My Face When (MFW) / That Face When (TFW)

My Face When (MFW) / That Face When (TFW)

Part of a series on Reaction Images. [View Related Entries]

Updated Aug 06, 2020 at 08:21AM EDT by Y F.

Added Jul 08, 2011 at 02:04PM EDT by Hamilton.

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"My Face When…" (also shortened as ">mfw") is a colloquial phrase commonly used on 4chan imageboards as the opening line of reply posts and greentext stories in particular. The phrase is used in forum discussions to discuss how users would respond to a given situation, whether it be hypothetical or based on experiences of real life. "Mfw" posts can be also accompanied by a reaction face image.


">mfw" threads first began appearing on 4chan's imageboards in late 2009, with the earliest archived thread dating back to November 29th, 2009 in the /mu/ (music) thread "Syd"[1].

File 1267305246.png-(173 KB, 254x344) □ Anonymous 02/27/10(Sat)16 1406 No 201907XXX [Reply] Your face when you first saw 4chan 8 posts and 7 image replies omitted. Click Reply to view 20 □ Anonymous 02/27/10(Sat)16:18:36 No 2019080 File1267305516 ipg-(13 KB, 275x236) es □ IgDKirs1eKM 02/27/10(Sat)16:23 45 No 2019090X File 1267305825 ipg-(19 KB, 250x291) □ Anonymous 02/27/10(Sat)16:25:49 No.201910001 File1267305949 ipg-(5 KB, 126x126)


The Urban Dictionary[2] entry for ">mfw" was first submitted on June 12th, 2010, defined as the following:

Abbreviation for "my face when…" A meme on 4chan that lets you post what your face would look like in a specific situation. Usually posted in greentext with a picture of said face, like this:

>mfw a eurofag called American Football smibbily wobbly ball near me
>my face when an American was fat near me
>my face when hitler was still alive
>my face when usa won the world cup
>my face when Soulja Boy is considered a musical artist near me

"mfw" threads have since spread beyond the realm of 4chan culture and similar "reaction image" threads can be found on a number of other online communities like Tumblr[9], Terraria Online[3], Xbox360 Achievement[4] and Bungie[5] forums among others.

In March 2010, a website dedicated to collecting and documenting popular reaction faces was registered under the domain[6]. A year later in March 2011, another website that describes itself as the database of reaction images was launched under the domain[7]. "mfw" threads have also gained some momentum on Reddit[8] starting in April 2011, leading to the creation of mfw-exclusive subreddit.

Notable Usage

"My Face When X Calls Y Z" is a related snowclone phrase that is believed to have originated from 4chan's /v/ board. Such threads usually open up a place for users to vent about the discrepancies of word usage across English-speaking countries and general cultural barriers, though they often attract trolls who try to pass off nonsensical words as colloquial terms. Similar to generic "mfw" threads, such posts are accompanied by the image of a shocked person or someone laughing smugly.

(54 KB, 200x244, 1264305913606.jpg) □ Anonymous 06/23/10(Wed)12:50 No. 64037XXX smy face when Americans call headers head butts □ Xaven aZ !lyOy3RvDRgAr 06/23/10(Wed)12:52 No. 64037XXX >my face when Americans call Wacky womper tallywags "TelePhones" □ Anonymous 06/23/10(Wed)12:57 No,64037XXX >my face when Americans call pork sticks "hot dogs □ Anonymous 06/23/10(VVed)12:58 No,64037XX smy face when Americans call Bunfuddler Twiddly Thumb-Wugglers "video games" □ Anonymous 06/23/10(Wed) 12:59 No. 64037XXX >My face when Americans call a Zizzle Wizzle Fizzle box a Television 2 □ Anonymous 06/23/10(Wed)12:59 No 64037XXX >My face when this thread again 2 □ Anonymous 06/23/10(VVed)12:59 No,64037XX smy face when Americans call the silly box a "television" □ Anonymous 06/23/10(Wed) 12:59 No. 64037XXX >My face when Americans called Snimbly-Rimbly Pamps "soap" □ Anonymous 06/23/10(Wed) 13:00 No. 64037XXX my face when americans call each other schneebly weeblers

An example would be:

My face when Americans call Wacky womper tallywags "TelePhones."

In this phrasal template, X represents a nation or group of people; Y represents the made-up term passed off as the actual one in usage; Z represents the real object or term disguised as a marginal word.

Relatable posts

Relatable posts refers to a series of captioned images (starting with the phrase "when you…" )often passed around on social media sites such as Twitter which feature a caption featuring a relatable situation, along with an image to accompany the caption (which under the original context would normally be unrelated to it)

When the dish water is nasty but you gotta put your hand in to let the water out When You Trynna Convince Your Mom That She's Wrong When people start to tag their friends in an online argument
When you and your bestfriend lowkey roasting someone in public 甲甲 When yo girl break up wit you and you tryin to play it like you good but you hurtin deep inside When your out and see the squad unexpectedly わta *

Search Interest

Google search queries for "My Face When" and "mfw" both yielded a significant spike in between March and April 2010, around the same time the reaction image blog[6] went live.

External References

[1] Chanarchive – Syd

[2] Urban Dictionary – Definition of mfw

[3] Terraria Online – Forum Game My Face When…

[4] Xbox360 Achievements – My face when i accidently deleted my profile and ALL my game saves

[5] Bungie – My face when I watched My Little Pony for the first time

[6] – Like using emoticons, on steroids!

[7] – Reaction Faces Database on 2011-03-14

[8] Reddit – mfw subreddit April 2011

[9] Tumblr – Tagged Posts for mfw

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