galaxy brain meme on a purple background

Meme History: How a three-paneled meme featuring big brain energy became ‘Galaxy Brain’

It all started with the 'whomst' meme.

 

Kyle Calise

Video

Posted on Jan 14, 2024   Updated on Jan 15, 2024, 12:08 am CST

What do Drake, Vince McMahon, and Urban Dictionary have in common in the world of memes? And how would you rank your favorite words? Welcome to Meme History.

Back in 2016, an Urban Dictionary user named “lightning guy” coined the term “whomst,” a humorous twist on the pronoun “who” intended to mock intellectual pretense.

In Body Image
via Urban Dictionary

This word caught on for its comedic value and eventually found its way to Reddit’s /r/dankmemes. By mid to late 2016, “whomst” became a popular gag within the subreddit.

Among the various memes celebrating this new term was an image that ranked different versions of “who.” This image laid the groundwork for the original Galaxy Brain meme.

In Body Image

Following the pattern of other popular memes like the Vince McMahon reaction, Galaxy Brain started with a basic premise and progressively exaggerated it to make a point or joke.

However, instead of the “who/whomst” trend continuing, it was the graphic of the progressive brain enlightenment that caught on.

Memers realized that by pairing this brain progression with any topic, they could humorously comment on anything from trivial pop culture to serious current issues.

In Body Image
via Imgflip

In Body Image
via Imgflip

Initially, Galaxy Brain memes were mostly innocent, illustrating playful takes on various subjects. But as the meme evolved and spread to platforms like Twitter, it began to adopt a more sarcastic tone, often used to convey comedic irony by taking ideas to extreme levels.

In Body Image
via Imgflip

In Body Image
via Imgflip

This adaptability is what made Galaxy Brain so popular. Whether sharing an opinion on the latest movie, being snarky, or conveying a shower thought, Galaxy Brain fit the bill.

In Body Image
via Imgflip

Galaxy Brain’s adaptability didn’t stop there. It even evolved into text-only versions, further simplifying and expanding its usage.

In 2018, the meme’s versatility was demonstrated again when an Instagram user took screenshots from a Sprite commercial featuring hip-hop artist Drake and created a Galaxy Brain spin-off.

In Body Image
@sonny5ideup/Instagram

This post alone garnered over 45,000 likes, spawning numerous imitations.

Galaxy Brain stands out in the meme world not for its specificity, but for its boundless potential. Its ability to represent a burst of brain power or new insight makes it unique and universally appealing.

For more Meme History, watch this space and subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch new episodes as they become available.

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*First Published: Jan 14, 2024, 12:31 pm CST