Did you know Elon Musk is short for Elongated Muskrat?

Billionaire nerd-god Elon Musk has been in the news a lot recently due to the successful launch of his SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, which carried his personal Tesla car into orbit around the Earth. But there’s one factoid on everyone’s lips, and it has nothing to do with space: Elon Musk is short for Elongated Muskrat.

This is a factoid in the original Norman Mailer sense: It’s not true, and it had no validity before it appeared in print. It’s 2018, so replace “in print” with “on social media.”

It’s not entirely clear where all this Muskrat love started. A Reddit bot with the username ElongatedMuskrat has existed for three years, posting frequently on Reddit’s SpaceX forum. The first person to tweet the Elongated Muskrat hypothesis seems to have been J. Crowley, in 2014:

Drew, the creator of the webcomic Toothpaste for Dinner, tweeted the muskrat joke in mid-2017, to some acclaim.

But the SpaceX launch and this popular tweet by @mr_kapowski seem to have pushed “Elongated Muskrat” into full meme territory.

Now there are so many of the jokes that you can’t count them all.

Elongated Muskrat meme

There’s even a fake Wikipedia edit that shows Elongated Muskrat as Musk’s birth name and a fake tweet where the man himself appears to admit it:

elongated muskrat meme - elon musk tweet ebaumsworld/Facebook

“Elongated Muskrat” is a pretty obvious joke—certainly Elon must have heard it before—but it’s taken on increasingly relevance as he’s started to joke around on Twitter more often.

People have reacted negatively to his tryhard online persona and to his priorities as a billionaire, and calling him “Elongated Muskrat” is a dank, current way to express that.

The nickname might be insignificant to someone who has 20 billion dollars, but it’s got hundreds of people claiming they “can’t stop thinking about it.” There are some things money just can’t buy.

Jay Hathaway

Jay Hathaway

Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.