Examples of stonks
Where does stonks come from?
Stonks is credited to a meme that emerged on a Facebook group, called Special meme fresh, in 2017. The internet slang stonks is not related to the military verb and noun stonk, “to bombard with artillery” and “a concentrated bombardment by artillery,” respectively.
The meme features the word stonks, in white, below an orange, upward-pointing arrow (indicating stock prices are increasing) next to a generic man in a business suit. The man’s head has been substituted with a plain, intentionally unusual-looking computer-generated head. The man is standing before a blue, electronic stock quotation board.
In internet culture, the stonks meme is considered a so-called surreal meme, which are meant to be strange and absurd. (See our entry at dank memes.) The figure in the stonks meme is known as the Meme Man, a kind of recurring, stock character (like Wojak) in meme culture. Deliberate misspellings—such as rendering stocks as stonks—are popular in internet culture. These misspellings are often done to be humorous, playful, and ironic, among other reasons. Thicc and smol are some other recent examples. In the case of stonks, the success of the misspelling may also be due to the fact that stonks sound amusing to many people.
The stonks meme spread in 2018–19, especially on Reddit. By 2019, stonks was being increasingly used outside the context of the original meme to talk and joke about stocks online in various ways. For instance, the US stock market saw significant declines in early March during the coronavirus outbreak. Many people on Twitter commented on the financial news with stonks and stonks meme.
This isn't stonks. This isn't stonks at all. pic.twitter.com/PDBJwexkEJ
— Max Foley-Kemp (@bigcitydinosaur) March 9, 2020
can someone at cnbc please for the love of god convince jim cramer that paid sick leave will benefit the stonks https://t.co/Lxa5W9IsiH
— maxwell (@maxwellstrachan) March 12, 2020
Who uses stonks?
Stonks memes are often used to make (often hypothetical) jokes situations where a person thinks they are cleverly making or are able to make a profit but aren’t or can’t.
Stonks is sometimes used in an extended way to comment on all sorts of non-financial situations seen as a self-own or ironic in some way. The following quoted tweet roughly translates to, from Portuguese: “Conference on the coronavirus canceled due to the coronavirus.”
— мσявεcκ (@biameubeck) March 12, 2020
Stonks is also sometimes a generic, humorous way to refer to stocks, especially when they have dropped.
Earlier this week:
Ha! 7% drop in stonks, #bitcoin calls that a Thursday.
— Block DX (@BlockDXExchange) March 12, 2020
stonks got me like 🥴 pic.twitter.com/Bgjc03hY7R
— aristidexo (@aristidexo) March 12, 2020
Stonks is became a way to make a show of ignorance about the stock market or take pleasure when the stock market plunges. The apparent attitude behind the latter is that the feeling that stock market—and finance and capitalism more generally—only benefits rich people and big corporations.
A riff of the original stonks meme, featuring not stonks, is sometimes used when stock prices fall on the market.
— Sandro (@svicent7) March 12, 2020
This is not meant to be a formal definition of stonks 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 stonks that will help our users expand their word mastery.