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  • Nikhil Badveli

World's First Meme - where it all started

While the current internet generation needs no introduction to this wildly popular term (meme), it's worth noting that the origin of the word dates back to 1976.

The above comic, widely regarded as the first ever meme, originally appeared in a 1921 edition of a satirical magazine The Judge, published by the University of Iowa.


Before we dive into the origins of the first time meme, let's look at the definition of this word.


Definition of meme by Oxford English dictionary

​an image, a video, a piece of text, etc. that is passed very quickly from one internet user to another, often with slight changes that make it humorous.

Although the above definition is appropriate to the modern internet users, the origins of this word are found in a completely different place.


The word 'meme' was first coined by the famed evolutionary biologist, Professor Richard Dawkins in his popular book The Selfish Gene. He told that memes are the cultural equivalent of genes.


So anything that gets passed from brain to brain, like an accent, or a basic word, or a tune can be considered as a meme.


Some criticism towards the first meme

One of the main points cited against this old comic strip (shown above) is that a single image cannot be a meme. It has to be copied and spread with variations to the original image.


In the end, the criticism doesn't matter because it gave us this funny meme face.





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