10 of the Best Memes of All Time

The Most Famous Memes the Internet Has Come to Know and Love

Ah, memes. As social media continues to grow and thrive as it's embraced by more and more people who spend more and more time online, so too do the memes that spread across those platforms.

It's extremely difficult (and maybe even impossible) to try putting all the best memes into a list of top 10 memes of all time, especially given the fact there are so many great ones that have graced our screens over the years. And depending on which social networks you prefer to use, along with what you friends tends to share, you may agree or disagree with what's about to follow in the list below.

Whatever you think deserves a spot in a list of top 10 memes, the ones you'll see in this list are among the most memorable on the grandest scale. If you spend any time on social media, you've probably seen photos, videos, or references to most of these at least once before.

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1
LOLcats (2006)

LOLcat
Photo © ICanHasCheezburger.com

You don't have to be a heavy Internet user to know that cats are a big deal online. LOLcats refer to the various images of cats that get posted online along with funny captions in large, white text. Known as "lolspeak," the captions almost always feature bad spelling and grammar for added humor.

I Can Has Cheezburger was a blog that took inspiration from the LOLcat meme and brought it to a whole new level of popularity. At its peak in 2007, the site was receiving as many as 1.5 million hits every day.

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2
ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US (1998)

All Your Base
Photo of "All Your Base Are Below to Us" meme

If this one leaves you scratching your head, then you're likely not alone. All Your Base Are Belong to Us is a catchphrase that comes from the 1989 video game Zero Wing, so if any meme on this list doesn't quite seem so familiar, it's probably this ancient one!

According to Know Your Meme, it started blowing up across internet discussion forums in as early as 1998 and into the early 2000s. The Internet was a very different place back then, and social media as we know it today was virtually non-existent. Despite its early origin, you can still hear the catchphrase used on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and other places online even today.

3
Rickroll (2007)

Rickroll
Screenshot of YouTube.com

You've heard it played on the radio a million times throughout the 80s, the 90s and even the 2000s. Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up was a 1987 musical masterpiece that was revived in 2007.

People started tricking people into clicking on links that gave them the expectation they'd be take to a web page with something useful or entertaining — but instead, it would send them to a clip of Rick singing his classic hit. When someone fell for it, it was common to say that they had been Rickrolled.

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4
Double Rainbow (2010)

Double Rainbow
Photo Alexander Ipfelkofer / Getty Images

Back in 2010, people couldn't get enough of this YouTube video that featured a guy filming two rainbows in the sky and promptly freaking out (as noted by his hysterical voice in the background). The video uploaded by YouTube user Hungrybear9562 (whose real name is Paul Vasquez) became a viral hit after remaining unnoticed for months on YouTube, right before Jimmy Kimmel featured it on his show.

Microsoft eventually used Vasquez and his meme in a commercial to advertise Windows Live Photo Gallery.

5
Rebecca Black's 'Friday' Music Video (2011)

Rebecca Black
Screencap of YouTube

There was a time back in 2011 when Rebecca Black's name remained a worldwide trending Twitter topic for days on end (and possibly even longer than a week). She went insanely viral for her cringeworthy song Friday and accompanying music video that was discovered on YouTube a few months after it was uploaded.

The teen pop music video was heavily criticized and even hated for featuring an awful lot of autotune, bland lyrics, and laughable cinematography. You could say it went viral for all the wrong reasons. 

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6
Grumpy Cat (2012)

Grumpy Cat

"Tardar Sauce" the Grumpy Cat is arguably the most famous Internet cat of all time. She got her claim to fame after a photo of her distinct frowning face was uploaded to Reddit, setting off a wave of inspiration for new meme photos with the most hilarious captions that perfectly encapsulated dissatisfaction, annoyance and other overly exaggerated negative feelings.

She has since been raking in the big bucks from her line of merchandise, as well as from the 2014 holiday feature film she starred in.

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7
Gangnam Style (2012)

Gangnam Style
Screenshot of YouTube.com

Gangnam Style was one of those memes that just wouldn't die, and it became far bigger than anyone expected. The ridiculously hilarious and catchy K-Pop music video by Korean artist Psy was the anthem of 2012, and today it remains to be the most viewed YouTube video of all time.

YouTube actually had to update its view counter to keep track of all its views, which, as of October 2016, has been viewed over 2.6 billion and has almost 10 million thumbs up. 

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8
Doge (2013)

Somewhat comparable to the staying power of Gangnam Style, Doge was another meme that people quickly got tired of seeing, but it couldn't seem to fade away fast enough. "Doge" refers to the misspelled, slang term for "dog."

This meme consisted of an image of a side-eyed Shiba Inus that was often Photoshopped onto various background images and paired with captions like "wow," "much [adjective]," and "very [noun]." The wording was intended to resemble the very simple and not-so-intelligent thought process of a dog.

9
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (2014)

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Photo © Tony Anderson / Getty Images

Back in the summer of 2014, chances are you came across at least one or two videos of people dumping buckets of water over their heads shared by friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and anywhere else where videos could be shared. The meme challenge was inspired by the ALS Association to create more awareness and raise money for ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease research.

Everyone from big celebs to high profile politicians participated in the fundraising campaign, which ended up raising $220 million worldwide.

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10
#TheDress (2015)

Photos of "The Dress" meme

To end this top 10 memes list, who could forget to include that mind-blowing dress that completely blew up on the Internet? A Tumblr post of a dress accompanied by the simple question, "What color is this dress?" sparked a worldwide debate where some people claimed to see the dress as white and gold and others saw it as blue and black.

Eventually, big blogs were publishing long posts about the science of how light affects color perception. In the end, it was discovered that that dress was indeed blue and black.

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