Today in Memes: Sheeple

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We at daily believe that knowing your meme history is damn near a requirement, if you’re going to be an effective troll. Our “Today in Memes” segment, pulls all of the classic memes from, and shares them with our trolls in training. Study up, young troll Padawans!


Sheeple, a portmanteau of “sheep” and “people,” is a pejorative used toward people who exhibit herd-like and conformist behaviors instead of putting critical thinking into practice. Online, the term is commonly employed by conspiracy theorists to criticize those who question the validity of their beliefs, as encapsulated in the ironic phrase “Wake up, sheeple!”


The earliest known use of term “sheeple” can be found in a volume of the Emory University Quarterly published in 1950.[11] The term was popularized in the 1980s by radio host and conspiracy theorist Milton William Cooper.[2][3] On September 26th, 1991, “sheeple” was used in reference to white Americans in a thread on the soc.culture.african.american group on Usenet.[10]


In 1999, libertarian political blog Stentorian[6] published an article titled “Defining a New Political Spectrum,” which contained a paragraph on “sheeple” who are described as those who “advocate state power over individuals.” On March 8th, 2002, the conspiracy theory blog The Forbidden Knowledge[5] published an open letter addressed to “the sheeple,” which discussed the existence of the secret “New World Order” Illuminati organization. In 2003, several definitions for “sheeple” were submitted to Urban Dictionary.[4] On October 30th, 2004, a Wikipedia[3] page titled “Sheeple” was launched. On July 15th, 2009, xkcd[8] posted a webcomic titled “Sheeple,” in which a group of train riders all think they are “the only conscious human in a world of sheep” (shown below).



On February 1st, 2010, the webcomic GoodNightNeverland[9] uploaded a comic titled “Redditors Need Apply,” in which a sheep-person wakes their child by yelling “Wake up Sheeple!” (shown below, left).


On February 6th, 2012, xkcd[1] posted a webcomic titled “Wake Up Sheeple,” in which a civilization of sheep-people hybrids are awakened from their underground slumber after a man yells “Wake up, Sheeple!” (shown below).


XKCD - Wake up Sheeple


Usage History

Search Interest


[1] xkcd – Wake Up Sheeple

[2] RationalWiki – Sheeple

[3] Wikipedia – Sheeple

[4] Urban Dictionary – Sheeple

[5] The Forbidden Knowledge – Letter to Sheeple

[6] Stentorian – Defining a new political spectrum

[7] Reddit – What is the wake up sheeple joke and where did it come from

[8] xkcd – Sheeple

[9] Goodnight Neverland – Redditors Need Apply

[10] Google Groups – Open Ya Earz

[11] Rational Wiki – Sheeple

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