Tumblr is known for its insular culture, hatred of outsiders and “nerds”, and love of dark irony. The slang of Tumblr largely centers on reactions to others’ content, especially negative ones.
Knowing these terms is essential to “breaking in” to Tumblr, as otherwise a new user will be swiftly ejected from the online society. Playing “by the rules” is a must in this monocultural community.
What is air?: A response signaling extreme emotion or appreciation. The implication is that the subject of the reply is so amazing, the reader can’t remember merely “great” things like the French electropop band Air. The first person to ask it was Photoshopped into an advice meme:
GPOY: An extreme corruption of “get out of here,” with an implied Elaine-shove, expressing angry disbelief. Possibly began as a mockery of 4chan’s speech patterns during the “4chumblr” era.
4chumblr: A war between Tumblr and 4chan, initiated by 4channers who petitioned Tumblr to buy the site. Tumblr users revolted, hurling racial and homophobic slurs at the 4chan users. 4channers partly won over Tumblr by creating charming anthropomorphized cartoons of both sites “hugging” and sometimes engaged in sexual congress. But the deal did not go through, and 4chan was purchased by Reddit and immediately shut down.
OTP: Over This Post, a negative reaction reserved for posts that have been reblogged to death until the user has seen them in the dashboard on three consecutive days.
I’m dying: A formerly popular pro-ana blog that was forcibly moved to Pinterest.
Pro-ana: A blog movement. Originally named “anti-Ask Me Anything” or “anti-AMA”, it was renamed to “pro-Ask No-one Anything” to sound positive and thus gain more Tumblr support.
Tumblr support: A team of fulltime Tumblr staff dedicated to answering questions about Missing E.
Missing E: A Tumblr Gold feature.
I can’t even: The most-submitted complaint to TrueOCD.tumblr.com‘s Ask box, despite the editor’s repeated assurances that “making things even” is a natural tic shared by many people not afflicted with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Tumblarity: A Tumblr Gold feature.
Homestuck: A fictional webcomic that doesn’t exist, but is constantly referred to as if it did, as a forced inside joke among younger Tumblr users. The subject of many “ships”.
ship: A fan-fiction subgenre where characters behave more realistically, taking fewer chances and living lives more like a real-world civilian’s. “Shippers” feel that modern entertainment like Doctor Who and Community, while artistically impressive, have gotten “too extravagant” and would work better as traditional three-camera sitcoms.
I know that feel: A more elaborate form of “dat ass”.
Creamsicle: A NSFW/trigger warning for brutal gore and hardcore pornography.
SMH: So Much Hugs, an expression of empathy.
hnng: It is still unknown what this tag means, as every blogger to use it has disappeared mid-post. It is unknown if the tag is a symptom or cause of the disappearances.
;alksjdf;lksfd: When a Tumblr user sneezes while posting, he or she records the sneeze typographically by slamming on the keyboard, as if to brag about their dedication to the process. Frequent “;kajshdf;lkjwef” posts signify how much of the user’s time is spent on Tumblr, as well as marking the user as a “asdf-face” — someone who refuses to wipe their nose until the post underway is completed (and in some extreme cases, until the post has been featured on a tag page).
Please be careful using the terms above on Tumblr, as the slightest misuse can get a user permabanned. This is not a site for sensitive people.