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Luci Kelemen
Luci Kelemen

Writes about way too many things. Has way too many opinions. Wants to tell all the interesting stories in the world.

Nov 30, 2019

After seeing this phrase all over Twitch, Twitter and seemingly every other gaming focused YouTube video, we thought answering the "what does KEKW mean?" question may help a few of you out there. As one of the most popular Twitch emotes, KEKW is one of the most important emoticons to understand if you want to get your meme game right.

Where does KEKW come from?

Just like “lol” – laughing out loud –, “kek” is a chat phrase which indicates laughter, one which originated from Korea. Like Russians’ xaxaxaxaxa, “kek” is basically the Korean way to show they’re laughing in the chat. The phrase bled through Starcraft and World of Warcraft (which is why it’s sometimes referred to as “lol in Orcish”.)

Twitch emotes with the -W suffix often convey an exaggerated facial expression by the streamer or individual in question, and the KEKW emote is a recently popularized way to convey laughter or hilarity in the chat.

What is KEKW?

The KEKW emote is a FrankerFaceZ extension Twitch emote which is a cut-out of the face of Juan Joya Borja, a Spanish comedian and actor who’s also known as the Spanish Laughing Guy in internet circles. A popular YouTube video from a 2007 interview where Borja bursts into laughter while trying to tell an anecdote, revealing his almost toothless mouth and focusing on his exquisite moustache was turned into multiple memes by the Twitch community. 

In late summer 2019, the KEKW custom emote featuring a still image of Borja’s face became popular on Twitch after being picked up by “meme streamers” like xQc and AdmiralBulldog. From then on, the emote’s popularity skyrocketed, and it has pretty much replaced LUL and other popular alternatives as the way to signify (hysterical) laughter in Twitch chat.

KEKW is one of to most popular Twitch emotes in the world, with search interest spiking in the autumn of 2019. Last December, StreamElements' statistics listed it as the 14th most-used emote on the platform. Many variations emerged over time, but the most commonly used one is KEKWait, submitted by foxboxx in November 2019 to FrankerFaceZ.

Learn more about KEKWait and other internet memes

Now that you know the meaning KEKW has, how about further expanding your meme vocabulary? KEKWait, its close counterpart, has an interesting story of its own, which you can check out here. What does monkaS mean? If you don't know, you might want to check out our article!

There's also Pogchamp, the all-time great Kappa and many more Twitch emotes which are worth knowing about if you want to understand the brilliantly random content the Internet generates nowadays...!

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