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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A lolcat.
Another lolcat image.

A lolcat (usually pronounced LOLL-kat, with the "lol" not being an initialism; sometimes pronounced L-O-L cat) is an image combining a photograph of a cat, with a humorous and idiosyncratic caption in (often grammatically incorrect) English—a dialect which is known as "lolspeak" or "kitty pidgin" and which parodies the poor grammar typically attributed to Internet slang. The name "lolcat" is a compound word of the acronymic abbreviation "LOL" and the word "cat".[1] A synonym for "lolcat" is cat macro, since the images are a type of image macro.[2] Lolcats are designed for photo sharing imageboards and other internet forums.

The term lolcat gained national media attention in the United States when it was covered by Time,[3] which wrote that non-commercialized phenomena of the sort are increasingly rare, stating that lolcats have "a distinctly old-school, early 1990s, Usenet feel to [them]".

Entertainment Weekly put them on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "Da cutest distractshun of da decaid? Y, lolcats of corse! We can neber haz enuf of deez capshioned pics of cuddlie kittehs."[4]



A lolcat image using the "I'm in ur..." format

These images usually consist of a photo of a cat with a large caption characteristically set in a sans serif font such as Impact or Arial Black.[5] The image is, on occasion, digitally edited for effect. The caption generally acts as a speech balloon encompassing a comment from the cat, or as a description of the depicted scene. The caption is intentionally written with deviations from standard English spelling and syntax,[5] featuring "strangely-conjugated verbs, but a tendency to converge to a new set of rules in spelling and grammar."[5][6][7] The text parodies the grammar-poor patois stereotypically attributed to Internet slang. Frequently, lolcat captions take the form of phrasal templates.[7] Some phrases have a known source, usually a well-known Internet meme, such as All your base are belong to us or Do not want,[8] while others don't. There are parallels between the language used in lolcats and baby talk, which some owners of cats often use when talking to them.[9]

Common themes include jokes of the form "Im in ur noun, verb-ing ur related noun."[10] Many lolcat images capture cats performing characteristically human actions or appearing to use modern technology, such as computers.

There are several well-known lolcat images and single-word captions that have spawned many variations and imitations, including "Ceiling Cat" (see below). Others include Fail[11] and "I Can Has Cheezburger."[12]


1905 cat postcard by Harry Whittier Frees

The first recorded use of the term "lolcat" is from the anonymous imageboard 4chan circa 2005.[13][14][15] The word "Lolcat" is attested as early as June 2006, and the domain name "" was registered on June 14, 2006.[16] Their popularity was spread through usage on forums such as Something Awful.[17] The News Journal states that "some trace the lolcats back to the site 4chan, which features bizarre cat pictures on Saturdays, or 'Caturdays'." Ikenburg adds that the images have been "slinking around the Internet for years under various labels, but they did not become a sensation until early 2007 with the advent of I Can Has Cheezburger?"[18] The first image on "I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?" was posted on January 11, 2007, and was allegedly from the Something Awful website."[19][20] Lev Grossman of Time wrote that the oldest known example "probably dates to 2006,"[21] but later corrected himself in a blog post[22] where he recapitulated the anecdotal evidence readers had sent him, placing the origin of "Caturday" and many of the images now known by a few as "lolcats" in early 2005. The domain name "" was registered on April 30, 2005.

Offshoots and parodies

Variations on the lolcat concept include captioning photos of other animals in a similar style (e.g. loldogs for dogs, etc.).

The syntax of lolcat captions was used as the basis for LOLCODE, an esoteric programming language with interpreters and compilers available in .NET framework, perl, etc.[1]

A short sketch titled "FANCY CATZ - teh cutiest LOL caz in teh WORLDZ!"[23] about a ruthless lady trying to force her reluctant "lolcats" to do tricks on video - played by Second City improv troupe alumnus Jaime Moyer - debuted on YouTube in February, 2010.

Ceiling Cat and Basement Cat

"Ceiling Cat" is a character spawned by the meme. The original image was an image macro with a picture of a cat looking out of a hole in a ceiling, captioned "Ceiling Cat is watching you masturbate." [24] There followed numerous image macros with the format "Ceiling Cat is watching you [verb ending in/rhyming with -ate]" with Ceiling Cat superimposed in the upper left hand corner of an image macro depicting the appropriate action. The character is also featured in a project to translate the Bible to lolspeak. "Ceiling Cat" and the corresponding "Basement Cat" (a black cat who lives in the basement) have been said to represent God and Satan in the lolcat universe.[25][26][27]

Sociological impact of lolcats

See also


  1. ^ a b Dwight Silverman (2007-06-06). "Web photo phenomenon centers on felines, poor spelling". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  2. ^ Randy A. Salas (2007-06-09). "Laugh at cat humor". Akron Beacon Journal, Star Tribune. "At first, they were called cat macros, but now go mostly by the name lolcats." 
  3. ^ Grossman, Lev (2007-07-12). "Cashing in on Cute Cats". Time Magazine.,9171,1642897,00.html. Retrieved 2007-07-12.  Partial scan of the print edition:
  4. ^ Geier, Thom; Jensen, Jeff; Jordan, Tina; Lyons, Margaret; Markovitz, Adam; Nashawaty, Chris; Pastorek, Whitney; Rice, Lynette; Rottenberg, Josh; Schwartz, Missy; Slezak, Michael; Snierson, Dan; Stack, Tim; Stroup, Kate; Tucker, Ken; Vary, Adam B.; Vozick-Levinson, Simon; Ward, Kate (December 11, 2009), "THE 100 Greatest MOVIES, TV SHOWS, ALBUMS, BOOKS, CHARACTERS, SCENES, EPISODES, SONGS, DRESSES, MUSIC VIDEOS, AND TRENDS THAT ENTERTAINED US OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS". Entertainment Weekly. (1079/1080):74-84
  5. ^ a b c Anil Dash (2007-04-23). "Anil Dash: Cats Can Has Grammar". Retrieved 2007-05-03. 
  6. ^ Annalee Newitz (2007-04-27). "I'M IN YR X Y-ING YOUR Z – A Grammar of Lolcats". Table of Malcontents, a Wired blog. Retrieved 2007-04-29. "These images... usually include a cute cat saying something related to buckets, cheeseburgers, or whatever else with strangely-conjugated verbs." 
  7. ^ a b Mark Liberman (2007-04-25). "Language Log: Kitty Pidgin and asymmetrical tail-wags". Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  8. ^ "Top ten Star Wars myths and legends: Do not want". Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  9. ^ Svensson, Peter (2008-04-24). "Lolcat site needz ur skillz". The Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  10. ^ Jay Cridlin (2007-06-01). "This be funny storyz". Tampa Bay Times. 
  11. ^ Microtrends: Failure - Times Online
  12. ^ Tozzi, John (July 13, 2007). Bloggers Bring in the Big Bucks. Business Week. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  13. ^ Langton, Jerry (2007-09-22). "Funny how `stupid' site is addictive". The Star. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  14. ^ "Iz not cats everywhere? Online trend spreads across campus". 
  15. ^ smith, david. "the unseen face behind today’s counterculture". Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  16. ^ WHOIS domain registration information results for from Network Solutions
  17. ^ Tom Whitwell (May 12, 2007). "Microtrends: LOLcats". The Times. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  18. ^ "Lolcats' demented captions create a new Web language," Tamara Ikenberg, The News Journal, July 9, 2007
  19. ^ About « Lolcats ‘n’ Funny Pictures - I Can Has Cheezburger?
  20. ^ "Original Picture, cheezburger, ICANHASCHEEZBURGER, September 26, 2007
  21. ^ Lev Grossman (2007-07-12). "Creating a Cute Cat Frenzy". Time (magazine).,9171,1642897,00.html. Retrieved 2007-07-16. "this has also spawned the digg dog which is part of the popular site titled" 
  22. ^ Lev Grossman (July 16, 2007). "Lolcats Addendum: Where I Got the Story Wrong". TIME. Retrieved February 15, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Fancy Catz". 2010-03-11. 
  24. ^ "Ceiling cat is watching you...". 2007-01-24. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  25. ^ Amter, Charlie (2007-12-16). "Lolcat Bible Translation Project presents the Gospel according to Fluffy". Los Angeles Times.,1,6069575.story?ctrack=1&cset=true. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  26. ^ Horan, Brianna. "How one hungry 'kitteh' can has the Internet lol". Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  27. ^ Guzman, Monica. "Time killer: The "lolcat" Bible". Retrieved 2008-06-18. 


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Simple English

.]] A lolcat is a picture that has a cat with a funny caption. The caption is usually in bad English that makes fun of Internet slang. "Lolcat" is a mix of the words lol and cat. Lol is internet slang for "laughing out loud." [1] A different word for lolcat is cat macro because it is a type of image macro. [2] The first time the media talked about lolcats was when Time Magazine covered them in an article. The article said that lolcats and other things like them are becoming rare. It also said that they have a "distinct...Usenet feel to [them]." [3]


Lolcats are usually pictures of cats with words in big, sans serif letters. Sometimes the picture is changed with a computer to make it more funny.


  1. Dwight Silverman (2007-06-06). "Web photo phenomenon centers on felines, poor spelling". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  2. Randy A. Salas (2007-06-09). "Laugh at cat humor". Akron Beacon Journal, Star Tribune. "At first, they were called cat macros, but now go mostly by the name lolcats." 
  3. Grossman, Lev (2007-07-12). "Cashing in on Cute Cats". Time Magazine.,9171,1642897,00.html. 

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