Time and again, we’ve seen how language evolves by enriching itself from different cultures, sort of like a cook who creates a new dish every night by mixing his old recipes.
In fact, as you are reading this article, you are experiencing the result of evolution right now.
You see, English is a mutt language, one that owes its origins to several other languages and cultures, including West Germanic, Latin, and Old Norse.
However, for new words to arise, you don’t need countries and entire civilizations to influence each other.
All you need is for subcultures to feed off one another, which is something you can see clearly when you listen to how skaters, hipsters, and people who belong to special cliques talk.
And, of course, the appearance of the internet only served to fuel the birth of new words and expressions, including today’s phrase “bruh moment.”
What is a “bruh moment?”
“Bruh moment” is an expression that describes that moment when something surprising or stupid happens and you feel compelled to just say “bro,” “dude,” or any other amalgamation that captures that meaning.
For the Simpsons fans among you, do you know that moment when Homer does something stupid and the minute he realizes it he goes “D’oh”?
Well, every time that happens, that’s a “bruh moment.”
Where does the expression “bruh moment” come from?
For starters, the word “bruh” is a twist on the classic “bro,” which is short for “brother.”
You’ve undoubtedly heard the word “bro” in different places and different situations, from your best friend calling you “bro” affectionately to the media depicting frat boys shouting “you wanna go bro?” as a battle cry before flinging off their shirts and drunkenly charging into that one guy who was “definitely hitting on their girl.”
Now, the word “bruh” itself came about in the early 2000s.
It isn’t necessarily as popular as its older cousin, and some people look at it with a sense of disdain as it is popular among the younger generation.
However, like “dude” and “bro” before it, “bruh” became a very versatile word, a multipurpose tool that you could use in various situations with your close friends.
Bruh, I just bought the last GTA, and it is lit.
What’s up, bruh? What are you doing this weekend?
And, just like “dude” and “bro,” “bruh” also became used as another way of saying “really?” or “are you serious?”, especially in the United States.
Guy #1: I’m so sorry, but I forgot to do my part of the presentation.
Guy #2: Bruh.
As you can see, in the above example, if we substituted “bruh” with “are you serious?”, the entire example would remain unchanged.
Guy #1: Hey buddy, I have some bad news. I lost your dog. I took her to the park, and when she saw a squirrel, she took off after it and tore the leash. I tried catching her, but she was too fast.
Guy #2: Bruh. I warned you that she’s excitable.
Aside from the fact that “bruh” is used to express surprise and anger in the above example, it is also worth noting that “bruh” is mostly used among men, and this is because it is a variation on the word “brother.”
Interestingly, the female version of “bruh” is “gruh.”
Anyway, given that “bruh” is used as an exclamatory word that succinctly sends across the speaker’s reaction, it wasn’t long before the expression “bruh moment” came to the fore.
The expression was used to refer to those moments that warrant, and probably got, a “bruh.”
Yet, the expression “bruh moment” didn’t become popular until 2014.
One of the things that helped the expression gain a solid footing in our modern-day lexicon was a short video posted on the social media platform Vine.
The video was posted by Viner Call Him Bzar, and it displayed Tony Farmer, the convicted kidnapper and once basketball player, as he was standing in court and receiving his sentence from the judge.
In the video, while the judge is giving out the sentence, Farmer collapses onto the ground, and there is a dubbed voiceover that says “bruh” out loud.
The voice belongs to Viner Headgraphix.
Where is “bruh moment” today?
Today, the expression “bruh moment” has become a popular caption used in memes.
You can also find it populating several internet comments, especially for videos where something embarrassing or cringe-worthy happens.
The expression also found popularity among the Reddit community, especially those hanging out in the ironic meme subreddit.
Other sites that helped “bruh moment” spread are Instagram and iFunny. There are even Bruh sound effects that people can overlay on their videos, such as the one put on the aforementioned vine video.
Additionally, there are YouTube videos that revolve around this expression, including a “bruh moment” song by Yung Nugget.
There are also a few videos that not only explain what a “bruh moment” is but also go on to expand on which situations qualify as a “bruh moment” and which ones don’t.
So, what isn’t considered as a “bruh moment”?
We’ve seen a few examples that warranted a “bruh,” but were they “bruh moments?” Are there moments that some people might confuse for “bruh moments” when they really aren’t?
Well, yes. For instance, if your friend came tomorrow and told you that their mother had been in an accident yesterday, you’d be surprised, yet that scenario wouldn’t constitute a “bruh moment.”
For one thing, it is too sad for it to qualify. For another, you wouldn’t feel disgust, anger, or any other strong emotion towards your friend.
You would only empathize with him and feel sorry for his mother who needs to recover.
How to decide whether a moment is a “bruh moment” or not?
A “bruh moment” not only has to be surprising enough to warrant a “bruh,” but it also should have an element of comedy in it. In other words, it can’t be too sad or tragic.
This is why plenty of “bruh moments” tend to be embarrassing situations where someone made a fool of themselves.
Let’s say your best friend has been meaning to ask his crush out for the past two months. He even had an entire speech prepared and everything.
One day, he gathers the courage to go speak to her, so he stands in front of her and prepares to give her the whole spiel.
However, the instant he looks at her, he freezes and forgets everything he had prepared. He keeps staring at her with sweat pouring out of every orifice from all the anxiety.
After a minute or two of this, your best friend’s crush scurries away from the awkwardness that just befell her.
Did you feel how cringy that was?
Well, yeah, even though some of you might think that the above story is more tragic than funny, it does qualify as a “bruh moment.”
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.