What is a Meme?

An overview of the internet phenomenon.

By on May 31, 2013

The keyboard cat. Actual advice mallard. Success kid. There are thousands of memes that pop up and fade away just as quickly. 

Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran to the Internet, chances are you’ve come across these bits of ephemera. Pronounced “meems,” they can take the form of text, pictures, videos or phrases and spread virally.

One of the most common and popular Internet memes is “nom” or sometimes seen as “om nom nom.” It’s an onomatopoeic phrase used to indicate someone is eating or about to eat delicious food.

The origin of this phrase dates back to “Cookie Monster,” a character on the children’s television show “Sesame Street”. Whenever he ate cookies he repeatedly said, “om nom nom.” Today the phrase has been made popular with pictures and videos of eating. It has also sparked Photoshop creativity with people adding eyes and mouths to inanimate objects simulating eating.

In 2011, the Oxford English Dictionary recognized the word “nom nom” and officially defined it as “used to express pleasure at eating, or at the prospect of eating delicious food.”

Other popular memes include the phrase “moar” (pronounced more) which is a combination of the words “more” and “roar.” It’s used as an expression of strong interest and indicates the user demands more of whatever they were given or provided.

To find out more on a favorite meme or to understand just what friends and coworkers are talking about do a quick search on your smartphone or tablet you will find plenty of examples.