

Also, it’s a bop.

11. We Need a Disney Princess

We need a Disney Princess with an iron deficiency We need a Disney Princess with an iron deficiency We need a Disney Princess with an iron deficiency We need a Disney Princess with an iron deficiency We need a Disney Princess with an iron deficiency

In 2017, comedian Sofie Hagen earnestly tweeted that “we need a fat Disney princess.”

It bubbled up again as a meme in March, with people tweeting calls for “a Disney princess that rips her Juul in the middle of serious conversation” and “a Disney princess with spatulas for hands.”

Things took a turn when a local Planned Parenthood branch tweeted that “we need a Disney princess who’s had an abortion” (and a Disney princess who’s pro-choice, trans, an undocumented immigrant, and a union worker, all in the same tweet).

As you’d probably expect, a lot of conservatives flipped out on Twitter, the Planned Parenthood branch deleted the tweet, and the branch president had to apologize.

And thus is the lifecycle of a meme in 2018.

12. Life With Mak

Now onto one of the biggest meme queens of 2018.

Makenna, a 13-year-old YouTuber, spawned a ton of reaction memes out of her mega-popular ASMR videos, particularly this one where she’s sipping seltzer and this other one of her munching on honeycomb.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM, Makenna said her mom first spotted the memes on Twitter and that she thinks they’re “hilarious.”

“Each morning I see new memes,” she said. “It’s really cool.”

13. Zendaya Is Meechee

Whether or not you saw the movie Smallfoot when it came out in September, hopefully you know by now that Zendaya is Meechee.

The line comes from comedian Gabriel Gundacker’s video, in which he turned promotional posters for the movie into the year’s best power ballad.

“It’s just actually the pure joy of celebrating something that really is meaningless — a promotional poster for a movie you haven’t heard of,” Gundacker told Select All of his song.

14. Carly Rae Jepsen’s Sword

On the very first day of 2018, Tumblr user Sword Lesbian Opinions wrote a post that would live on in infamy: “petition to give carly rae jepsen a sword: i like her and think she should have one.”

For months after, Tumblr and Twitter were full of calls to give CRJ the sword she so rightfully deserved.

At Lollapalooza in August, the prophecy was fulfilled. While performing “Cut to the Feeling,” someone handed her an inflatable sword, which she brandished overhead, proclaiming “Oh yeah, a sword!”

And that’s how Carly Rae Jepsen finally got her sword.

15. Ladies, Imagine This

LADIES imagine this, it’s 15 years from now - you have three kids named Fergus, Farkle, and Felicia, your wife is a beautiful green princess, and you’re little donkey cheers you on from the comfort of your swamp. You’re Shrek. https://t.co/uD2a4glJ3U

In May, Twitter user Mallori Taylor laid out her imagined ~best life~: a son on the baseball team, a daughter cheering him on, a hot husband as his coach, etc., etc.

People roasted the hell out of it, mostly for just being kinda basic and “aggressively fantasizing about being 40-year-old moms,” and it spurred a ton of parody versions.

16. Weird Flex but Okay

Weird flex but ok https://t.co/zyVQ8Oj0xo

Though the phrase has existed for a while, “weird flex but okay” really took off when then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to defend his rep by saying he was was a virgin in high school and “many years after.”

After that, it became a go-to comeback for those brags that people prooobably shouldn’t brag about.

17. Krusty Krab vs. Chum Bucket

Another year, another SpongeBob meme. Krusty Krab vs. Chum Bucket took off in March and became a pretty simple meme for comparing two competing things — Apple vs. Android, The Office vs. Parks and Rec, you get the picture.

18. Black Hogwarts

The Gryffindor House after Harry caught the golden snitch in his mouth #blackhogwarts

Back in January, Black Twitter took a trip to the wizarding world. People imagined what a #BlackHogwarts would be like, and the answers were truly magical. (Like Snoop Dogg would have to be the herbology professor, right?)

J.K. Rowling was totally on board with the memes, tweeting that she was “seeing them and loving them.”

19. By Age 35

By age 35 you should have a huge box of cables but you can't throw them out because you're pretty sure you still need a couple of them but you're not sure which ones

After MarketWatch tweeted that “by 35, you should have twice your salary saved” in May, everyone was like LOLOLOL COOL CAN’T RELATE.

Then, of course, people memed it, flipping the phrase into goals for adulthood that are just a wee bit more realistic for most of us.

20. Karma’s a Bitch

Hello it is Friday and I am here with the latest Chinese meme: “karma’s a bitch” Here are some of the best ones:

People in China pulled off one of the most creative memes of the year on Dou Yin, the video app known as TikTok in the US.

After saying “Oh well, karma's a bitch,” they throw a towel over themselves and dramatically change their whole look.

They’re really, really fun to watch.

21. Thicc Mark Zuckerberg

mark zuckerburg got that WAGON 😨

Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the Senate in April, and the good people of the internet responded by photoshopping him to be one thicc bih.

BuzzFeed News interviewed two of the original Thiccerberg artists at the time, one of whom said they “just like to make thicc edits.”

22. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All The Boys I’ve Told My Friends About Too Soon

When Netflix dropped To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in August, it was an instant and massive hit...so obviously, it kicked off some memes.

Most notably, tons of people parodied the title to make it about their own romantic woes. 10/10 would watch "To All the Boys I’ve Told My Friends About Too Soon" and “To All the Boys Whose Birth Charts I Have Done Without Their Knowledge.”

23. Super Bowl Selfie Kid

This year’s obligatory Super Bowl halftime show meme came to us thanks to 13-year-old Ryan McKenna, who danced with and snapped a selfie with Justin Timberlake. Then he immediately ignored J.T. and started playing on his phone. Same.

Though a ton of people joked that he must’ve had no idea who Timberlake was, Ryan later told the Pioneer Press the experience was “so crazy.”

“I just thought to myself, I’ll never get this opportunity again in my whole life,” Ryan said. “I just went for it.”

24. Confused Cardi B

When you ask your teacher for 1 on 1 help and still dont get it

While interviewing Cardi B on the Grammy’s red carpet in January, Giuliana Rancic was caught off guard by the artist saying she had “butterflies in my stomach and vagina,” and then she mixed up Cardi’s lyrics.

It was preeetty awkward, and Cardi reacted to the situation with the most hilariously confused face that became a meme pretty much as soon as it happened.

25. Sparkles

@naottri / Via Twitter: @naottri

ASCII art — aka art made with keyboard characters — has existed in some form for as long as people have been typing. But it had a renaissance in 2018, with people playing around and designing all sorts of new, creative memes that involved a surprising amount of technical skill.

One of the major memes were these sparkles, which took over Twitter for a moment in April, adding a little bit of visual whimsy to everyone’s feeds.

26. U Want This? Bunny

{\__/} ( • . •) / >🌎 u want this? {\__/} ( • - •) 🌎 < \ then take care of our environments bitch

Like I said, ASCII art, big in 2018. The U Want This? bunny meme was a little less art-y, more meme-y, and consisted of a cute ASCII bunny offering objects represented by emojis.

A few honorable mentions for ASCII art memes of 2018 include the dancing man, sleeping cat, and guy being kicked down the stairs.

27. Change My Mind

In February, right-wing YouTuber/podcaster/troll Steven Crowder came to Texas Christian University and set up a table with a sign: “Male privilege is a myth. Change my mind.”

But Crowder violated one of the key rules of the internet, which is that you should never post a pic of yourself with a sign, because there will be a Photoshop battle.

And what a battle this one was.

28. Gorl

You say you got a gorl And how you want me How you want me when you got a gorl?

After a tweet in April about “when you type ‘gorls’ instead of ‘girls,’” people had a blast inserting “gorl” into different song lyrics and photoshopping Gru from Despicable Me into the album covers.

29. If You Don’t Love Me at My...

if you then you don’t don’t love deserve me at my me at my https://t.co/1cGV0DjjBS

Look, we all have good days and we all have bad days. “If You Don’t Love Me at My” is a simple meme that captures the power of a good glow-up.

30. Hurt Me

[during sex] Me: Hurt me Her: In 1992, scientists discovered the loneliest creature on Earth. Me: what Her: Its a whale that has been calling for a mate for two decades. He communicates at a frequency not used by any other whales, and hasnt received a response. Me: stop

We all have our emotional soft spots, as this meme so kinkily illustrated.

31. STAN TWITTER DO YOU KNOW THIS SONG?

I SAID STAN TWITTER DO Y'ALL KNOW THIS FUCKING SONG

Stan Twitter (aka the Twitter subgroup of pop culture superfans) joined forces in August to pay homage to some of the most iconic jams of our time, like Chip Skylark’s hit single “Shiny Teeth” and the Zoey 101 theme song.

32. Not a Cell Phone in Sight

not a cell phone in sight. just living in the moment. absolutely beautiful, wish we could go back

The meme for anyone who loves to unplug. Wish we could go back.

33. Most Ambitious Crossover Event

Marvel: 'Infinity War is the most ambitious crossover event in history' Me:

Shortly before Avengers: Infinity War came out in April, people began tweeting their takes on "the most ambitious crossover event."

34. I Don’t Feel So Good

“Like Scoob, I don’t feel so good”

Another meme out of Avengers: Infinity War, this one (🚨 SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🚨) comes from the scene in which Spider-Man dies.

"Mr. Stark, I don't feel so good," he says, before falling into Tony Stark's arms and disintegrating.

Despite being the film's biggest tearjerker of a moment, people obviously turned it into a meme, photoshopping pics to disintegrate just like poor little Peter Parker.

35. Evil Patrick

Me leaving the pot in the sink because “it needs to soak”

We all have a dark side.

This screenshot of Patrick Star exemplified our crappier tendencies in 2018, whether we were ignoring texts or leaving rude Yelp reviews.

36. 5-Year-Old Cardi B

My momma said I can’t sit down cuz y’all got roaches

Cardi was strong in the meme game this year.

This photo of her at age 5 became the go-to meme representing bratty kids who blab about the things "my momma said."

At first Cardi didn't seem to love it, posting "Yaaaa annoying for this... Leave five year old Belcalis alone" on Instagram.

But less than a week later, she apparently changed her mind, posting the meme was "too funny cause i was a smart ass like this."

37. Bitch, I’m a Cow

This really the song of the century aint shit topping this.... got me randomly singing "Moooo" smfh

Singer and rapper Doja Cat was one of the breakout stars of 2018 thanks to her highly memeable song "Mooo!" aka "Bitch, I'm a Cow."

The song and video, which the artist told Fader she made on a whim after she got the costume for a tour, had tons of people singing along and making cow puns.

38. Lady Gaga Tweet

Me: what’s the wifi password My mom: https://t.co/vXxQ9cGc5t

A completely nonsensical keyboard smash tweet from Lady Gaga in 2012 resurfaced in 2018, and many people quote-tweeted it to use as a meme.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHRHRGRGRGRRRGURBHJB EORWPSOJWPJORGWOIRGWSGODEWPGOHEPW09GJEDPOKSD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!0924QU8T63095JRGHWPE09UJ0PWHRGW, indeed.

39. Tired SpongeBob

me after I put the fitted sheet on my bed by myself

Another SpongeBob meme (shocking, right?), this image came to represent the very relatable feeling of being the most exhausted from doing the least.

40. Alexa Play Despacito

I really hope I don’t die in 2018. I can’t stand the thought of my mom crying at my funeral and one of you idiots saying “Big Mood” or “this is so sad, Alexa Play despacito”

“Alexa Play Despacito,” a catchphrase that got its start on Tumblr and blew up on Stan Twitter, combines some of 2018’s favorite things: sadness and Amazon (and “Despacito”).

41. Gym Kardashian

Gym Kardashian, which first came to us from @jaypaulgeorge, is a series of Kim Kardashian pics edited to be super muscular.

They're weirdly realistic and have just about no other context than that.

It's a good meme.

42. He's Not Your Man

Ladies, if he: - only responds after you double text - doesn't care about your snap streak - refuses to shave - is a staunch abolitionist - returns to Ohio after serving only one term He's not your man. He's 19th president Rutherford B Hayes

A meme that dished up some helpful relationship advice for all the single ladies who might find themselves dating the Duolingo owl, Betsy Devos, or Mr. Brightside.

43. Bibble

3OH!3: T-t-t-tongues always pressed to your cheeks while my tongue is on the inside of some other girl’s teeth. T-tell your boyfriend if he says he's got beef- 13 yr old me: THAT IM A VEGETARIAN AND I AINT FUCKING SCARED OF HIM https://t.co/F54qaoGYHH

You've probably seen this little blue guy on your feed a few times this year.

It's Bibble, a character from the 2005 movie Barbie: Fairytopia, who has been perfectly screenshotted to look like he's singing his heart out.

We got a similar meme this year with this pic of Mike Wazowski singing.

44. In This Essay I Will

The girl Flo Rida sings about in Low was wearing apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur, baggy sweatpants, AND reeboks with the straps all at the same time so we must conclude that she was, in fact, a centaur. In this essay I will

Much like its predecessor "thanks for coming to my TED talk," this was a meme for bringing some academia to our most controversial theories and opinions.

Still waiting for the full essays on the Dixie Chicks, the Charmin Ultra Soft bears, and Mary Poppins.

45. FBI Agent Watching Me

Nothing like a good mass surveillance meme!

This one, which started a bit in 2017 and got big in 2018, is all about the FBI agent keeping an eye on us through our webcams...and sometimes noticing when we're going through some dark shit.

46. They Did Surgery on a Grape

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