Memes dictionary transitive property [tran-zi-tiv prop-er-tee] August 9, 2018 What does transitive property mean? Italy beat Sweden and Sweden beat France, so by, er, the transitive property Italy beat France. It’s math, bro! Outside of mathematics, the transitive property is slang and a sometime meme where a person uses a series of facts to reach an illogical connection or comparison. Related words Murphy's Law, Godwin’s law, SOHCAHTOA, Occam's razor, infinity symbol Where does transitive property come from? The transitive property meme comes from the transitive property of equality in mathematics. In math, if A=B and B=C, then A=C. So, if A=5 for example, then B and C must both also be 5 by the transitive property. This is true in—a foundational property of—math because numbers are constant and both sides of the equals sign must be equal, by definition. (Hey, we’re word people, but we know a thing or two about definitions.) OK, enough math. The transitive property slang/meme, on the other hand, misapplies the transitive property to non-numerical things to reach illogical conclusions or false equivalencies. For example, humans eat cows and cows eat grass, so by the transitive property, humans eat grass. Unlike in math, just because the first two statements are true does not make the final “conclusion” true. The humor in the meme relies on the absurdity of attempting to use the transitive property outside of math. The meme apparently evolved out of the practice of sports fans attempting to apply the transitive property to sports teams and athletes. While it almost certainly predates the internet, as far back as 1992 sports fans were attempting to argue their team was the best using the transitive property on Usenet groups. It has reached the point of a sports cliché, with web sites like myteamisbetterthanyourteam.com created just to mock it. Seems legit pic.twitter.com/KDiD2KMzIp — College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 14, 2017 Through the 1990s, internet users started using transitive property to “prove” the superiority of other things, such as the best pilot in Star Wars or the most powerful character in Lord of the Rings. By the the 2000s, the transitive property was used more generally in silly internet arguments (or intentional punchlines) that tried to connect two seemingly unrelated things. I love my Mom because she bought me bananas and bananas are amazing. So, using the Transitive Property…my Mom is amazing. — JessSayYes (@justjessleonard) January 3, 2008 If Bush's failures got Obama elected, and Obama is the best thing ever, are Bush's failures the best thing ever by the transitive property? — bpw (@bpw) November 5, 2008 I love wife My wife loves shoe shopping. The transitive property does not apply. — 🥌 Timothy Rezendes 🥌 (@TRezendes) May 7, 2008 Into the 2010s, the transitive property joke remains strong. Guillermo del Toro won the Oscar for Best Director, and Guillermo del Toro also played Pappy McPoyle in @alwayssunny so by the transitive property Always Sunny has won an Oscar pic.twitter.com/kXkkABuVDo — jess (@jessilvs) March 5, 2018 Examples of transitive property I just kissed the Blarney Stone, which by transitive property means I've kissed over 5 million people. This is still a few less than your mom. @Swag_Catholic, December, 2017 Imgur Moral victories are for losers. Serena Williams is not a loser. Thus, by the transitive property, Serena Williams doesn't do moral victories. Chris Chase, USA Today, July, 2018 Obviously, because he wasn’t just stating a simple fact; he was using those words to demote those people from the human race. And by the transitive property, to demote immigrants from the empathy and consideration that decent people extend to other human beings. Megan McArdle, The Washington Post, May 2018 SEE MORE EXAMPLES Who uses transitive property? Transitive property is still used in sports arguments and sports memes. It gets kicked up to more absurd levels for meme purposes. Transitive property has also appeared in popular cartoons and comedy sketches, such as Family Guy, due to the hilariously bizarre leaps in logic it can lead to. Imgur Just Added Black Music Appreciation Month, Older Americans Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Note This is not meant to be a formal definition of transitive property 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 transitive property that will help our users expand their word mastery.