How to Properly Use the Slang Term "Derp"

Loosely translated, it means "stupid"

White llama looking into the lens

RYAN CHER PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty Images

Derp, sometimes spelled durp refers to a stupid action or person.

Derp Background

This modern derogatory term is a version of stupid and is a close cousin of ermagherd. If you've seen the term on social media, it may have been paired with a photo of an animal or person with a stunned facial expression.

The term likely originated in the late 1990s when the film Baseketball, made by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, included a scene in which one of the characters, fleeing an embarrassing situation, exclaims, "Derp!"

How to Use the Expression

Derp is best used to insinuate a person (including one's self) is being stupid or to accuse someone of failing to see the obvious. Here are some examples:

  • Derp! I just burned my hand on the stove.
  • Loved the article but too much derp in the commentary.
  • My dog is hilarious, the way he derps around the yard.

Derp can be used as an exclamation, a noun, or a verb.

Recommended Etiquette 

Knowing when to use jargon, including derp, in your communications is about knowing your audience. In both personal and professional settings, it's probably not appropriate unless you know the person you're corresponding with very well and know they'll appreciate the humor. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and don't use slang.