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"Wat" is a variant of the English word "what" that is often used to express confusion or disgust, much like its better known acronym "WTF", short for "what the fuck." Although the term "wat" is most frequently used as an interjection without a question mark, it is sometimes used to caption reaction face images or peculiar images that would evoke similar responses.


According to the Online Etymology Dictionary[8], the interrogative word "what" stems from the Old English "Hwæt", an exclamation that roughly translates to "so." The term is also used in the opening line of Old English epic poem Beowolf: "Hwæt! We Gardena " || "in gear-dagum." ("So! The Spear-Danes in days gone by.")

One of the first relevant Urban Dictionary[1] definitions was submitted by user Age on April 21st, 2003:

A variation of the word "what". The word what is purposely misspelt to show dyslexia and stupidity. It can also be used as a lazy form of the word "what."

According to Encyclopedia Dramatica, colloquial use of the term "wat" originated from the Something Awful forums, specifically in the FYAD (F**k You and Die) sub-community. However, this notion has not been verified.


Over a dozen entries defining the term "wat" were submitted throughout the decade, leading up to the currently top voted definition of the word, which was was submitted on September 4th, 2008 by user watwat.[2]

The only proper response to something that makes absolutely no sense.

Encyclopedia Dramatica[3] defines the word as a response to the most confusing of statements or attempts at non-sequitur humor, as well as overly lengthy explanations in comments or posts similar to the usage of tl;dr.

On 4chan

On 4chan, "wat" is most commonly used as a response to image posts containing bizarre or incoherent media[6], but it has been also incorporated into a variety of recurring discussion topics, such as You Wat You Lose threads, Wat Do threads[7] and wat-inducing greentext stories among others.

File 1313208042.ipg-(34 KB, 268x265, 1285096582633.ipg) Anonymous 08/13/11(Sat)00:00:42 No.347229871 YOU WAT YOU LOSE NIGHTMARE MODE 03:26 Anonymous 08/13/11(Sat)00:01:10 No.347229955 How the f--- did you just.... Anonymous 08/13/11(Sat)00:01:12 No.347229964 Sorcery Anonymous 08/13/11(Sat)00:01:25 No.347229991 Get out. Anonymous 08/13/11(Sat)00:01:35 No.347230018 WAT

In Rage Comic

On Reddit, a rage comic character often referred to as "wat" is used to express a confused or suspicious reaction. It is often found in the f7u12[4] subreddit, and is commonly used in discussion threads as a comment face.[5]



The term's association with confusion or bewilderment can be also found in other similar expressions like lolwut, "what is this I don't even" and "I'm 12 and what is This?".

WHAT IS THIS DONT EVEN Im 12 and what is this

Wat Grandma

One of the most popular images associated with "WAT" is that of a surprised looking old woman, known as "WAT Grandma." On January 1st, 2014, Instagram user horselovermm24[15] uploaded a photograph with her aunt (shown below). On September 23rd, the photo was submitted to the /r/4chan[16] subreddit in a post titled "/b/ Finds the Wat Lady," where it gathered more than 16,000 votes (92% upvoted) prior to being archived.

| Follow horse!overmm24 454 likes 154w oc trav wat rostislavgeorgiev Wat ajavalhalla anbernardi13 isaiahpierce @devan_seaman horselovermm24 @crackkiswack I appreciate you showing me where this picture is posted I just wish that people would cut the s--- and shut the f--- up About it, it has nothing to do with any of them! jasminemellis I don't know if any of you will see this, but this is ridiculous. This is a real person, just imagine her seeing these comments? Imagine you being in her shoes? This is ignorant and it needs to stop. Yes, a picture has gone viral. Yes, it may be funny to some people. But you all also need to keep in mind that she is a real person, and she has family, and this is very disrespectful. Add a comment.

On December 18th, 2016, Redditor bruteforce42 submitted a picture to /r/memes[10] and /r/memeeconomy[11] of an image that said the "Wat" grandma had died the previous day (shown below.). The posts gained 59 and 844 upvotes, respectively. The image led users to pay respects in the threads on Reddit and on threads in IGN[12] and 9GAG.[13] However, as the name of the 'WAT Grandma' is unknown, the news of her death is unverified.[14]

The "Wat-Grandma" died today, 12/17/2016 Rest in Peace, you legend wat

Alternative Spellings

In addition, there are alternately spelled iterations of the term:

  • What: The proper form of "what"; denotes confusion, surprise, excitement or rage.
  • WHAT: Although similar in meaning, the capitalization adds more urgency or emphasis.
  • Wait, what: – Denotes confusion; used when the thread or conversation shifts topic too quickly.
  • Wat: Used when something is so absurd or incoherent that the typist cannot spell properly.
  • Lolwut: A reference to an image macro with the same name; denotes confusion at something ridiculous.
  • Wut: Denotes confusion and sluggish response.

Notable Examples

WAT Wat dude wat wat WAHT??? WAT

Search Interest

[not available]

External References

[1] Urban Dictionary – wat

[2] Urban Dictionary – wat

[3] Encyclopedia Dramatica via Wayback Machine- What

[4] Reddit – wat


[6] Chanarchive via Wayback Machine – wat

[7] Chanarchive via Wayback Machine – you wat you lose

[8] Online Etymology Dictionary – what

[9] Wikipedia – Caesura#Old_English

[10] Reddit – Moment of silence for this hall of famer champ :(

[11] Reddit – WAT Grandma passes away R.I.P.

[12] IGN – WAT grandma passed away yesterday

[13] 9GAG – My reaction when hearing wat grandma died

[14] Digital Times via Wayback Machine – Is 'Wat Grandma' Dead? The Internet Seems To Think So

[15] Instagram – horselovermm24

[16] Reddit – /b/ Finds the Wat Lady

Recent Videos 25 total

Recent Images 361 total

Top Comments

Γ Da Count Γ
Γ Da Count Γ

So the Wat Grandma has apparently died on December 17th. Can anyone verify this? Because when I search on her death, the only thing that I get are just images saying that she is dead, not any actual statements from the family.

If it is real though, then may she Rest in Peace.


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