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The Most Interesting Man in the World

What does The Most Interesting Man in the World mean?

The Most Interesting Man in the World is a well-traveled gentleman who presents his studious insights about society, human behavior, and popular products, while carefully stipulating that he doesn’t always use or do these things. He is usually seen drinking a bottle of Dos Equis beer.

image of The Most Interesting Man in the World

Where does The Most Interesting Man in the World come from?

The Most Interesting Man in the World began its life as a 2006 marketing campaign for Dos Equis, a beer brand owned by Heineken. The original commercials featured actor Jonathan Goldsmith as a character named by the narrator to be The Most Interesting Man in the World. He is depicted as a debonair, cosmopolitan figure who has lived a deeply fulfilling life, traveling the world, and engaging in such activities as running with the bulls, playing frisbee with a seal, and walking barefoot over hot coals. The advertisements usually finish with The Most Interesting Man in the World enjoying a Dos Equis beer confiding: “I don’t always drink beer. But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.” He ends the ad with his signature “Stay thirsty, my friends.”

The Most Interesting Man in the World is portrayed as a man who, in the words of Goldsmith himself, “has had life experience, and has been there, and done that, and beyond.” The advertising campaign was a smashing success, taking the once lesser-known brand Dos Equis and turning it into the fastest-growing beer import in the United States. Time Magazine listed The Most Interesting Man in the World as the eighth top TV ad of 2007.

As often happens, the popularity of these commercials led to the spread of an online meme. The internet is filled with meme generators that display an image of Jonathan Goldsmith, and then allow users to enter two sentences that imitate the speaking style of The Most Interesting Man in the World. Because these images are so easily created, they cover a wide range of topics. The humor is based on an expected familiarity with The Most Interesting Man in the World, and the implied notion that his worldly experiences have led him to the memes’ (supposedly) wise conclusions.

In 2016, Jonathan Goldsmith retired from the role of Most Interesting Man in the World. His character’s final appearance showed him boarding a one-way flight to Mars, marking the exciting conclusion of a life filled with unforgettable moments. The beer company announced that the new Most Interesting Man in the World would be the younger French actor Augustin Legrand. Legrand’s first advertisement shows him navigating through torchlit caves and chopping coconuts with his bare hands. Of course, the new Most Interesting Man in the World also drinks Dos Equis on the occasions when he does drink beer.

A few things to note…

Because of the ad campaign’s enormous popularity, the face of Jonathan Goldsmith has become recognized worldwide. The online meme centers around the character’s established history as a wise figure, and follow a distinct template modeled after his way of speaking: “I don’t always X. But when I do, I Y.”

Memes tend to use Jonathan Goldsmith’s image and a version of his formulaic catchphrase. For example: “I don’t always take out the recycling, but when I do, I look like a raging alcoholic.”

For example…

“[H]is escapades sent sales of Dos Equis' beer up nearly threefold, as customers became riveted by the Most Interesting Man's impressive activities.”

Hadley Malcolm, “Jonathan Goldsmith reflects on being 'Most Interesting Man in the World',” USA Today (March 9, 2016)

“The ads featured a beaded [sic] Jonathan Goldsmith, detailing the gentleman’s past adventures. And he made us all want to drink Dos Equis. Then he fell into the hands of the Internet, and the result was hilarious. Check out our list of The Funniest Most Interesting Man in the World Memes, and you'll never look at life the same.”

Raka Sen, Vanessa Castro, “The Funniest Most Interesting Man in the World Memes,” Complex (August 11, 2013)

“Cookie monster is the most interesting man in the world”

Adan Chan @AdanChanclear Twitter (March 21 2017)

This is not a formal definition of The Most Interesting Man in the World 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 The Most Interesting Man in the World that will help you expand your word mastery.