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Handegg, also spelled as hand-egg, is a pejorative slang term primarily used by non-North American sports fans and Internet users to refer to gridiron football (American football), mainly due to the oval shape of the ball and the manner in which it is carried by the players' hands, as opposed to the spherical ball that can only be dribbled or kicked by the players in association football.


The earliest known proposal of the term "handegg" (a portmanteau of hand and egg) as an alternative name for gridiron football can be found in a letter sent to the editor of the New York Times by an anonymous reader in 1909 (shown below).

H and-Egg," Not Footbal'. To the Editor of The New York Tlmes.: Football la cėrtalnly a misnomer, for the game is played not with the feet but vlth the hands, and the ball is not a ball but an egg.. I propose that the game be played with the feet and vlth a ball, or else that it be callod "hand-egg." OBSERVER. New戈ori, Nov. 7, 1900.

Online, the term "handegg" saw its first notable resurgence in February 2009 after an image macro of the "Learn the Difference…" meme highlighting the semantic dissonance in the word "football" as used by North Americans, in contrast to the rest of the English-speaking world, surfaced on 4chan's /b/ (random) board. That same day, the image macro was posted to Reddit's /r/pics, where it garnered a total of 706 points prior to its archival.


On February 8th, 2009, Urban Dictionary user Pat E. Cakes submitted the first known entry for "handegg" (shown below). Out of five entries for the term that exist on the site, this definition remains to be the most popular instance with over 3,000 upvotes and 450 downvotes.

American football. As opposed to football/soccer, where players actually kick a ball with their feet, american football involves players carrying an egg-shaped object in their hands.

On April 20th, mens' online magazine Gunaxin featured the "football vs. handegg" image macro in an article titled "Football vs. Soccer Debate Ended." On May 6th, a post titled "Why is American Football called football? Should it be called Handegg?" was submitted to Yahoo Answers, the first instance of many similar questions that followed in the coming years. On May 7th, Straight Dope forum user YelimS linked the aforementioned image macro in response to a discussion thread about the physique of American football players, prompting a debate over the use of the words "football" versus "soccer." On July 9th, Redditor Digg_Is_Our_Rival re-submitted the same image macro to the /r/pics subreddit, which was subsequently picked up by BuzzFeed in an article published later that same day. On November 18th, a subreddit titled /r/handegg was launched as a place to "discuss all trivia, news, and opinions on American Football," though it didn't manage to garner any significant following on the site.

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