Monthly Archives: August 2012

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On the origin of “meep”

Twitter has recently pointed out that I say “meep” a lot.

 

I don’t really remember where I got it from, and I don’t really remember when I started saying it, but for those unfamiliar with its usage it generally conveys a sense of fear or embarrassment.

So, I googled it. Turns out, kids in Massachusetts were threatened with suspension for saying it too much. ABC News:

But the nonsense word — which apparently started with the 1980s Muppet character Beaker — is causing a lot of teeth-gnashing for adults at one Massachusetts high school. They have gone so far as to threaten suspension for students caught meeping.

So in that article, they attribute the meep to Beaker. Here’s the musical version:

But another famous children’s character said meep: the Roadrunner. (Well, I think the Road Runner technically says beep beep, but let’s go with it)

And, another set of characters uses the word: The Smurfs. According to Wikipedia, “The Smurfs frequently replace both nouns and verbs in everyday speech with the word Smurf.”

Urban dictionary says:

The most versatile word in the English language, or in fact any language!

Can mean whatever you want it to mean, but the most popular uses are:
1. An exclamation akin to ‘ouch’ or ‘uh oh..’
2. Filling in the blanks where other (rude) words would go.
3. A greeting! I personally say meep instead of Hello…
4. A random expression of happiness used to fill gaps in conversation.

At Wired, they fought back against the Massachusset school’s anti-meep policies:

While we at GeekDad would certainly never advocate disrupting a school, we nonetheless think the principal’s warning sounds awfully like a challenge. We would like to suggest a few possible substitutes, as “meep” tenderizers if you will: “Ni!” is a fine and wonderful classic, and considerably easier to remember than “Ekke Ekke Ekke Ekke Ptang Zoo Boing Zow Zing”; “Spoooon!” might work nicely, or perhaps “Zoinks!“; or, if you want to stick with Muppet-related cries, you can’t go wrong with “Bork bork bork!”

And for me, I’ll probably keep using it, even if it puts me in the same league as a couple of middle schoolers and a muppet. Because that’s basically where I’ve been my whole life. Meep.