Ermahgerd! What Does This Mean?

This popular meme is based on a real person

Using "Ermahgerd" in a text message

Tricia Goss


You've likely seen "ermahgerd" or the abbreviated "gerd" on memes, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and other places on the web where humor crops up frequently. At first glance, it might be confusing.

Ermagherd means: Oh my God

In simple terms, it's a mispronunciation of "Oh my God." It usually conveys amused astonishment, excitement, or some other strong reaction.

How Ermagherd is Used

Ermahgerd fits wherever "Oh my God" does but adds an edge of silliness, humor, obnoxiousness, or nerdiness. When spoken, the R sounds are emphasized in the word and in any that follow. Some memes include words that are spelled the way they would sound if uttered by someone wearing an ill-fitting retainer that might have just said something like "Derp."

Where Ermagherd Came From

A photo began circulating on social media sometime around 2012 of an awkward adolescent girl in pigtails, holding up three "Goosebumps" books, and wearing a retainer. At some point, someone added the caption, "Gooseberms, mah fravrit berks," imagining how a mouth encumbered by orthodontics might pronounce, "Goosebumps, my favorite books." Later, someone else added, "Ermahgerd" or "Oh my God" in retainer-speak. The memes went viral.

Maggie Goldenberger, then 11 years old, had been playing dress-up when her friend shot the photo. Goldenberger was a 24-year-old nurse by the time the image exploded on the internet. In a 2015 interview, she told Time magazine that it was just a joke and expressed surprise at the meme's lasting popularity.

Examples of Ermahgerd in Use

Example 1

Ermahgerd! The pizza man just came to my door, and he was wearing pink pants and cowboy boots!

In this example, the person uses Ermahgerd to emphasize the surprising outfit the pizza delivery person was wearing.

Example 2

Ermahgerd! I can't wait til the parrrty!

In the second example, the person using Ermahgerd is expressing excitement in a fun and slightly silly manner.

Example 3

Ermahgerd! mershed perderders! Mah favorrrite!

In this example, the person is applying the Ermahgerd speech pattern to the entire phrase, which means, "Oh my God! Mashed potatoes! My favorite!"

Example 4

Ermahgerd! Spending Sat night in the librrurrrry!

In the final example, the person uses Ermahgerd as a humorous and sarcastic way to show a lack of excitement about being "stuck" at the library on a Saturday evening.