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WAX MAN WAX MAN: Ghayyaz Uddin, a 52-year-old ear cleaner, wore his tools as he waited for customers along a sidewalk in Karachi Friday. (Athar Hussein/Reuters)

EARNEST EARNEST: A man prayed Friday at the al-Saleh mosque in San’a, Yemen. The country’s opposition is trying to persuade the ruling party to join it and effectively shut out Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who left the country earlier this month after being injured in an attack on his palace. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

TOUGH LOSS TOUGH LOSS: Neenah High School’s Codey Sauer reacted after losing the Wisconsin Division 1 state championship baseball game to Eau Claire North High School, 11-1. The teams played Thursday evening in Grand Chute, Wis. (Dan Powers, The Post Crescent/Associated Press)

SOGGY SOGGY: Indian commuters waded through a waterlogged street during a heavy downpour in the eastern city of Calcutta Friday. The monsoon season starts in southern India in late May or early June, usually covering the whole country by July. (Piyal Adhikary/European Pressphoto Agency)

ASHEN ASHEN: The Nahuel Huapi Lake pier of Puerto Arauco was covered by sand and volcanic ash Friday, as the region continued to suffer the results of the eruption of the Chilean Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano in southern Argentina. The volcano began erupting June 4 after lying dormant for decades. (Federico Grosso/Associated Press)

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OUT-SPELLED: Autumn Marie Currin of Angier, N.C., covered her mouth after she misspelled a word during the second round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md., Wednesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

KIDS AT PLAY: Children played in bubbles in Dvortsovaya Square in St. Petersburg, Russia, on International Children’s Day Wednesday. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

SORTING MELONS: Workers handled watermelons at a processing plant near Almería, Spain, Wednesday. (Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

CAMPAIGN SIGNING: Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva signed pictures of himself for supporters as he campaigned for the ruling Democrat Party in Bangkok’s financial district Wednesday. A parliamentary election is scheduled for July 3. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

HATCHECK: Hats belonging to members of China’s People’s Liberation Army sat on a bench during a keynote address on the first day of the think tank Royal United Services Institute’s annual warfare conference in central London Wednesday. (Andrew Winning/Reuters)

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Ahead of the New York Air Show Jones Beach this weekend, pilots from the Air National Guard took WSJ photographer Benjamin Norman on a practice flight over the South Shore of Long Island. The video below is a compilation of footage taken from several cameras during the flight.

Benjamin Norman for The Wall Street Journal

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POLITICAL SCUFFLE: Shiite and Sunni National Assembly members fought during a heated debate Wednesday in Kuwait about Kuwaitis held at Guantanamo Bay. The speaker of parliament suspended sessions after the fight. (Yasser al Zayyat/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

BY THE NECK: Vice speaker of Ukrainian Parliament Adam Martynyuk, right, grabbed deputy Oleg Lyashko during a legislative session in Kiev Wednesday. (Tatyana Bondarenko/Reuters)

UNDER WATER: A home was nearly submerged in Vicksburg, Miss., Wednesday. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

X-RAY IMAGE: This X-ray, provided by officials in Chiapas, Mexico, shows migrants from Latin America and Asia inside a truck heading to the U.S. Local police said they found more than 500 migrants Tuesday inside two trailer trucks. The red arrows mark distance. (Chiapas state attorney general/Associated Press)

RESCUED: A man grabbed a woman who jumped from a building in Changchun, Jilin Province, China, Tuesday. The 22-year-old had attempted suicide after her boyfriend tried to end their four-year relationship. (ChinaFotoPress/Zuma Press)

FILLING IN: A Palestinian worker poured cement at the base of an Israeli separation barrier that cuts through the West Bank village of Walajeh, just south of Jerusalem, Wednesday. (Jim Hollander/European Pressphoto Agency)

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SUITED UP: The crew of a nuclear submarine participated in a drill in Murmansk, Russia, Friday. (Russian Look/Zuma Press)

PROTESTING IN PAKISTAN: Members of the Tehreek-e-Insaaf and Jamaat-e-Islami parties clashed with police Friday in Islamabad, Pakistan, as they protested against U.S. drone strikes and the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis after he said he shot two men in self-defense. (Aamir Qureshi/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

MAN ON FIRE: An Israeli border police officer was engulfed by flames after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at him during clashes in the mostly Arab neighborhood of Silwan, East Jerusalem, Friday. Officials said the officer was only ‘slightly’ injured, but was taken to a hospital. (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

BAGS OF BONES: Workers bagged bones that were found in a mine in Gwanda, Zimbabwe, Tuesday. Local media reported that mass graves possibly containing thousands of bodies were found at the mine. (Zuma Press)

IN TRANSIT: Ghanaians sat near garbage at a camp after leaving Libya, where pro-Gadhafi forces continued to shell Ajdabiya and Misrata, despite declaring a cease-fire Friday. (Joel Saget/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

BACK HOME: Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned home Friday to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after spending seven years in exile. Mr. Aristide immediately took a swipe at the decision to bar his political party from the country’s presidential election. (Alexandre Meneghini/Associated Press)

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APPLE FAITHFUL: Andrew Christian waited in the rain in front of the Apple store on Fifth Avenue in New York Friday to purchase Apple’s iPad 2. Released less than a year ago, Apple has sold more than 14 million units of its touchscreen tablet. (Peter Foley/Bloomberg)

SPEWING SMOKE: Villagers worked farmland as Mt. Bromo spewed smoke in Probolinggo, Indonesia, Friday. The popular tourist destination has seen a rise in volcanic activity in recent days. (Fully Handoko/European Pressphoto Agency)

STACKING SACKS: A worker carried a sack of rice inside a warehouse in Taguig, Philippines, Friday. (Romeo Ranoco/Reuters)

BEARER OF BAD NEWS: A policeman talked to the relative of a victim in Monterrey, Mexico, Friday. Unknown assailants gunned down a young couple, one of them a Honduran, and dumped their bodies in a working-class neighborhood, according to local media. (Tomas Bravo/Reuters)

SETTING UP: A worker adjusted a sign before President Barack Obama’s news conference at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington Friday. Mr. Obama convened the news conference to address growing criticism from Republicans about his energy policies. (Jim Young/Reuters)

REBEL CASUALTIES: Bodies of slain rebels were carried from the frontline in Ras Lanuf, Libya, Friday, as forces loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi continued their offensive from the air and ground against rebel-held positions in the east. (John Moore/Getty Images)

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IN EFFIGY: An antigovernment protester held up an effigy of Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh as demonstrators demanded his resignation in San’a, Yemen, Friday. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)

BENDING OVER BACKWARDS: Bridgette O’Brien performed yoga at the capitol building Friday in Madison, Wis., as people camped out in protest of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s bill to eliminate collective bargaining for the state’s public employees. Mr. Walker asked Democratic senators to vote on the bill. (Andy Manis/Associated Press)

IMPROVISING; A man washed his dishes on a street in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday. The death toll rose to 113 and hundreds remain missing three days after the earthquake. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

VIEW FROM THE TOP: A child slept in a hammock at a railway station in Hyderabad, India, Friday. (Krishnendu Halder/Reuters)

IN DISTRESS: A woman used a cellphone after climbing out of a vehicle that had crashed into a guardrail on Interstate 295 during a snowstorm in Cumberland, Maine, Friday. Maine was expecting to get between 4 and 14 inches of snow. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)

LITTLE SOLDIERS: Children dressed in army uniforms sat atop a military vehicle in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday. Tens of thousands of protesters pushed Egypt’s military rulers to carry out reforms and to call for the dismissal of holdovers from the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak. (Khaled Desouki/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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FRIDAY PRAYER: A man prayed at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London Friday. According to the mosque, it is the largest such structure in western Europe. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

WRESTLING WIN: Cedar Falls High School’s Cassy Herkelman, bottom, wrestled with Matt Victor in a quarterfinal match in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday. Cassy became the first girl to win a state-tournament match when her opponent refused to compete against her for religious reasons Thursday. (Steve Pope/Associated Press)

GETTING A LIFT: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited the Rosa Khutor ski resort in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, Friday. (Alexey Druzhinin/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

PASSING THROUGH: A man rode a moped Friday past where traditional houses in Shanghai were demolished to build a new apartment complex. (Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press)

JUST CHECKING: Residents checked for their names on a voter-registration list in Lagos, Nigeria, Friday. Voters in oil-rich Nigeria are finding it difficult to verify that they are on the registration list before the country’s crucial April elections. (Sunday Alamba/Associated Press)

FIELD OF YELLOW: A man worked at a mustard farm on the outskirts of New Delhi Friday. India is a major producer of mustard, which is cultivated in the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. (Harish Tyagi/European Pressphoto Agency)

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“Wat” is a variant of the English word “what” that is often used to express confusion or disgust, much like its better known acronym “WTF,” short for “what the fuck.” Although the term “wat” is most frequently used as an interjection without a question mark, it is sometimes used to caption reaction face images or peculiar images that would evoke similar responses.


According to the Online Etymology Dictionary[8], the interrogative word “what” stems from the Old English “Hwæt”, an exclamation that roughly translates to “so.” The term is also used in the opening line of Old English epic poem Beowolf: "Hwæt! We Gardena " || “in gear-dagum.” (“So! The Spear-Danes in days gone by.”)

One of the first relevant Urban Dictionary[1] definitions was submitted by user Age on April 21st, 2003:

A variation of the word “what”. The word what is purposely misspelt to show dyslexia and stupidity. It can also be used as a lazy form of the word “what.”

Accordin to Encyclopedia Dramatica, colloquial use of the term “wat” originated from the Something Awful forums, specifically in the FYAD (F**k You and Die) sub-community. However, this notion has not been verified.


Over a dozen entries defining the term “wat” were submitted throughout the decade, leading up to the currently top voted definition of the word, which was was submitted on September 4th, 2008 by user watwat.[2]

The only proper response to something that makes absolutely no sense.

Encyclopedia Dramatica[3] defines the word as a response to the most confusing of statements or attempts at non-sequitur humor, as well as overly lengthy explanations in comments or posts similar to the usage of tl;dr.

On 4chan

On 4chan, “wat” is most commonly used as a response to image posts containing bizarre or incoherent media[6], but it has been also incorporated into a variety of recurring discussion topics, such as You Wat You Lose threads, Wat Do threads[7] and wat-inducing greentext stories among others.

In Rage Comic

On Reddit, a rage comic character often referred to as “wat” is used to express a confused or suspicious reaction. It is often found in the f7u12[4] subreddit, and is commonly used in discussion threads as a comment face.[5]


The term’s association with confusion or bewilderment can be also found in other similar expressions like lolwut, “what is this I don’t even” and “I’m 12 and what is This?”.

In addition, there are alternately spelled iterations of the term:

  • What: The proper form of “what”; denotes confusion, surprise, excitement or rage.
  • WHAT: Although similar in meaning, the capitalization adds more urgency or emphasis.
  • Wait, what: – Denotes confusion; used when the thread or conversation shifts topic too quickly.
  • Wat: Used when something is so absurd or incoherent that the typist cannot spell properly.
  • Wat ¯\(°_o)/¯: Same as “wat,” but with an extra emphasis placed by the shrugging emoticon.
  • Lolwut: A reference to an image macro with the same name; denotes confusion at something ridiculous.
  • Wut: Denotes confusion and sluggish response.

Notable Examples

Search Interest

[not available]

External Links

[1] Urban Dictionary – wat

[2] Urban Dictionary – wat

[3] Encyclopedia Dramatica – What

[4] Reddit – wat


[6] Chanarchive – wat

[7] Chanarchive – you wat you lose

[8] Online Etymology Dictionary – what

[9] Wikipedia – Caesura#Old_English

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