Heurpf deurpf December 30, 2010 6:45 AM   Subscribe

Metafilter: Home of the newest iteration of Grimm's Law

My brother and I made this observation:

Metafilter: "Hurf durf"
Elsewhere on the Internet: "Herp derp"

The usages are similar, albeit not identical, but they both roughly serve as placeholder words for communicating someone's stupid behavior/reaction.

As we trundle bravely forth into the unseen mists of 2011, let us find some solace in the eternal laws of Indo-European linguistics.
posted by overeducated_alligator to MetaFilter-Related at 6:45 AM (65 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

Hurf durf linguistics eater.
posted by qvantamon at 6:55 AM on December 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


Still looking for the proto-Internet that used "herb derb", though...
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 7:00 AM on December 30, 2010 [12 favorites]


I have already started saying hurf turf. But don't just do what I do, you might hurt yourself on the linguistic cutting edge.
posted by Kattullus at 7:05 AM on December 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wouldn't this the inverse of Grimm's Law, as I understand it? "Hurf durf" predates "herp derp."
posted by griphus at 7:09 AM on December 30, 2010


Still looking for the proto-Internet that used "herb derb", though...

The proto-internet usage of "herb derb" is the missing link. We cannot find it, but we can find evidence of its existence, by the previous steps of the evolution, like the theatrical "Rhubarb", and the Greco-Roman "barbar".

My guess is that we'll find "herb derb" in 1940s radio soap operas, by interpolation.
posted by qvantamon at 7:10 AM on December 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


"herb derb" seems to have some idiomatic meaning in German, but I can't figure it out from context.
posted by jedicus at 7:11 AM on December 30, 2010


My guess is that we'll find "herb derb" in 1940s radio soap operas, by interpolation.

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? . . . The SHADOW knows! Herb derb LOLshadow"
posted by Think_Long at 7:32 AM on December 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


Wouldn't this the inverse of Grimm's Law, as I understand it? "Hurf durf" predates "herp derp."

As far as I can tell, the specific origins are a bit muddy; the last couple times that we ended up talking about my hurf durf roundup, there's been discussion of Portal of Evil and Jerk City as major seeds for this kind of of usage, and as someone rightly pointed out you can find a variety of forms in Jerk City strips (e.g. "HURF BLURF").

So it may be less that one seriously predates the other but more that the general form of hurf-likes and hurf-durf-likes was established (or maybe re-established?) by Jerk City back around the start of the millenium and independent communities of practice have canonized their own preferred variants. So we settled on hurf, other groups settled on herp, etc.

It is an interesting little phenomenon, definitely.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:33 AM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do you really want to hurf me?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:35 AM on December 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


"herb derb" seems to have some idiomatic meaning in German, but I can't figure it out from context.

No idiomatic meaning as far as I know, they just happen to be actual words in German.

herb=bitter
derb=bawdy
posted by ZeroAmbition at 7:43 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Herb Derb...wasn't he that salesman guy on WKRP?
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 7:43 AM on December 30, 2010


My son Herbert is known to close friends as Herble Derble.

Oh dear.
posted by Jofus at 7:52 AM on December 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


No, BozoBurgerBonanza, you mean the legendary (to Philadelphians) Herb Denenberg, may he rest in peace.


"Former Channel 10 Consumer Investigative reporter Herb Denenberg died last night of an apparent heart attack. He was 80.

Denenberg spent his life fighting for the little guy. He had two law degrees, a doctorate in economics, taught at the Wharton school, served as Pennsylvania's Insurance Commissioner and as the state's Public Utility Commissioner before his career in television.

He didn't have the look, the hair or the booming voice of most men on the air in the mid70s, but his expertise and passion as an advocate for the people made him one of the most effective and attention-getting consumer reporters not just in Philadelphia, but in the country."
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:53 AM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Hurf Durf thing on mefi is straight from Something Awful, no?

Herp and Derp are pretty much used as metasyntactic variables on f7u12 these days.
posted by empath at 7:59 AM on December 30, 2010


(example)
posted by empath at 8:01 AM on December 30, 2010


No idiomatic meaning as far as I know, they just happen to be actual words in German.

I know what they mean individually, but taken together they seem to be used in some non-literal ways. Maybe not an idiom per se, but as a phrase it seems to mean something a little different from the individual words.

It shows up in a lot of descriptions of beers. Okay, that makes sense: bitter and coarse are reasonable descriptions of a beer.

But take this example from a computer program forum: "Das genaue Treffen per Maus auf einem Transportfeld mach ich lange nicht mehr, Shortcuts sind herb-derb klasse!" That makes less sense.
posted by jedicus at 8:05 AM on December 30, 2010


The Hurf Durf thing on mefi is straight from Something Awful, no?

My understanding w/r/t the root of H* D* is that it emerged from the highly overlapping Jerkcity/POE/SA at just about the same time.
posted by griphus at 8:06 AM on December 30, 2010


er, not H* D* but "HURF DURF" specifically.
posted by griphus at 8:06 AM on December 30, 2010


noobs. It all started with Hurſ Durſ.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:08 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's pronounced "throatwarbler mangrove".
posted by briank at 8:08 AM on December 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


My reading of "Herp Derp" is that it's supposed to imply a certain degree of stupidity or vacuity but doesn't additionally contain the dumb laughter element of "Hurf Durf"
posted by Decani at 8:10 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is Derp Incarnate.
posted by griphus at 8:11 AM on December 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


It derives, of course, from hœuf d'un œuf, literally, "half an egg", or figuratively, someone who's not all there.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:16 AM on December 30, 2010 [16 favorites]


My son Herbert is known to close friends as Herble Derble.

Oh dear.


If you have not purchased an actual baby-sized derby for him to wear on formal occasions, then you are not the man I thought you were.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:24 AM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hey, speaking of HURF A DERP DERP DURR, can someone tell me what this song is? I've been searching for it ever since I saw some video of that song dubbed to imagery Rush Limbaugh dancing.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:32 AM on December 30, 2010


Chacaron
posted by empath at 8:33 AM on December 30, 2010


ah, lovely! Thank you!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:35 AM on December 30, 2010


That's Chaccaron!
posted by papayaninja at 8:38 AM on December 30, 2010


In 'ertford, 'ereford, and 'ampshire, 'URF DURF 'ardly hever 'appens.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:47 AM on December 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


My reading of "Herp Derp" is that it's supposed to imply a certain degree of stupidity or vacuity but doesn't additionally contain the dumb laughter element of "Hurf Durf"

That's sort of my vague impression as well. "Herp Derp" is like the "DOYYYYYYYY" of the 80s, and "Hurf Durf" is like Nelson's "HA ha!"
posted by Gator at 8:56 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I recommend that we have this tread again in 5 years just to see how hoppitamoppita is doing.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:56 AM on December 30, 2010


badgermushroomSNAKE: "Still looking for the proto-Internet that used "herb derb", though.."

Back in high school, in the days of the BBS, the phrase that went around was "Herba-lerba-derbidge". This referred to someone who was a pot user and an idiot. Sometimes it got shortened down to "Herba-Derba" or "Herb-derb". I don't know where this came from but I can't help but think that it must not be relevant to anything.
posted by charred husk at 9:03 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like butter, and my favorite doctor does too.
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:15 AM on December 30, 2010


"Das genaue Treffen per Maus auf einem Transportfeld mach ich lange nicht mehr, Shortcuts sind herb-derb klasse!" That makes less sense.

Doesn't make much sense indeed.

"herb-derb klasse" would be something like "super-duper spiffy". Mostly for emphazising.

Otherwise I've got nothing.
posted by ZeroAmbition at 9:25 AM on December 30, 2010


Heads-up: just found the Rush Limbaugh Boogie
posted by Greg Nog at 9:28 AM on December 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh my god, now I've got it (gamer lingo is hard!):

I've stopped using the mouse/clicking for a while now. Shortcuts are super-duper spiffy!
posted by ZeroAmbition at 9:32 AM on December 30, 2010


What is the meaning of this?!
posted by dougrayrankin at 9:41 AM on December 30, 2010


That's how I read it, too, ZeroAmbition. So it seems like sometimes herb-derb can be an intensifier, which when combined with a positive word like klasse is very different from the literal meaning.

On a tangentially-related note, Arabic doesn't really have a p sound, so herp derp would be rendered حرب درب or 'herb derb,' which has some funny coincidental translations ("escape path" according to Google).
posted by jedicus at 9:49 AM on December 30, 2010


What is the meaning of this?!

People call it an interrobang. You can also write it like this: ‽
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:54 AM on December 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is there an official distinction between the ?! and the !? interrobangs?
posted by griphus at 9:56 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there an official distinction between the ?! and the !? interrobangs?

Chess notation distinguishes between them, where they are used as commentary on moves.
posted by jedicus at 10:04 AM on December 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


Yes, you could say that in chess usage, one of them is OMG and the other one is WTF.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:26 AM on December 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


A derpetologist is a scientist who studies cognitive failure in snakes.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:32 AM on December 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Mods can I change my username to "Herb-Derb Klasse". I've always thought I was pretty spiffy.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:39 AM on December 30, 2010


That there is chess notation involving ??, ?, ?!, !?, !, !! has dumbfounded me.

I plan to use these in my future comments. And also maybe in work emails.
posted by pineapple at 10:48 AM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I plan to use these in my future comments. And also maybe in work emails.

Clearly the proper use there would be to annotate a whole exchange or email thread, assessing the rhetorical strength and fitness of various assertions, ripostes, dodges, etc.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:55 AM on December 30, 2010


All derived from the Swedish Chef's lingo. "herp de derp ing err de dippy do"
posted by five fresh fish at 11:04 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Huguenots United.
posted by clavdivs at 11:08 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


In 'ertford, 'ereford, and 'ampshire, 'URF DURF 'ardly hever 'appens.

Yet Eddie Izzard says, "we say herbs because there's a fucking /h/ in it."
posted by patheral at 11:28 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Two different narrative characters are indicated here.

Herp Derp = "I am a clueless, possibly brain-damaged, happy-go-lucky figure of fun, making an idiotic or incomprehensible statement, or performing a silly action. Laugh at me!"

Hurf Durf = "I am a heartless and willfully ignorant representative of society's dominant power structures, and I am scoffing at your unorthodox views or behaviors because I both fear them and feel superior to them. Change your ways!"
posted by chaff at 11:31 AM on December 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


Metafilter just has an accent. You never noticed. They sent us to finishing school, but we never made it past "The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plains".
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:15 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Huguenots United.

The first French orbital soccer team.
posted by Jofus at 12:29 PM on December 30, 2010


And Manchester gets the push cart yeah, that it mate, calling me a fenchy?
kidding

Naked dodgeball diplomacy failed in the Utah desert- 1982. I leaked, carry on.
posted by clavdivs at 1:37 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Orbital soccer! That's where I'm a... no wait I'm nothing there.
posted by Babblesort at 2:01 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think this is just veenflating.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:12 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


We need more data.
posted by spitbull at 2:26 PM on December 30, 2010


Still looking for the proto-Internet that used "herb derb", though...

You won't find it. There's no evidence for PI /b/ at all, really. :)
posted by lollusc at 5:07 PM on December 30, 2010


I came for the elevated discourse and erudite conversation

I weep with longing
posted by infini at 5:19 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think chaff nailed it.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:42 PM on December 30, 2010


"Yes, you could say that in chess usage, one of them is OMG and the other one is WTF."

What's the symbol for ZOMGWTFBBQ lollercopter?
posted by Jacqueline at 6:49 PM on December 30, 2010


bitter and bawdy butter eater?
posted by doublehappy at 11:19 PM on December 30, 2010


People call it an interrobang. You can also write it like this: ‽
It's also sometimes called a "Bhutan."
posted by madred at 11:45 PM on December 30, 2010


bitter and bawdy butter eater?

Yeah, that sounds like ol' Betty Botter all right.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:22 AM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Naked dodgeball diplomacy failed in the Utah desert- 1982. I leaked, carry on.
posted by clavdivs at 3:37 PM on December 30
shit I think that's the signal to launch ICBMs

oh well, it's been a good run
posted by jtron at 1:26 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had vividly imagined it being a moderately well-known British schoolyard insult dating back at least to the early 19th century, 'hurf durf' being onomatopoeia for the sound produced by someone frantically pawing butter into his or her mouth -- like 'om nom' but greasier.
posted by Anything at 9:06 AM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


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