That Happened

That Happened

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Updated Jun 21, 2016 at 02:12PM EDT by Brad.

Added Feb 02, 2016 at 06:19PM EST by Don.

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"That Happened" is a sarcastic expression used in online discussions to call out overly exaggerated claims or tall tales that are often passed around as true stories on social media, most notably the ones in which the storyteller allegedly confronts and tells off another individual in the name of social justice.


While its exact origin is unclear, the earliest known use of the sarcastic phrase "that happened" comes from an April 2001 episode of Friends titled "The One with Rachel's Big Kiss," in which the character Phoebe Buffay (played by Lisa Kudrow) questions her friend Rachel Green's (played by Jennifer Aniston) claim that she kissed a girl in college.[5]

Rachel: "Hey, come on! I had this friend from college and I made the stupid mistake of telling Joey that one time…she and I y’know…kissed a little bit."
Phoebe: (laughs) Yeah, I’m sure that happened.


The expression "yeah, that just happened" has also been employed as a nonplussed reaction to an unbelievable or absurd experience. According to a post on Metafilter,[2] the earliest known use of the phrase in this context comes from the 2000 comedy film State and Main. On July 17th, 2009, Urban Dictionary[4] user MacV216 submitted an entry for "Well, that happened," defining it as "A phrase used when something random and/or inexplicable has occurred."


On November 23rd, 2012, the /r/thathappened[1] subreddit was launched, in which users submit suspicious claims posted on a variety of web sites. Within four years, the subreddit received more than 242,000 subscribers. On September 3rd, 2013, FunnyJunk user breeyoke submitted an MS Paint illustration titled "Yeah I'm sure that happened," which featured the caption "I reject the possible legitmacy of your situation" (shown below).

reject the possible legitimacy of your situation

On July 28th, 2014, a screenshot of a Facebook post about turning down the sexual advances of a woman was submitted to /r/cringepics,[6] where it garnered upwards of 2,000 votes (95% upvoted) and 100 comments prior to being archived (shown below). On July 9th, 2015, Redditor enter-the-labyrinth submitted a post about the /r/thathappened subreddit to /r/OutOfTheLoop.[3]

The Young Man's Name: Albert Einstein

"Albert Einstein Copypasta", also known as “Malice of Absence,” is a fictional account of a philosophical debate on the benevolence of God between a religious-skeptic professor and a student of faith, the latter of whom is revealed to be the world-renowned scientist Albert Einstein. Online, the line "The Young Man's Name: X" is often referenced in discussion threads and comments to mock hyperbolic statements or made-up stories

Down With Cis

“Down With Cis” is an ironic slogan taken from an anecdote about a cisgender individual who was allegedly ambushed and assaulted by a gang of transphobes dressed in t-shirts bearing the phrase. Following the viral circulation of the story on Tumblr in April 2015, it quickly became a target of ridicule as the authenticity of the story was brought into question from the transgender community and other skeptics on the microblogging platform.

And Then The Whole Bus Clapped

"And then the whole bus clapped" (“the entire train applauded”, “everyone stood up and cheered”, etc.) is a phrase associated with stories posted online, typically on Tumblr or Facebook, in which the teller or another person allegedly gains admiration of the surrounding public, usually after defending someone from social injustice. The line is often considered a giveaway sign of a fabricated story or it can be used sarcastically to express doubt or disbelief in such tall tales.

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