What does Derp mean?

Silly or dumb behavior

When someone uses the term ‘Derp’, they’re calling attention to a silly or foolish mistake, either their own or someone else’s. For instance, if you catch an error in your buddy’s argument, they might reply with “derp, I’m a dummy”, acknowledging their blunder.

This funny word was first made popular by the creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. It’s believed that they may have gotten this nonsensical word from the gibberish spoken by the Swedish Chef, a character from the Muppets. In the 1998 comedic film Baseketball, Stone’s character blurts out “Derp!” when he’s caught looking at a lady’s personal item.

In 1999, they introduced ‘derp’ into South Park, in an episode where the character Chef was temporarily replaced by a character named Mr. Derp. Known for his funny yet foolish antics, Mr. Derp would often hit himself on the head with a hammer while exclaiming “Derp!”. From that point on, the South Park team often included ‘derp’ in their episodes, and it caught on with 4Chan users and wider internet culture.

Now, ‘derp’ has gone viral and has been the foundation of several internet memes, making its way into everyday language for many people. Over time, ‘derp’ has evolved and has some variations. For instance, when someone acts in a silly or foolish way, they might be described as being ‘derpy’, which is the adjective form of derp. ‘Derp’ can also be expanded to ‘herp derp’ and ‘herp de derp’, terms that are used mainly to highlight stupid or ignorant remarks.

Example for using ‘Derp’ in a conversation

Hey, did you see that movie last night?

Yeah, it was so derp! The main character kept making dumb decisions.

Haha, true! I couldn’t help but think, “derp, why would you go into the haunted house alone?”

I know, right? It’s like they wanted to get scared!