Mind = Blown

Mind = Blown

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Mind Blown” also denoted as “*Mind = Blown*,” is a slang term used to express one’s excitement after learning or discovering new knowledge, oftentimes regardless of its degree of significance. It can be seen as a contraction of the idiomatic phrase “blow someone’s mind,”[1] as in to astonish or impress someone in a moving way.


The phrase “mind blown” has been used to express shock and bewilderment since as early as 1996 with the inclusion of a song titled “mind blown” in N.W.A rapper MC Ren’s second solo album The Villain in Black.[2] By 1997, the phrase had found its way into online vernacular, as evidently used in the title of a post on the Usenet group alt.fan.david-bowie[3] to describe the poster’s reaction to seeing David Bowie perform live.


In 2006, the phrase was mentioned by the Classical Values[3] blog to describe a world map allegedly drawn in 1418. In 2007, the urban traveling blog GridSkipper[4] used the phrase in praising the subway system in Stockholm, Sweden and guitarist Duke Levine’s talent. On February 3rd, 2008, “mind = blown” began appearing throughout 4chan[8] as a common response to shocking revelations. The same month, a thread dedicated to “mind-blowing stuff” was started on the NeoGAF[6] forums, yielding 12 pages of responses in a little more than a week. In the thread, many commenters used “mind blown” and “mind = blown” in response to the images and facts presented by other forum members.

In October of that year, a thread attempting to translate “mind blown” into Spanish was posted on the Word Reference forums.[7] Between 2008 and 2009, the phrase “mind=blown” was used on Gamespot[9], Gizmodo[10], The Escapist[11] and the Legendary Pokemon forums.[12] Another Word Reference[13] thread about the phrase was posted on March 22nd, 2010, this time attempting to translate it into Italian. On April 19th, 2010, the /r/MindBlown[14] subreddit was created to share awe-inspiring images and videos. As of August 2013, it has accrued more than 430 readers. On July 9th, 2010, a thread for “mind blowing” images thread was created on the New Schoolers[15] forums, where it accrued nearly 70 pages over three years. As early as May 2011[17], the phrase became associated with a reaction GIF of a clip from the Adult Swim series Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show (shown below).

Between 2011 and 2013, “mind blown” threads have appeared on a number of forums including Niketalk[16], MTBR[18], MMO Champion[19], Bodybuilding.com[20] and DigiRev.[21] Additional photo compilations meant to evoke a “mind blown” response have been shared on The Chive[22] and Buzzfeed.[23]

Notable Examples

Additional images, including both reaction GIFs and those meant to evoke a “mind blown” response, can be found with the hashtag #mindblown on Twitter[24], Instagram[25], Facebook[26] and Tumblr.[27][28]

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