Where does herp derp come from?
Derp grew out of South Park in the early 2000s, and herp derp made it derpier. Part of rage comics, or crudely drawn web comics depicting various emotions, the herp derp face and expression was born as a reaction to something considered stupid or contemptible. The herp in herp derp is rhyming reduplication.
The original herp derp comic appeared on Reddit in 2010. It showed someone attempting to make a new rage comics face but criticized the face as poorly drawn. The phrase harp darp was created a few months later when a person imposed the herp derp face over an apparent likeness: some bird droppings.
2011 saw the launch of harpdarp.com, a website whose only content is the herp derp face. That was the same year herp derp earned its entry into Urban Dictionary.
In 2014, a YouTuber, schmoyoho, released a song, “Herp de Derp,” about a romantically awkward woman.
A popular Firefox and Chrome extension, aptly called Herp Derp YouTube Comments, converts insufferable comments on the site to herp derps.
Examples of herp derp
Who uses herp derp?
Although it technically began as harp darp, its variant, herp derp, has become more common. The phrase, the face, or both can be employed if someone—or oneself—is acting or saying something seen as dumb, absent-minded, or clumsy (e.g., Welp, herp derp, you didn’t put any money in the parking meter, so there’s your ticket.).
Go to grab coffee and nearly get hit three times. By people who don't know how to yield or stop. My favorite part is getting a green arrow and still having the car on the other side go herp derp I can go as well!!! #coffee
— Sara Crawley (@Scrawleyart) August 16, 2018
Herp derp captions image macros online, often when people’s faces are seen as looking stupid or ugly. This application, and others, has received pushback for mocking people who are differently-abled.
This is not meant to be a formal definition of herp derp like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of herp derp that will help our users expand their word mastery.