The “Chad” Meme: How a Random Name Became the Internet’s Favorite Insult
Once upon a time, the name Chad was, well, just a name. But if you spend any amount of time online these days, you know that’s no longer the case.
Much like Karen, the name Chad was hijacked by a mob of internet users and transformed into a meme that makes some people laugh—and apparently makes some guys loathe their physical appearance.
Put simply, “Chad” is a slang term for a rich, attractive, ultra-confident dude who gets a lot of women. Chads stand in contrast to beta males, soy boys, simps, neckbeards, and other made-up male archetypes that don’t fit the mold of hypermasculinity.
In this article, we’ll trace the origins of the Chad meme and how a random name evolved into one of the most divisive-yet-entertaining memes in the history of the internet.
The Chad Meme: Explained
Chad is a pejorative slang term to describe a handsome, wealthy, confident male who’s particularly skilled at picking up women. Think of a Chad as a preppy, yuppie version of a stereotypical “alpha male.”
In internet culture, Chads are portrayed as the opposite of “beta males:” the nerdy, antisocial fellas who can’t escape the friend zone. There’s no shortage of guys who aspire to become Chads, but generally speaking, calling someone a “Chad” is almost always an ironic insult.
For example, you might overhear a girl say something like, “Ugh, all Eric does is talk about golf and his parents’ lake house—he’s such a Chad.”
There are several defining characteristics of a Chad, including:
- Physically attractive, fit, and well-groomed
- Extremely confident, often to an annoying degree
- Easily scores chicks
- Went to a prominent business school and joined a fraternity
- Comes from a rich family and probably has a trust fund
- Makes a ton of money, usually from a job in finance
- Looks at himself in the mirror during workouts
- Plays lacrosse, golf, tennis, squash, or all of the above
- Zero self awareness
The Chad meme became popular on 4chan and Reddit. It’s definitely still a dominant presence on niche internet forums. But these days, Chad is as mainstream as memes get. It’s routinely used to insult people on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
A Brief History of the Chad Meme
The Chad meme has a long, complicated history dating back to the early 2000s. Here’s a timeline to get you up to speed.
1990s: “Chad” becomes a derogatory slang term for yuppie men in Chicago
2006: Urban Dictionary defines Chad as a guy who “goes to the bar to pick up chicks”
2012: Know Your Meme creates an entry for Chad
2013: Another Urban Dictionary user submits an entry for Chad Thundercock, which is a “stereotypical alpha male; successful with women in the extreme.”
2013: The Chad Thundercock Tumblr blog is launched
2015: A post on BodyBuilding forums goes viral when a user posts screenshots of Tinder chats using a fake Chad Thundercock profile
2017: “Virgin vs. Chad” memes begin appearing on the /r9k/ board on 4chan, where illustrations contrast introverted beta males to their egotistical Chad counterparts
2018: The suspect in a Toronto vehicle-ramming attack posted on Facebook calling for the “overthrow of all the Chads and Stacys”
2020: “Chad” was added to Dictionary.com’s official Slang Dictionary.
Is Chad Good or Bad?
To the average person, AKA “normies” using the term Chad to describe annoying frat bros might not seem like a big deal. But some internet scholars believe the Chad meme is problematic and should be banished from the cultural lexicon.
One potential with the Chad meme is that it originated in “incel” (involuntary celibate) forums, which are notorious for misogyny and a generally toxic outlook on life in general.
“The word Chad reinforces the toxic ideology that incel men are somehow victims in a system of oppression entirely of their own invention,” explains Connor Beaton, founder of the podcast ManTalks. “It also puts so-called Chads on a pedestal—neither of these scenarios propagates a meaningful solution, nor do they empower anyone involved."
Chad vs. GigaChad
There are several Chad memes circulating around the internet, but the most popular one by far is the GigaChad meme.”
As we explained in exhausting detail, GigaChad is the ultimate version of Chad Thundercock. He’s depicted in black-and-white images as an impossibly shredded dude with a chiseled jaw, perfect hair, and luscious beard.
There’s no shortage of controversy as to whether Giga Chad is a real person and how he took the internet by storm. But in simple terms: Giga Chad is just old school Chad on steroids.
Chads Gotta Wipe Too
Chads, soy boys, simps, and himbos spend a lot of time fighting online. But at the end of the day they all have to wipe their asses, and we don’t discriminate when it comes to cleaning up poop. In fact, the internet would be a much more calm, peaceful place if DUDES weren’t suffering from dry, chapped rears.