Ermahgerd! What Does This Mean?

This popular meme is based on a real person

'Ermagherd' = 'Oh my god!'
'Ermagherd' = 'Oh my god!'.

You've likely seen "ermahgerd" or the abbreviated "gerd" on memes, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and other places on the web where humor crops up frequently. In simple terms, it's a mispronunciation of "Oh my God." It usually conveys amused astonishment, excitement, or some other strong reaction.

Where Ermagherd Came From

A photo began circulating on social media sometime around 2012 of an awkward adolescent girl in pigtails, holding up three "Goosebumps" books and wearing a retainer. At some point, someone added a caption – "Gooseberms, mah fravrit berks" – which is how a mouth encumbered by orthodontics might pronounce, "Goosebumps, my favorite books." Later, someone else added, "Ermahgerd" or "Oh my God" in retainer-speak. The memes went viral.

The girl, Maggie Goldenberger, then 11 years old, had been playing dress-up when her friend shot the photo. Goldenberger was a 24-year-old nurse by the time the image exploded on the internet. In a 2015 interview, she told "Time" magazine's Olivia B. Waxman that it was just a joke and expressed surprise at the meme's lasting popularity.

Usage Examples

Ermahgerd fits wherever "Oh my God" does but adds an edge of silliness, humor, obnoxiousness or nerdiness. When spoken, the R sounds are emphasized in the word and in any that follow. Some memes include words spelled as they'd sound if uttered by someone wearing an ill-fitting retainer, as Goldenberger was. For example:

Ermahgerd! The pizza man just came to my door, and he was wearing pink pants and cowboy boots!

Ermahgerd! I can't wait til the parrrty!

Ermahgerd! Mah favorrrite. Murshed potaterrs!

Ermahgerd! Spending Sat night in the librrurrrry!