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LOLWUT (pronounced “lol what?”) is an image macro and catchphrase used in online conversations to indicate feelings of confusion or bewilderment about something another person has shared. The phrase is typically associated with a picture of a pear with an agape human mouth sitting in a field being photographed by a chipmunk.
The surrealist painting of the laughing fruit, titled The Biting Pear of Salamanca, was posted to deviantART on February 27th, 2006 by Ursula Vernon. Inspired by pop surrealism, she wrote that the pear “lives off low-flying birds, hand-outs, and the occasional unwary sightseer.” As early as November 2006, a user on 4chan’s /b/ (Random) message board had associated the photo with the caption LOLWUT.
On December 11th, 2006, the single serving site lolwut.com was created. On February 2nd, 2007, “LOL WUT” was first defined on Urban Dictionary as “the pear picture.” The first YTMND site featuring the pear was created on March 31st. By July of that year “lol wut” had begun to gain usage outside of the image macro, as someone on Yahoo! Answers inquired about the phrase without referencing the picture. In September, the pear picture was featured on My Confined Space and the following month, a photoshop thread based on it was posted to the Bodybuilding.com forums.
By February 2008, the image macro was banned from the Ultimate-Guitar.com forums for being overused. That year, video renderings of the pear began to appear on YouTube and fan art began to appear on deviantART including both digital works and real-life papercraft. In August 2009, a Facebook fan page for the image macro was created, gaining more than 16,700 likes as of August 2013.