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Copypasta

Reviewed by Justin StoltzfusCheckmark | Last updated: May 28, 2021

What Does Copypasta Mean?

Copypasta is a term for a block of text that has been copied and pasted multiple times. It is often jumbled, disjointed or ridiculous in some way. Copypasta makes its way across a social media platform, forum or email chain to reach multiple users. In its final form, it is constituted by some kind of memorable text, frequently associated with memes.

The word “copypasta” was created by merging the words: “copy” and “paste.” These words represent two of the most common commands used by computer and smartphone users to take (copy) a block of text and replicate (paste) it somewhere else without having to type it manually.

Each copypasta has its own origin. They can originate from a viral tweet or post, an inappropriate or weird forum response, or an otherwise comic or amusing block of text. Ultimately, when this text picks up sufficient exposure, it continues to be copied and pasted over and over again in different places (such as social media, forums or online chats), often evolving into something different.

To draw a parallelism with real-life social interactions, it is similar to what happens when a group a people get together and laugh about what someone else said, mocking it and changing it into some kind of catch phrase or inside joke — which, in the case of copypasta, might be very long.

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Techopedia Explains Copypasta

Copypasta is seen as being similar to spam. It is a viral message that is replicated and sent, either because of some natural interest or a kind of internal command to share it, similar to a chain letter. However, copypasta is organically spread — it is a human-generated type of message, regardless of whether people consider it spam.

The term “copypasta” is said to have emerged from 4chan forums around 2006. Here, copypasta was originally used to mock or provoke new users, who generally respond negatively to it. This negative reaction somehow constituted evidence of their rookie (newbie, or “noob”) status, generating amusement for more veteran users.

Eventually, copypasta evolved into a much more complex spectrum of text types, serving different purposes. There are now different kinds of copypasta with their own particular messages. Some of them are archived at sites like Know Your Meme, where some of the common elements of the copypasta text blocks are presented.

For example, this copypasta originating from 4chan is a meaningless jumble of disconnected words:

“Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?”

Today, it is sometimes used as an incoherent response to someone who made a statement that is too hard to decipher, most often due to language barriers.

Another very popular copypasta, which may have arguably influenced popular internet culture in a very relevant way, is the Navy Seal Copypasta from 2012. Also known as the Internet Tough Guy Copypasta, Marine Copypasta or Gorilla Warfare Copypasta, it is a long message containing many facetious and highly unlikely tall tales that portray the poster as an incredibly heroic former Navy Seal. While many of the claims are clearly hyperbolic or downright ridiculous in nature (e.g., “I can kill you in over 700 ways with just my bare hands”), it is written to look serious and is widely used to mock the internet tough guy stereotypes. Other popular examples of copypasta also include the use of leet (1337) terminology, such as the famous “Katy t3h PeNgU1N oF d00m” (Katy the Penguin of Doom) story.

Some subcategories of copypasta have gained enough popularity to spawn new terms of their own. One such example is creepypasta, a series of horror stories that are repeated online (sometimes with a few variations from the original story), as type of internet urban legend. They are known for their highly viral nature and can be associated with pictures, drawings or videos that are supposedly used to substantiate the story.

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