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What in tarnation is the ‘wot in tarnation’ meme?

It all started with a 'My Little Pony' character.


David Covucci

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 28, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 10:19 pm CDT

Applejack is a character in the new My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic series who likes to wear a brown stetson hat. 

She also has a signature catchphrase: What in tarnation? 

That’s about all anyone would ever need to know for the longest time until, one day last month, a Tumblr user slapped the same hat on a Shiba Inu and asked the same question. 

It’s bemused doge channeling My Little Pony

The meme picked up steam on Twitter, but it was only in recent days that it morphed into something truly wonderful. It’s a perfect meme template: So many things rhyme with the suffix “-ation,” and almost everything looks stupid when you slap an unnecessary cowboy hat on it. 

Like such:

But it also works for celebrities already wearing cowboy hats.

OK, maybe Patrick Henry isn’t a celebrity but whatever. It works for all American legends.

Inanimate objects work great with this.

It got so good that a genius started the @WotInTarnation account to round up the best. And they are all so good. 

Now you know what in tarnation ‘wot in tarnation’ is.

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*First Published: Feb 28, 2017, 9:05 am CST