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“Do A Barrel Roll” is a catchphrase used to call on someone to perform a 360 degree horizontal spin. The phrase is sometimes used to caption image macros where the subject appears to be in mid-rotation, or in animated GIFs where the subject is performing a full rotation.
The barrel roll has been used as an airplane aerial combat technique since dogfighting emerged in 1913 during World War I. The barrel roll maneuver was later included as a move in the Super Nintendo console game Star Fox that was released in the US the spring of 1993. In the game, the player could perform a barrel roll by double tapping the L and R buttons, protecting the ship from enemy lasers. The phrase “do a barrel roll” comes from the sequel Star Fox 64 released on July 1st, 1997, in which the character Peppy Hare orders you to “Do a barrel roll!” while approaching 4 stationary turrets firing lasers.
The first Urban Dictionary definition was created on January 30th, 2004. During the Tom Green raids of 2006, the phrase was often used to prank call Green during his show. It is often quoted on the image board 4chan and one of the earliest archived threads dates back to August 2nd, 2007. A Facebook fan page has 14,796 likes, and there are 218 YTMND submissions as of November 3rd, 2011. The phrase has spawned an image macro fad on the site I Can Has Cheezburger.
Google Easter Egg
On November 3rd, 2011, the Google search engine enabled an easter egg for the search query “do a barrel roll” that would rotate the entire screen 360 degrees. The trick was subsequently covered by Kotaku, The Huffington Post and Tech Crunch the same day.
The Huffington Post – Google do a barrel roll is one of the coolest things google has ever done