What In Tarnation Meme
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What In Tarnation Meme

If you've spent any time on the internet, chances are you've come across the "What In Tarnation" meme. This viral sensation took the internet by storm and left people scratching their heads in confusion. In this article, we'll dive deep into the origins of the meme, its meaning, and why it became so popular. So sit back, relax, and prepare to have your mind blown by the wonderful world of the "What In Tarnation" meme.

What is the "What In Tarnation" Meme?

The "What In Tarnation" meme originated from a photograph of a cowboy hat-wearing dog with the caption "What in tarnation?" This simple phrase, along with the bizarre image, captured the attention of internet users and quickly spread like wildfire across various social media platforms.

The meme gained popularity due to its absurdity and the bewildering expression on the dog's face. The caption "What in tarnation?" added an extra layer of humor, as it is an outdated phrase that is rarely used in everyday conversation. This combination of a strange image and an obscure phrase created the perfect storm for a viral meme.

The Origins of the Meme

The exact origins of the "What In Tarnation" meme are unclear, but it is believed to have first appeared on the internet in 2014. The original photograph of the dog wearing a cowboy hat was posted on the image-sharing website Imgur, and from there, it quickly spread to other websites and social media platforms.

As the meme gained traction, variations of the image began to emerge. People started photoshopping the cowboy hat onto other animals and even inanimate objects, creating an endless array of hilarious and bizarre memes.

What Does "What In Tarnation" Mean?

The phrase "What in tarnation?" is a colloquial expression that originated in the southern United States. It is used to express surprise or confusion, similar to phrases like "What on earth?" or "What the heck?" The word "tarnation" itself is a euphemism for "damnation," which adds a touch of old-fashioned charm to the phrase.

The use of this outdated expression in the meme adds to its comedic value. The combination of a strange image, a quirky phrase, and the unexpected context in which it is used makes the "What In Tarnation" meme truly unique.

Why Did the Meme Become So Popular?

The "What In Tarnation" meme's popularity can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, its absurdity and randomness appealed to internet users who enjoy quirky and offbeat humor. The unexpected combination of a dog wearing a cowboy hat and a phrase that most people have never heard before created a sense of novelty and intrigue.

Additionally, the meme's simplicity made it highly shareable. The image and caption were easy to understand and didn't require any prior knowledge or context. This accessibility allowed the meme to spread rapidly across various online platforms.

The meme's popularity was further amplified by the creativity of internet users. As variations of the image began to appear, people started adding their own captions and remixing the meme to fit different contexts. This collaborative aspect of meme culture encouraged further engagement and helped the "What In Tarnation" meme reach new heights.


  1. Who created the "What In Tarnation" meme?

The original creator of the "What In Tarnation" meme is unknown. It is believed to have originated from a photograph posted on Imgur.

  1. Is the "What In Tarnation" meme still popular?

The peak of the meme's popularity was in 2016, but it still continues to be referenced and shared online. While its viral status has waned, it remains a recognizable and beloved meme in internet culture.

  1. Are there any other memes similar to "What In Tarnation"?

Yes, there are numerous memes that follow a similar format of combining a bizarre image with an unexpected caption. Examples include the "Distracted Boyfriend" meme and the "Two Buttons" meme.


The "What In Tarnation" meme is a prime example of how the internet can take a simple image and turn it into a viral sensation. Its absurdity, combined with an outdated phrase and an adorable dog in a cowboy hat, captured the hearts of internet users worldwide. Whether you're a fan of memes or simply curious about internet culture, the "What In Tarnation" meme is sure to leave you scratching your head and laughing out loud.

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