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The language of the internet is constantly changing and evolving, at a much more rapid pace than in the real world. As one of the countless examples, whereas in real life one might say, “No way,” on the internet, people simply exclaim “wig!”
Likewise, those who are Extremely Online are finding new and creative ways to respond to takes—hot or otherwise—and the latest example of this is the “this ain’t it, chief” meme. The phrase first surfaced on Twitter and Reddit over the summer as a way to mock something or someone as uncool.
According to an Urban Dictionary entry added on July 27, “this ain’t it chief” refers to “something that an individual would deem widely accepted or cool to show off, but in reality, it just makes them look like a fucking idiot/weird.”
The phrase was defined on a Reddit thread in r/OutOfTheLoop, on the other hand, as “basically a form of telling someone to stop whatever they’re saying because it’s believed to be wrong.”
So in other words, “this ain’t it chief” is not entirely unlike “weird flex but ok,” another term that gained popularity over the summer to respond to questionable bragging. But this new term is much more flexible and all-encompassing.
To get a better understanding, here just are a handful of the many, many examples on Twitter:
imma keep it real w you chief, this ain’t it. https://t.co/8oXiLZZ5XF
— Kiara (@kiararomann) September 24, 2018
This ain’t it chief pic.twitter.com/SQSHDwvVd6
— Casey (@Arianas_Neptune) September 28, 2018
royce freeman, to every single defender: THIS AIN'T IT, CHIEF
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) October 2, 2018
It is decided. This indeed "ain't it chief"
— Jake Flores (@feraljokes) September 21, 2018
Taped up kicks for $530. They out here gentrifying poverty now. This ain’t it chief. pic.twitter.com/LEYHRoVHRc
— Jason Mitchell (@JasonMitch) September 20, 2018
“This ain’t it, Chief” is just how the kids are saying “Comrade, you are being insufficiently dialectical” these days.
— WAS VAPIN 🐙 (@AaronWaxing) September 22, 2018
In late October 2020 Cory Booker is gonna reply "this ain't it chief" to a Donald trump tweet where he says he'll release the ufo files if he wins and Booker will lose by 4 million votes
— bones (@Nathan_Okay) September 22, 2018
the Internet has ruined me in the sense that if a boy were to tell me he liked me I would probably just respond with “weird flex but ok” or “this ain’t it chief”
— jodie (@jodieegrace) October 1, 2018
And, of course, a few people used it to goof on Kanye West’s eyebrow-raising Saturday Night Live appearance over the weekend:
— Polo Maruwa (@polomaruwa10) September 30, 2018
adams face realy screams “this ain’t it chief” pic.twitter.com/ViYkORWsLD
— adam designated driver (@soIojacen) September 27, 2018
As the phrase continued to evolve, people starting using it in the context of “I texted chief” or “chief texted me.”
I just texted chief…he told me this ain’t it…
— Cash (@CashNastyGaming) October 1, 2018
Or this creative example responding to Game Stop’s tweet about Monopoly’s Fortnite edition:
Just called chief, he said this ain’t it. pic.twitter.com/7xv8NYDVCA
— Christopher Grant (@fcbayern_nica) October 1, 2018
The beauty of “this ain’t it chief” is that it’s so flexible, even those who aren’t very good at the internet can pull it off with relative ease, so practically anyone can feel confident in informing the chiefs of the world that this indeed ain’t it.
Stacey Ritzen is a reporter and editor based in West Philadelphia with over 10 years' experience covering pop culture, web culture, entertainment, and news. You can follow her on Twitter @staceyritzen.