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ermahgerd

What does ermahgerd mean?

Ermahgerd is a humorous version of the phrase oh my god, written as though pronounced with a heavy influence of extra Rs. It’s meant to imitate the sound of someone speaking through a retainer.

image of ermahgerd

Where does ermahgerd come from?

Ermahgerd originated as an internet meme. On March 14, 2012, a photo of a young woman, Maggie Goldenberger, was posted on reddit. She was holding Goosebumps books and wearing pigtails, a retainer, and an expression of great excitement. One user known as “plantlife” captioned this “Gersberms / Mah fravrit berks.” Another appended “Ermahgerd / Gersberms.” The captioned photographs went viral, and inspired people to make their own versions of the image.

Initially this involved other captions on the same photo (“Dis wers mah face / wen ah read da scurreh pert”) or photoshopping new items into the young woman’s hands (“Ermahgerd/Mershed perderder”). As the meme gained popularity, the extensions of it expanded, and the original photo no longer needed to be used to evoke the meme. Examples of this include a photo of Game of Thrones character Daenerys Targaryen’s face with the caption “Ermahgerd / Derghuns,” or a photo of a surprised-looking puppy “Ermahgerd / Dergy toyz.”

Soon no photo was required to reference the meme, and ermahgerd began to be used in text for humorous effect, with or without the accompanying speech style. It’s now used to convey excitement or surprise, much like oh my god is, but with a joking overtone alluding to the type of extreme excitement experienced by a dorky teenager over her favorite books.

A few things to note…

Ermahgerd is used mostly in humorous contexts, rather than formal ones. It’s more likely to be seen online, particularly on social media, or in casual texting. It can be used in isolation to lend a lighthearted element to a text or post. However, it’s frequently used with other words written in the same tone.

This typing style is known as ermahgerd speak. It’s popular enough that there’s a translator to turn regular spelling into ermahgerd speak. The key to ermahgerd speak is replacing most vowels with er or with ah, along with replacing the with da and you with u. For example, the word university becomes ernerverserter.

For example…

“Ermagerd Er Ter Der Ter!
Thanks for the awesome birthday cake Connie Robins!!!
[photo of an R2D2 cake]”

Leila Louise Henley Facebook (January 4, 2017)

“ermahgerd i want to watch beauty and the beast sah bad”

syahirah lim @duffydukes Twitter (March 19, 2017)

“I don't know what it is but the whole ermahgerd speak just cracks me up every gerd derm time.”

Ithakaz Phish (October 16, 2015)

This is not a formal definition of ermahgerd like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of ermahgerd that will help you expand your word mastery.