If you spend any time on the internet, you're sure to run into a number of memes and phrases that you might not understand. Some of these are even about death, so nothing is off-limits in cyberspace. One such meme that's recently gained a lot of attention is "RIP In Peace."
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While it's not unusual to say rest in peace, the language of this meme is very confusing. Most notably, it's a redundant repetition of "in peace." It seems to be saying "Rest In Peace In Peace" which simply doesn't make sense.
If this saying is so unclear, why do people say "RIP In Peace" on purpose? Where did this meme come from, and when will you see it used? Better yet, what does this phrase show us about the evolution of online condolences?
'RIP In Peace' Origin and Meme Explained
The best way to think of the phrase "RIP In Peace" is as slang. It's an online slang expression that's redundant on purpose. It's occasionally used as a way to commemorate someone who legitimately passed away, but it's more likely used in relation to an "internet death."
What exactly is an internet death? This is when someone has been the target of an internet death hoax, or when there are unfounded rumors of someone's death found online. It's a joking way to "honor" someone's supposed death, though it's not meant to be taken seriously.
Origin of 'RIP In Peace'
Where did this phrase come from? "RIP In Peace" was first seen in a forum in 2007. It was posted to lament the death of a professional skateboarder. It likely started as a typo or a misunderstanding of the real phrase, but it quickly spread as a joke.
Others have said it originates from a teen's memorial page for their grandfather. On the page, the teen wrote "rip in peace grandad," and this is also seen as a possible origin for the phrase. It's most often used in internet death hoaxes, but it likely came from an unfortunate typo.
Difference between 'RIP' and 'RIP In Peace'
How does "RIP" differ from the meme "RIP In Peace?" First and foremost, "RIP In Peace" is almost always used as a joke. While it's possible for it to be a mere typo intending the same thing, most online users intend it as a redundant phrase to hint at an internet death or symbolic death.
Phrases develop over time. The Latin phrase requiescat in pace became known as our modern-day "RIP" or Rest in Peace, and even this wasn't set in stone. The development and spread of "RIP In Peace" only goes to show that languages are always evolving and changing to adapt to current needs.
When "RIP" was first coined hundreds of years ago, the internet couldn't have been predicted. There was no such thing as an "internet death" or so-called death hoaxes. Things were much more black and white. Today, meme culture is all about nuance and not taking anything too seriously, including death.
Where You'll See 'RIP In Peace' Around the Web
There are a lot of places you'll encounter "RIP In Peace" around the web. Anywhere people feel free to share their thoughts on the internet is a place where you'll find these memes in action.
The most common place you'll see "RIP In Peace" is on internet forums. This is typical for niche forums, video game forums, and anywhere else you're likely to encounter a younger population.
It's thought that this phrase came from a skateboarding forum back in 2007, but it's only spread since then. You'll also see it on the forum site Reddit which is where memes like this really thrive.
2. Video games
Since "RIP In Peace" is used for fictional deaths or death hoaxes, it's common for this phrase to be used on video games. In multiplayer games where users can speak to each other or chat, you'll find "RIP In Peace" after a defeat or sudden character death.
In this setting, it's intended as a lighthearted joke. Video games are home to a lot of death-related memes like the infamous press f to pay respects.
3. Social media
Like most things online, this meme has also made its way to social media. It's commonly used on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube as a way to express feelings in a joking manner.
For example, an exasperated student might post a status saying "RIP In Peace to me after writing this essay." The repetition of words shows that this is meant as a joke, not something to be taken seriously.
4. Death hoax
Lastly, this term is used most frequently online in relation to an internet death hoax. This is when someone, usually a celebrity, is said to be dead online. These are debunked, and it's nothing more than a poor taste rumor.
In response to the news of someone's death being debunked, users might respond with "RIP In Peace." This pokes fun at the hoax, showing that the internet meme culture is always evolving and adapting to social change.
Death and the Internet
The internet is a wide place, full of a lot of unique languages, definitions, and social status. Death is handled differently on the internet, and the way it's treated could be off-putting for someone unfamiliar with these unique standards.
Before the rise of the internet, death was very black and white. Now, there's digital death, death hoaxes, and misleading news that taint the way death is viewed. In addition, physical death doesn't mean an end to your digital legacy. All of these moving parts make up the internet's complex relationship with death and dying.
While it might sound morbid for there to be so many aspects of meme culture relating to the internet, this is just one of the many ways people come to terms with their own mortality. We're all going to die. Why not poke fun at it while we can? "RIP In Peace" might have begun as a typo, but it's grown into a way to bring humor into a world of uncertainty.
Death truly is the great unifier. Like the internet, it unites us all from all corners of the globe and walks of life. Unlike other jokes, this is something that's relevant to everyone and easy to understand. The fact that everyone will face death is a redundancy in itself, just like "RIP In Peace."
'RIP In Peace' on the Internet and Beyond
The internet is such a strong part of our daily lives that it's not uncommon to hear "RIP In Peace" spoken out loud. Language is always changing, and we need new ways to express ourselves in the digital world. As morbid as it might sound, many of today's well-known memes grapple with large concepts like death.
No matter how it's used, "RIP In Peace" reminds us that it's possible to take life and death a little less seriously. We'll all face the same end, so let's have some fun along the way. Why do people say "RIP In Peace" on purpose when they know it's a type? For the same reason that people use any meme—to show they're "in" on this internet inside joke, even one that confronts death with a joking eye.
- “RIP In Peace.” Know Your Meme. 2018. KnowYourMeme.com.