Every time we investigate a certain word, we invariably look at the culture that spawned it. For instance, the term “crow tit” forced us to take a closer look at Korean culture as well as the disparity between different generations.
Lately, we have been fascinated by a particular online subculture, that of Twitch.
Not only has the Twitch community developed their own words and language, but they have also come up with their own pictographic language: Emotes.
It is fascinating to note that even emotes function as normal words in the sense that they could be originally derived from another word, and two emotes could share the same origin.
Well, today we are going to look at another emote, probably one of the most famous emotes out there: Jebaited.
What is the meaning of jebaited?
In short, the word jebaited means to get trolled or tricked. Even though the term originated on Twitch, its main inspiration is Alex Jebailey, FGC Director and community organizer. Even the emote of jebaited is comprised of Jebailey’s face looking up and smiling in surprise.
Today, many people use jebaited in their everyday lives, but very few of them know its history or how it came to be. So, let’s take a closer look at a word that has taken the streaming community by storm.
For most people reading this article, there might have been plenty of terms in the above definition that baffled you. First of all, what is Twitch? Also, what on earth is an emote?
And, who is Alex Jebailey and what does he have to do with all of this?
Well, don’t worry. We are going to answer all these questions and more.
A better understanding of the surrounding culture of jebaited
To get a better understanding of the term Jebaited, we have to take a look at the culture that gave birth to it: Twitch.
So, we won’t be getting into too much detail here. Instead, we will only skim the surface and focus more on the word “Jebaited” itself.
What is Twitch?
In short, Twitch is a live-streaming platform geared towards gamers: It lets fans watch some of their favorite streamers play some of the most popular games out there.
The platform is so popular that more than 15 million users log on every day.
Now, Twitch has a chatroom where streamers and fans can interact with each other. This means that streamers can converse with their fans in real-time, and it also means that fans can interact with one another.
Not only does this chat feature allow a sense of community building within the Twitch community, but it also gives the Twitch community space to express themselves in different creative ways, including through the use of emotes.
On the trails of jebaited: emotes
Just like you use emojis when sending people texts, you can use emotes when talking to other people in Twitch’s chatrooms. The difference is that emotes are way more extreme than emojis.
For one thing, whereas the number of emojis out there is around 2,000, there are more than 30,000 emotes floating around the Twitchosphere.
And, a big part of this discrepancy can be boiled down to the fact that new emojis are approved by the Unicode Standard, while any streamer and their mother can make new emotes.
This is why you’ll see plenty of emotes with a streamer’s face on it, such as the jebaited emote.
Because different streamers can produce different emotes, emotes act as an emblem of sorts, a sign of belonging and allegiance to a certain community.
There is one last thing you should be aware of. Even though emotes come in pictorial form, each one of them has a name.
Now, when someone wants to use a particular emote, they just write the emote’s name in the chat bar, and the picture of the emote will appear in the chat.
However, those who don’t have the prerequisite software may be unable to see the emote and will only see the name of the emote spelled out, especially if the emote in question is not a standard Twitch emote.
For instance, if you write down LULW in the chatbox, you should expect the picture of a laughing man to pop up on screen.
However, if you don’t have bttv and frankerfacez installed on your browser, you will only see the word LULW appear in the chatroom, while anyone else with the appropriate software will be able to see the picture.
Now, let’s take another look at the word jebaited
Having covered the basics, we can now take another look at the emote “jebaited.” We started off by saying that people use jebaited when someone has been trolled, tricked, or simply baited into doing something.
This is one of those emotes that needs the proper software to be seen in chat. As a result, both the picture of Alex Jebailey and the term jebaited itself have become synonymous with getting hoodwinked.
Here is a simple example where the use of the term jebaited would be completely appropriate:
Let’s say a certain streamer is playing a game, and they are stuck at a certain level. Seeing this, the streamer’s fans try to “help,” offering advice. So, the chat room may look something like this:
Streamer: Oh my God! This level is so frustrating; I have no idea how to pass it.
Fan #1: Have you tried approaching that pack of dogs over there?
Fan #2: Yeah, those dogs have to be the key for passing this level.
Streamer: Alright, sure. I’ll go check out those dogs.
Then, the instant the streamer approaches the dogs, his character gets mauled to death.
Fan #1: Ha! Jebaited.
Fan #2: You got jebaited bad.
Streamer: You guys are the worst.
Why is jebaited so popular?
As you can see, there are a couple of reasons the term jebaited has become so popular throughout Twitch; in fact, jebaited ranks as one of the top 50 most popular emotes on the live-streaming platform.
For starters, there is a certain child-like glee that comes with pulling a fast one on someone else, and jebaited captures this perfectly (by the way, have you heard about the expression “to a t“? It is great synonym that you can use for “perfectly”).
The emote captures that sense of euphoria you get when you outsmart another individual, making you feel superior to them.
Another reason is that jebaited can be really fun to say.
It’s more fun than saying something like “trolled” or “tricked.” It has the word “baited” in it, which is just perfect.
And, almost anything can be more fun to say when you add the letters “je” in front of it.
Finally, “jebaited” has a rich history, one that many people don’t know about. What’s more, many people who use the jebaited emote have no idea who Alex Jebailey is although they see his face every day.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the fascinating history of the word “Jebaited.”
The history of Jebaited
Let’s go back to where it all started: Alex Jebailey.
Who is Alex Jebailey?
The first thing you should know about Jebailey is that he is the Tournament Organizer, which is shortened as TO, of Community Effort Orlando, also known as CEO.
What does any of this mean?
Alright, so CEO is an event centered around fighting games, and it takes place in Daytona Beach, Florida. Obviously, as the name may suggest, Community Effort Orlando used to take place in Orlando before hitting the shores of Daytona.
And, Alex Jebailey has been the main driving force behind CEO, organizing the events ever since the event first started back in 2010. Before CEO, Florida’s fighting game community wasn’t exactly thriving, but Jebailey managed to change all that.
So far so good, but what is CEO all about?
Well, CEO is a fighting game tournament, which is why CEO has strong ties to the FGC, which is also known as the Fighting Game Community. What is the FCG? We’ll get to that in a second, but first, let’s finish talking about CEO.
CEO mixes fighting games with wrestling. What happens is that video game players who excel in fighting games play against one another inside a wrestling ring. Then, finalists get to make a WWE-style entrance into the ring.
Throughout it all, Jebailey has made its focus to entertain all the event’s attendees, which is why CEO has enjoyed exponential growth year after year.
CEO also hosts several other events, including the Capcom Pro Tour, the CEOtaku, and the CEOxNJPW: When Worlds Collide.
That last one, CEOxNJPW: When World Collide, is a partnership between CEO and New Japan Pro-Wrestling where Jebailey took the opportunity to make his wrestling debut and competed against another wrestler named Michael Nakazawa.
If you’re asking yourself how that match ended, Jebailey lost.
What about the FGC? What’s that all about?
The FGC, which stands for the Fighting Game Community, is a group of video gamers, all of whom specialize in different fighting games such as Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Soulcalibur, Marvel vs. Capcom, and Super Smash Bros.
Even though the FCG may have had humble beginnings back in the 1990s, today they are a huge organization with several events happening every year, one of which is CEO.
Now, guess who is a director of FCG?
That’s right: Alex Jebailey.
All this is to show you how entrenched Jebailey is within the fighting game community and how big of a deal he is. In fact, Jebailey has been involved with fighting games and video game competitions for more than two and a half decades.
Back in 1993, Jebailey took part in and won a Street Fighter II Turbo tournament. He has also participated in several other competitions, among which are tournaments for Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct.
Fine, but what does any of this have to do with the word jebaited?
This is the part where we circle back to the star of the show: the word jebaited.
You see, when Jebailey competed in fighting game tournaments, he used to like tricking his opponents. One of the things he would do was to place an extra button on his console, and this button did absolutely nothing; it was just for show.
However, most of Jebailey’s opponents didn’t know this.
So, what Jebailey would do is that he would suddenly keep pressing on his extra button, startling his opponent and tricking them into trying to defend against an attack that was never coming.
However, this defense attempt would prove costly to Jebailey’s opponents, giving Jebailey a small but valuable window to exploit his opponent’s defensive stance.
This was usually enough for Jebailey to win the game.
Now, whenever Jebailey would defeat one of his opponents in such a fashion, people would say that they had been jebaited. And, this is where the word was firstborn. In fact, the term was first coined by the FGC.
But, how did jebaited find its way onto Twitch?
Well, in 2011, Jebailey was friends with Ben “Fishsticks” Goldhaber, who was one of the first people to work for Twitch TV.
Now, Fishsticks suggested giving Jebailey a global emote, especially since CEO was still growing in popularity at the time. Jebailey liked the idea.
All Jebailey needed was to find the perfect picture for his emote.
Interestingly, one of Jebailey’s friends, pointed out that one of the pictures he had taken back in the CEO of 2011 made Jebailey look like Macho Man Randy Savage, the famous wrestler: They were both striking the same pose.
So, Boss Logic, another one of Jebailey’s friends, added a beard and some glasses to Jebailey’s picture to make him look more like the Macho Man, and this picture was the one handed to Twitch.
Ever since then, jebaited has been a part of Twitch culture and has meant to trick or fool someone.
The only difference is that rather than containing a picture of Jebailey smiling, the emote was of Jebailey striking a Macho Man pose and covered with a beard and sunglasses.
Ok, but what happened? Why did the emote change from a Macho Man pose to one of Jebailey smiling?
Half a decade later, Twitch reached out to Jebailey again. They notified him that they were updating their platform, future proofing all their global emotes for 4K and higher resolution demands.
So, the live-streaming platform asked Jebailey whether he had a higher resolution version of his Macho Man picture.
Jebailey responded by saying that he wasn’t sure, but the answer would probably turn out to be no.
He reached out to his friend, Boss Logic, asking him whether he still had that picture, but Boss Logic told him that he had thrown out that picture years ago.
As a result, Jebailey went back to Twitch and told them that he couldn’t find the original picture any more, to which Twitch responded that they would have to remove the emote from their database.
Jebailey, wanting to keep jebaited alive, asked Twitch to wait and told them that he would get them another picture to use instead. He then started poring over his CEO pictures, looking for the perfect one to give to Twitch.
The birth of Jebaited as we know it
During one of his events, Jebailey organized a large surprise for the fans by sneaking in a celebrity within the fighting community into the hotel. Eventually, the surprise paid off: The fans loved the event, and the whole thing went viral.
Now, as the event was playing out, Jebailey was feeling a sense of pride and euphoria that was apparent on his face. Fortunately, someone managed to snap the perfect picture at the right moment.
The picture captured all the different emotions coursing through Jebailey.
In fact, the picture was so perfect that Jebailey gave it to Twitch, and it became the face of jebaited as we know it today.
What happened after that?
Well, several twitch users immediately noticed the change in the jebaited emote. It was an overnight sensation. In fact, it didn’t take long for someone to develop a copypasta memorializing the new emote.
In case you’re wondering, a copypasta is a block of text that keeps getting copied and pasted on different message boards and forums.):
Long have we waited
Now we jebaited.
This is known as the “Long have we waited” copypasta.
This copypasta went viral instantly. There were more than 400,000 viewers who saw this copypasta on the League of Legends World chat.
Where is Jebaited today?
As mentioned earlier, the jebaited emote is one the 50 most popular emotes on Twitch. What’s funny is that even though plenty of people are familiar with the jebaited emote, most of the same people have no idea who Alex Jebailey is.
As a result, they are always surprised to learn about the man behind the famous meme.
However, jebaited is more than just a meme. Several people use it in their everyday lives: A kid will say it to another kid in class. There is even a jebaited song on YouTube.
So, it’s amazing how such a unique word has made its way into our everyday lexicon and has jumped out of the computer screen and into our lives.
As for the man behind the emote, Alex Jebailey is more than happy with how the emote has taken off. When recognized by fans, Jebailey is more than happy to take pictures with fans and give them the jebaited pose.
He’s even posed with the Daytona chief of police!
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.