Twitch emotes explained: KEKW, Kappa, TriHard, Jebaited, more
Trying to understand Twitch emotes and Twitch chat culture? Here, we’ll explain the meaning of some of Twitch’s most common and quirky emotes, to help you fit right in, and stop being a ‘normie’ or a ‘YouTube frog’.
If you’re new to Twitch, the chat can actually be a somewhat daunting experience. Years of inside jokes, memes and references you might not have a clue about have taken on a form of their own.
Think of this as your starters guide to some of Twitch’s best emotes, that truly make the platform what it is for chatters. Some of these emotes have deep roots in internet culture, such as KEKW, now one of the most popular.
It’s also worth noting that many of these emotes are not actually even on Twitch natively. Many users have extensions such as FrankerFaceZ and Better Twitch TV (BTTV), which add in countless new custom emotes. So, you might be seeing the word KEKW in chat and have no idea what’s going on.
KEKW is a FrankerFaceZ emote that is used on Twitch to represent laughter, when a funny moment occurs on stream.
One of the trendiest emotes on Twitch in 2020, KEKW comes from the classic clip of El Risitas laughing on Spanish TV.
What does KEKW mean on Twitch?
You’ve probably seen countless meme versions of this video. KEKW is simply his face laughing, representing a hilarious moment on stream.
If a streamer says or does something that has viewers in hysterics, chat will almost certainly light up wit KEKW spam. Although, there are a few competing emotes too, such as LULW.
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Just like it’s counterpart KEKW, LULW is a zoomed-in version of the Twitch default emote, LUL. This emote is the face of the late video game YouTuber, critic and commentator John ‘TotalBiscuit’ Bain.
What does LULW mean on Twitch?
LUL was actually removed from Twitch, before being reinstated after Bain’s death from cancer in 2018. A cartoon version of the emote took its place. LULW is from the original version of the LUL emote.
There is a debate about which emote is better: LULW or KEKW. So far, KEKW is winning the war as it has almost double the usage of LULW in 2020.
Kappa is a default global Twitch emote, and for a long time was the most popular on the platform. It’s since been dethroned, but it’s potentially still the most iconic of all emotes.
What does Kappa mean on Twitch?
Kappa is actually the face of Josh DeSeno, an employee at Twitch back when it was called Justin.TV. His classic facial expression here is used to represent sarcasm.
So, if someone says something questionable in chat, but follows it up with a Kappa, then you’ll know they were being tongue-in-cheek. There are also countless variants of Kappa, including KappaPride, which is used to represent support for the LGBT+ community.
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Perhaps just as iconic as Kappa, there is PogChamp. Up until 2021, PogChamp enjoyed a controversy-free reign on Twitch. But, the face behind the emote, Gootecks, was adjudged by Twitch to have made comments on social media worthy of the emote being removed.
What does PogChamp mean?
PogChamp is a global Twitch emote, used to express excitement, amazement or disbelief, usually when a streamer pulls off an impressive play, a big clutch, or a talented skill.
PogChamp has countless variations, including Pog, PogU, POGGERS, WeirdChamp, and many more. Since its removal from Twitch, the platform has instead rotated different streamers pulling a PogChamp-like expression as a replacement.
Jebaited is a global Twitch emote, and is the face of Alex Jebailey. Jebailey is the founder and CEO of Community Effort Orlando events.
What does Jebaited mean?
The clue is in the name with this emote – it’s all about being baited.
Jebaited is one of the most useful emotes on Twitch, especially when the streamer is playing a game and is literally ‘baited’ by an opponent. But chatters can be baited too, when they expect the streamer to do something interesting or impressive, only to fall short.
TriHard is a global Twitch emote, but also happens to be one of the most controversial. It depicts streamer TriHex, pulling what he has described as a very awkward smile. The original picture was taken at an anime convention, and TriHex was happy about having his DragonBallZ image signed.
What does TriHard mean?
TriHard can represent joy, success after winning a hard game (e.g. trying hard), surprise, or a number of other reactions.
But, TriHard has a contentious history. Even though TriHex himself likes the emote and is happy for it to be on Twitch, other streamers have actually banned it from their chats, including HasanAbi.
This is because it has taken on a darker use – spammed in chat when a black person appears on stream. In fact, it’s the reason that xQc was suspended from the Overwatch League, after he was adjudged to have put the emote in chat when caster Malik Forte appeared on stream. The OWL said he had used the emote in a “racially disparaging” manner.
TriHard is often paired with the number 7, as TriHard 7, with the 7 intended to look like a salute.
cmonBruh is another global Twitch emote which is a classic, but similarly controversial one. It’s exact origin is unknown, but it has been on Twitch since 2016.
What does cmonBruh mean?
Although it can be used to express confusion, surprise or disapproval, cmonBruh is commonly used to question if something was potentially racist.
So, if a streamer or another chatter says something that could be construed as racist, cmonBruh often fills up the chat. For this reason, cmonBruh is also controversial, with some arguing the emote is itself racist.
Regardless, it remains a popular global emote, and has variants such as ‘hyperBruh’ – a red version used when something is even more obviously discriminatory. Such emotes have been banned in the chats of various streamers, including Hasan and xQc.
For a more wholesome emote, it’s all about BibleThump. Another global Twitch emote, BibleThump is used when something is sad, and you want to express being tearful in chat.
What does BibleThump mean?
BibleThump was made more popular thanks to the ‘i cry everytim’ meme, and the website ICryEveryTime, which people would send when something sad happened. The page is literally just lots of BibleThump emotes accompanied by sorrow orchestral music.
It literally just means crying, but is often used in a more sarcastic sense, than to represent genuine sadness.
haHAA is a BTTV emote used to express cringe, or when something tries to be funny but isn’t. You can use this when you want to mock something or someone being unfunny, despite their best efforts.
What does haHAA mean?
haHAA features a man grimacing, doing a fake laugh of sorts. The face behind the emote is Shy Ronnie, from The Lonely Island band, real name Andy Samberg.
Introduced in 2016, it has fallen out of popularity somewhat, as alternatives like ‘WeirdChamp’ have taken its place. But, you’ll still see haHAA’s used regularly when there is cringe on display – which is pretty common on Twitch.
Twitch emotes fall in and out of popularity and trendiness over time, but these emotes have remained ever-popular.
There’s also whole sub-sections of memes, such as the various ‘Champ’ emotes, and the endless variations of Pepe the Frog. These basics should help you get started though, and you’ll be an emote connoisseur in no time.