Popular Memes By Year

This page contains the most popular memes of each year of internet meme history. Also significant events such as first releases of memes or when something peaked in hits is included. For even more information about the history of memes see our history of memes page!

2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995

Popular Memes Of 2024

2024 is still going on! We will be sure to add memes for this year as soon as we have some popular ones.

Popular Memes Of 2023

Kevin James Memes: A picture of Kevin James making a innocent yet smug yet cute face went viral in the end of 2023. Often the meme was quoted with some innocent text.
Big Red Boots Memes: In 2023 a strange fad went viral of designer boots that looked like something from Mega Man or Astro Boy. Solid red was oversized boots for a hefty price. So of course the internet went to work in creating many memes about the Big Red Boots.

Popular Memes Of 2022

  • Karen Memes: These memes typically involve poking fun at a stereotype of an entitled, middle-aged white woman often associated with asking to “speak to the manager” or exhibiting entitled behavior.
  • It’s Wednesday, My Dudes: This meme features a photo of a frog with the caption “It’s Wednesday, my dudes,” and it’s typically posted on Wednesdays just for fun and laughs.
  • Squid Game Memes: Following the immense success of the Netflix series “Squid Game,” memes related to its characters, scenes, and themes became quite popular.
  • Inflation Memes: With rising concerns about inflation and economic issues in various parts of the world, memes related to these topics also gained traction.

Popular Memes Of 2021

  • Bernie Sanders Mittens: This meme originated from a photo of Bernie Sanders sitting with his arms crossed and wearing large mittens during Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration. The image of him bundled up against the cold went viral and was photoshopped into various scenes and situations.
  • Sea Shanty TikTok: This trend involved users on TikTok singing traditional sea shanties, often layering their voices to create harmonies. The trend gained momentum early in the year and led to numerous viral videos.
  • NFT Cat (a.k.a. “The Pop-Tart Cat”): This meme involved a pixelated cat with a rainbow trail flying through space, often accompanied by the song “Nyan Cat.” The original Nyan Cat GIF was sold as an NFT (Non-Fungible Token), sparking discussions about digital ownership and cryptocurrency.
  • Stonks: This meme features a deliberately misspelled version of the word “stocks” and is often used in memes related to financial markets, particularly when discussing sudden increases or decreases in stock prices.
  • Dogecoin: With the rise of cryptocurrency, particularly Dogecoin, memes involving the Shiba Inu dog featured in the Dogecoin logo became widespread. These memes often joked about the volatility and unpredictability of the cryptocurrency market.
  • Gorilla Glue Girl: This meme originated from a viral story about a woman who used Gorilla Glue spray adhesive in her hair, leading to a sticky situation. The incident garnered widespread attention and inspired numerous memes and discussions about the dangers of misusing household products.
  • Twisted Tea Memes: After some dude smacked another guy with a twisted tea for being inappropriate at a gas station, the internet went to work creating many memes to go with the viral video (video not linked due to language).
  • Zoom Cat Filter: During a virtual court hearing, a lawyer accidentally activated a cat filter on Zoom, leading to a hilarious exchange with the judge. The video of the mishap went viral, and the phrase “I’m not a cat” became a popular catchphrase. Zoom Cat Filter is one of the funniest videos of 2021.

Popular Memes Of 2020

  • “Distracted Boyfriend”: Although it had been around for a few years, this meme continued to be widely used in 2020. It features a stock photo of a man checking out another woman while his girlfriend looks on disapprovingly, often used to depict situations involving temptation or distraction.
  • Tiger King Memes: The release of the Netflix documentary series “Tiger King” in March 2020 led to a wave of memes featuring the eccentric characters and bizarre situations depicted in the show, particularly its central figure, Joe Exotic.
  • Quarantine Memes: With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many people around the world to stay at home, memes related to quarantine life, social distancing, and working from home became prevalent. These memes often humorously depicted the challenges and absurdities of life during lockdown.
  • Among Us Memes: The online multiplayer game “Among Us” gained immense popularity in 2020, leading to a plethora of funny memes related to its gameplay, characters, and situations.
  • Paw Patrol and Cancel Culture: There were memes circulating in 2020 suggesting that the children’s show “Paw Patrol” was being canceled due to its depiction of law enforcement. This meme tied into discussions around cancel culture and media representation.
  • Coffin Dance: This meme originated from a video of Ghanian pallbearers dancing while carrying a coffin. It’s often used in situations where someone has made a mistake or failed at something.

Popular Memes Of 2019

  • “Woman Yelling at a Cat”: This meme features two images combined into one, with one side showing a woman yelling and pointing aggressively and the other side showing a confused-looking cat sitting at a dinner table. It was widely used to depict situations where someone is arguing or expressing frustration.
  • Area 51 Raid: A Facebook event titled “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” went viral, prompting memes and discussions about raiding the secretive military base in Nevada to “see them aliens” and other secret stuff. The event inspired countless memes and jokes about alien conspiracies and government secrecy.
  • Baby Yoda: The character known to start as “The Child” from the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian” became a viral sensation, often referred to as “Baby Yoda” due to its resemblance to the iconic Star Wars character. Memes featuring Baby Yoda’s adorable expressions and gestures flooded social media. Eventually his name is revealded to be Grogu.
  • “OK Boomer”: This phrase became a viral response used by younger generations to dismiss or mock attitudes perceived as outdated or out-of-touch, particularly those of the baby boomer generation. It sparked debates about generational divides and cultural attitudes.
  • “Gonna Tell My Kids”: This meme format involved users humorously misidentifying famous figures or characters in history, pop culture, or politics, implying that they would deliberately misinform future generations about their identities.
  • Bird Box Memes: Inspired by the Netflix film “Bird Box,” many memes and even challenges were inspired by the hit movie. Most of them had to do with the fact the characters were blind or forced to see things.
  • Old Town Road: The song “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X became a viral sensation, inspiring numerous memes and dance challenges on social media. The song’s catchy melody and genre-blending style contributed to its widespread popularity.

Popular Memes Of 2018

  • Is This a Pigeon?: This meme originated from a still image taken from the anime series “The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird.” The image features a character pointing at a butterfly and misidentifying it as a pigeon, leading to humorous captions implying confusion or misunderstanding.
  • Yanny or Laurel: An audio clip surfaced online in May 2018, where some listeners heard the word “Yanny” and others heard “Laurel.” The debate over which word was being said sparked widespread discussion and meme creation, highlighting the subjectivity of perception.
  • The Floor Is Lava: This meme involved people humorously pretending that the floor was made of lava and attempting to avoid touching it by climbing on furniture or other objects. It inspired a variety of creative interpretations and viral videos.
  • Savage Patrick: This meme features an image of Patrick Star from the animated TV show “SpongeBob SquarePants” with a menacing expression. It was often paired with captions depicting moments of cleverness or audacity.
  • Surprised Pikachu: This meme features a screenshot from the Pokémon animated series, showing Pikachu with a shocked expression. It was used to express surprise or disbelief in various situations, often accompanied by humorous captions.
  • Bongo Cat: This meme originated from a simple animation of a cat playing the bongos. It quickly became popular on social media, with users adding different musical instruments and backgrounds to the animation.

Popular Memes Of 2017

  • Distracted Boyfriend: This meme features a stock photo of a man checking out another woman while his girlfriend looks on disapprovingly. It was widely used to depict situations involving temptation or distraction.
  • Expanding Brain: This meme involves a series of images showing an expanding brain, with each image accompanied by text representing increasingly complex or absurd ideas.
  • Salt Bae: Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe, known as “Salt Bae,” became a meme sensation after a video of him flamboyantly sprinkling salt on a piece of meat went viral. The meme was often used to depict someone showing off or performing a simple task in an exaggerated manner.
  • Roll Safe: This meme features a screenshot of actor Kayode Ewumi pointing to his temple with a caption that suggests clever or sarcastic advice, often followed by a counterargument pointing out the flaw in the advice.
  • The Floor Is: This meme involves people humorously pretending that the floor is made of lava and attempting to avoid touching it by climbing on furniture or other objects. It inspired a variety of creative interpretations and viral videos.
  • Mocking SpongeBob: This meme features an image of SpongeBob SquarePants with a distorted face, accompanied by alternating uppercase and lowercase text mocking someone or something. It became popular for conveying sarcasm or ridicule.
  • Cash Me Outside / How Bow Dah: This meme originated from an episode of the Dr. Phil show featuring a rebellious teenage girl challenging the audience to “cash her outside, how about that?” The phrase became a viral sensation and was often used humorously in various contexts.
  • Blinking White Guy: This meme features a GIF of YouTuber Drew Scanlon, blinking in surprise during a video. It was often used to express disbelief or confusion in reaction to various situations.

Popular Memes Of 2016

  • Harambe: Harambe, a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, became the subject of a meme after he was shot and killed when a child fell into his enclosure. The meme often involved humorous tributes and references to his death.
  • Evil Kermit: This meme involves a screenshot from the Muppets featuring Kermit the Frog talking to his evil doppelganger. It was used to depict inner thoughts or conflicting desires.
  • Mannequin Challenge: The Mannequin Challenge was a viral internet trend where people remained frozen in action like mannequins while a camera moved around them. It gained widespread participation from individuals and groups, including celebrities and organizations.
  • Damn Daniel: This meme originated from a viral video where one teenager repeatedly complimented his friend Daniel’s outfits, often exclaiming “Damn, Daniel!” The phrase and video became widespread and were parodied in various contexts.
  • Pokemon Go: With the release of the augmented reality game “Pokémon Go,” memes and media related to the game’s mechanics, community, and experiences became popular throughout 2016.
  • Arthur Fist: This meme involves a screenshot from the children’s TV show “Arthur,” featuring the character Arthur clenched in a fist with a determined expression. It was used to express frustration or anger.

Popular Memes Of 2015

  • Pepe the Frog: Pepe the Frog, originally a character from a comic series, became widely used in memes across the internet. Unfortunately, it was later co-opted by extremist groups, leading to controversy surrounding its use.
  • Crying Michael Jordan: A photoshopped image of basketball legend Michael Jordan tearing up during his Hall of Fame induction speech became a popular meme used to express disappointment or sadness.
  • Hotline Bling Dance: Drake’s dance moves from his music video for “Hotline Bling” spawned countless memes and parodies, with people editing him into various humorous situations.
  • What Are Those?: This meme originated from a Vine video where someone comments on a police officer’s shoes, asking, “What are those?” It was widely used to mock or ridicule someone’s footwear. However, maybe just coincidence, but in the animated movie Hercules, Hades asked one of his minions the same question after seeing his flashy sandals.
  • Netflix and Chill: The phrase “Netflix and Chill” became a popular euphemism for inviting someone over for casual sex, spawning numerous memes and jokes.
  • Left Shark: During Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show, one of the backup dancers dressed as a shark garnered attention for its seemingly off-beat dance moves, spawning the “Left Shark” meme.
  • The Dress (Black and Blue or White and Gold): A photograph of a dress went viral after people debated whether it was black and blue or white and gold. The optical illusion sparked intense discussions and memes about color perception.

Popular Memes Of 2014

  • The Ice Bucket Challenge: The Ice Bucket Challenge was a viral social media trend aimed at raising awareness and funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research. Participants would film themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads and then nominate others to do the same.
  • Turn Down for What: The song “Turn Down for What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon became a popular meme in 2014, often used in videos where people or characters display exaggerated reactions or dance moves.
  • But That’s None of My Business: This meme features an image of Kermit the Frog sipping tea with the caption “But that’s none of my business.” It was used to express disapproval or to sarcastically comment on someone else’s actions or statements.

Popular Memes Of 2013

  • Harlem Shake: The Harlem Shake meme involved a short video set to the song “Harlem Shake” by Baauer. It typically started with one person dancing alone in a group setting before the beat dropped, prompting everyone else to join in with wild costumes and often bizarre dance moves.
  • The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?): The song “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” by Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis went viral, inspiring numerous parodies, remixes, and memes based on its quirky lyrics and music video.
  • Doge: The Doge meme featuring a Shiba Inu dog with multicolored text in Comic Sans font became popular in 2013. The dog’s image was often accompanied by humorous phrases written in broken English, such as “much wow” and “very excite.”
  • Overly Attached Girlfriend: The Overly Attached Girlfriend meme originated from a YouTube video parodying Justin Bieber’s song “Boyfriend.” The woman in the video, Laina Morris, became known as the “Overly Attached Girlfriend” and was featured in numerous memes.
  • Angry Chef Meme: Gordon Ramsey, known for his temper and no nonsense attitude, became a meme in 2013 for being a hateful chef, usually insulting someone’s cooking.

Popular Memes Of 2012

  • Gangnam Style: The music video for “Gangnam Style” by South Korean artist Psy went viral in 2012, becoming the first YouTube video to reach one billion views (now over 5 billion!). The song’s catchy tune and eccentric dance moves inspired countless parodies and memes.
  • Grumpy Cat: Grumpy Cat, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, became an internet sensation in 2012 due to her perpetually grumpy expression. Her image was widely shared online, often accompanied by sarcastic or pessimistic captions. One of the most popular memes ever.
  • Bad Luck Brian: After Kyle Edward Craven posted his photo on Reddit in 2012, he quickly became a meme. The main concept is something good happens on the first text, followed by an ironic bad luck coincident.
  • Kony 2012: The “Kony 2012” campaign aimed to raise awareness about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and his crimes. The campaign’s documentary video went viral, sparking discussions about activism and the power of social media.
  • Ermahgerd: The “Ermahgerd” meme featured a photo of a young girl holding several Goosebumps books, accompanied by intentionally misspelled captions expressing excitement or enthusiasm.
  • McKayla Maroney Is Not Impressed: This meme originated from a photo of Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney looking unimpressed while receiving her silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The image was edited into various situations where someone expresses disappointment or disinterest.
  • Sudden Clarity Clarence: This meme features a photograph of a young man with a thoughtful expression, often accompanied by captions expressing sudden realizations or epiphanies.

Popular Memes Of 2011

  • Nyan Cat: Nyan Cat is an animated GIF of a cat with a Pop-Tart body flying through space, leaving a rainbow trail behind it. The looped animation is set to a catchy tune and became one of the most iconic memes of 2011.
  • Rebecca Black – Friday: Rebecca Black’s music video for the song “Friday” went viral in 2011, garnering widespread attention and criticism for its simple and horrible lyrics and production values. The song became a subject of parody and remixes. At one point it was the most disliked video on YouTube with over 170 views as of 2024.
  • Planking: Planking was a fad where people would lie face down in unusual or unexpected locations and have someone take a photo of them. The trend gained popularity on social media platforms, with participants trying to outdo each other with creative plank poses.
  • Success Kid: This meme features a photo of a determined-looking baby clenching his fist with a caption describing a small triumph or accomplishment. It became widely used to express moments of success or satisfaction. Although uploaded in 2007, the photo didn’t become a meme until 2011.
  • Scumbag Steve: Scumbag Steve is an featuring a photo of a young man wearing a backward cap, often accompanied by captions portraying him as selfish, irresponsible, or inconsiderate. The meme originated on Reddit.
  • X All the Y (Clean All The Things): This meme format involves the phrase “X All the Y,” where “X” represents a verb and “Y” represents a noun. It was used to express enthusiasm or determination to complete a task or activity.

Popular Memes Of 2010

  • Double Rainbow: The “Double Rainbow” viral video, featuring Paul “Bear” Vasquez’s emotional reaction to witnessing a double rainbow in Yosemite National Park, went viral after posting in January 2010. His ecstatic commentary became a subject of remixes and parodies.
  • Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife: This meme originated from a news interview with Antoine Dodson, where he warned viewers to “hide yo kids, hide yo wife” after an intruder entered his sister’s home. The quote was remixed into a popular song and became widely recognized.
  • Sad Keanu: A paparazzi photo of actor Keanu Reeves sitting alone on a park bench looking forlorn sparked the “Sad Keanu” meme. The image was edited into various humorous and absurd situations to express sympathy or amusement.

Popular Memes Of 2009

  • David After Dentist: The “David After Dentist” video features a young boy named David high on anesthesia after a dental procedure, asking philosophical questions and making amusing remarks. The video went viral in 2009 and became a popular meme.
  • “Auto-Tune the News”: This meme involved auto-tuning news clips and turning them into catchy songs. The “Auto-Tune the News” series, created by The Gregory Brothers, gained popularity for its humorous remixes of news segments.
  • Shit My Dad Says: This meme originated from a Twitter account created by Justin Halpern, featuring humorous and often profane quotes from his father. The account gained a large following and inspired a book and television series.
  • Susan Boyle: Susan Boyle, a contestant on “Britain’s Got Talent,” gained widespread attention in 2009 for her powerful singing performance. Her audition video became a viral sensation and spawned numerous memes and parodies.
  • Rage Comics: Rage comics along with troll face started showing crude drawing done simply which showed strange characters, and became a new viral fad on Reddit, 4chan, and also is now still on memebase.

Popular Memes Of 2008

  • Rickrolling: Rickrolling reached its peak of popularity and is known worldwide as an internet trick, showing the Rick Astly music video for “Never Gonna Give You Up“.
  • Trollface: The “Trollface” meme, featuring a crudely drawn face with a mischievous grin, became synonymous with internet trolling and mischief. It was used to denote trolling behavior or to accompany humorous or provocative comments.
  • Fail Whale: The image Twitter used whenever outages or downtime on their website happened. Web designer and Twitter user Jen Simmons is credited with coining the viral term.

Popular Memes Of 2007

  • I Can Has Cheezburger?: The “I Can Has Cheezburger?” is a viral meme that also ended up being a website by the same name. Lolcats fall in the same category.
  • Charlie Bit My Finger: “Charlie Bit My Finger” is a viral video featuring two young boys, one of whom gets his finger bitten by his baby brother. The video became a popular viral meme in 2007, with people referencing the iconic line, “Charlie bit me!”
  • Chocolate Rain: “Chocolate Rain” is a song by Tay Zonday that went viral in 2007. The song’s deep voice and catchy melody, combined with its enigmatic lyrics, made it a memorable internet sensation.
  • Dramatic Chipmunk: This meme featured a short video clip of a chipmunk turning its head dramatically, accompanied by suspenseful music. The clip was often used as a reaction or to emphasize a surprising or dramatic moment.
  • Leave Britney Alone!: Cara Cunningham’s (formerly Chris Crocker) emotional video defending Britney Spears, titled “Leave Britney Alone,” went viral in 2007. Cara’s passionate plea sparked discussions about celebrity culture and online harassment.
  • Keyboard Cat: Keyboard Cat is an internet meme featuring a video of a cat named Fatso wearing a shirt and “playing” an upbeat tune on an electronic keyboard. The video was often used to accompany footage of people failing or embarrassing themselves. Different songs have been put behind the viral video. Keyboard Cat has over 75 million views on YouTube.

Popular Memes Of 2006

  • The Rickroll: “Rickroll/Rickrolling” refers to the act of tricking someone into clicking on a hyperlink that leads to the music video for Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
  • The Evolution of Dance: Comedian Judson Laipply’s video “The Evolution of Dance,” in which he performs a humorous routine showcasing popular dance moves throughout history, went viral online. The video became one of the most-watched clips on YouTube in 2006.
  • Chuck Norris Facts: The “Chuck Norris Facts” meme, which consists of humorous and exaggerated statements about the martial artist and actor Chuck Norris’s toughness and abilities, gained popularity in 2006. The meme spread rapidly across internet forums and social media platforms.
  • LOLCats”: LOLCats featured images of cats with funny captions written in a specific style known as “lolspeak.” The memes gained even more popularity in 2007, with countless images and was related to websites and memes such as “I can has cheezburger?”.

Popular Memes Of 2005

  • Charlie the Unicorn: “Charlie the Unicorn” is an animated web series created by Jason Steele. The series follows the adventures of Charlie, a skeptical unicorn, and his two hyperactive and eccentric friends. It gained a cult following and spawned numerous memes and references.

Popular Memes Of 2004

  • Numa Numa: Gary Brolsma’s webcam video of him lip-syncing and dancing to the song “Dragostea Din Tei” by Moldovan pop group O-Zone became one of the earliest viral sensations. The video, also known as the “Numa Numa Dance,” gained widespread popularity and inspired countless imitations and remixes.
  • This Land: JibJab’s animated political satire video “This Land” gained widespread attention during the 2004 United States presidential election. The video featured animated caricatures of George W. Bush and John Kerry engaging in a humorous musical debate.

Popular Memes Of 2003

  • The End of the World: A flash animation by Albino Blacksheep titled “The End of the World” humorously depicted various global crises and events in a rapid-fire sequence. The animation gained popularity in 2003 and remained a staple of internet culture for years.
  • Star Wars Kid: A video surfaced online featuring a teenager mimicking lightsaber moves from the Star Wars franchise in a school gym. The video gained viral popularity in 2003, leading to widespread attention and various parodies and remixes.
  • Badgers (Badger Badger Badger): “Badger Badger Badger” is a flash animation loop featuring dancing badgers and mushrooms and a repeating chorus of the word “badger.”

Popular Memes Of 2002

Popular Memes Of 2001

  • Peanut Butter Jelly Time: The “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” meme featured an animated dancing banana set to the song “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” by the Buckwheat Boyz. The meme gained popularity in 2003 and became a staple of internet culture.
  • YTMND: “You’re the Man Now, Dog!” (YTMND) was a website that allowed users to create and share multimedia content, including images, GIFs, and audio loops.

Popular Memes Of 2000

  • Homestar Runner: A spoof on children’s books, Homestar Runner was a popular silly website full of flash animation of cartoon characters acting out. Homestar Runner had many viral jokes and was created by Matt and Mike Chapman.

Popular Memes Of 1999

  • The “All Your Base Are Belong to Us” meme: Originating from a poorly translated intro in the video game “Zero Wing,” this phrase became a catchphrase on internet forums and spawned countless parodies and remixes.

Popular Memes Of 1998

  • Hampster Dance: “Hamster Dance” website is released, soon to be one of the biggest internet memes of all-time.

Popular Memes Of 1997

  • Bert is Evil: This meme originated from a website created by Dino Ignacio, which featured manipulated images of Sesame Street character Bert appearing alongside infamous historical figures and events. The meme gained attention for its surreal and sometimes controversial imagery.

Popular Memes Of 1996

Still looking for more memes to add for 1996.

Popular Memes Of 1995

  • Dancing Baby (Baby Cha-Cha-Cha): The animated 3D baby dancing is released to the world, credited to being one of if not the first big internet meme. Debatable if its spooky or cute, the animation was saved as a .avi or gif file that repeated, often played with the song “Hooked On A Feeling” by Blue Swede.