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Grumpy Cat

What does Grumpy Cat mean?

Grumpy Cat is a feline internet celebrity who became an overnight sensation because of her perpetually grumpy-looking facial expression.

image of Grumpy Cat

Where does Grumpy Cat come from?

Grumpy Cat is the nickname given to Tardar Sauce, one of former waitress Tabatha Bundesen’s cats who has a form of dwarfism. Bundesen’s brother posted a photo of Tardar Sauce on Reddit on September 23, 2012, where users were so taken by the cat’s unusual appearance that some suggested the photos had been edited to create her grumpy expression. When videos of Tardar Sauce were posted to prove the authenticity of her appearance, the cat became an instant sensation and the photos and videos went viral, with admirers dubbing her Grumpy Cat, which was the name that appeared in the original Reddit post.

Immediately following the spread of her photos and videos, Grumpy Cat memes appeared in abundance on every social media platform. The majority of Grumpy Cat references use photos of Tardar Sauce with comments about something negative, in a broad sense.

Grumpy Cat has become part of the cultural zeitgeist since 2012 and continues to make public appearances from time to time. Tardar Sauce has appeared on major news outlets like ABC, NBC, CBS, VH1 and FOX, along with popular reality TV shows like American Idol and The Bachelorette. She has been the audience favorite at events like the 2013 South by Southwest festival, and had a myriad of merchandise made in the Grumpy Cat name.

Owner Tabatha Bundesen has made a significant sum of money from the various products, which include t-shirts, mugs, stuffed toys, an official book, among many others. Grumpy Cat appeared in a 2014 documentary about internet cats, and even got her own Lifetime movie called Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, with actress Aubrey Plaza providing voice work for the character.

For example…

“Grumpy Cat, for those who don't know about the latest Internet fun, is a cat with a bit of a sour face, she always looks, well, grumpy.”

Joanna Stern, “Grumpy Cat: The Internet's Favorite Sour Cat Draws Crowds at SXSW,” ABC News (March 9, 2013)

“He managed to snag a photo with Grumpy Cat and it was posted to Facebook by the time the cat left the building.”

Jennifer Brooks, “Glamorous. Glowering. Grumpy Cat visits the fair,” Star Tribune (August 29, 2013)

“I met Grumpy Cat once, it was awful. (Just kidding it was the greatest thing ever)”

Loki @angjanu Twitter (March 11, 2017)

This is not a formal definition of Grumpy Cat 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 Grumpy Cat that will help you expand your word mastery.