Dayum is an alternate version of the popular slang “damn”, that is used primarily as a form of exclamation to let your surroundings know that you are very surprised about something.
Used primarily by peers of the African-American communities in the United States, the term became more and more popular after the dawn of the internet.
Today, dayum is featured in various memes and viral trends online, from image macros and reaction images to voice samples, just to mention a few.
The expression stems from a more traditional form of exclamation: “God damn”.
As it usually goes with slang words evolving, the expression got shorter and then eventually twisted out into just “dayum” over the years.
One early example of dayum implemented into internet humor is the infamous reaction meme taken from the 1995 movie Friday, that features the golden “daaaaaaayum” reaction of Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, upon their buddy showing them his badly injured face which he hid previously by putting on sunglasses.
Spread and Usage
For the most part and up until the end of the 2010s, memes featuring dayum only appeared online in relation with the Friday movie scene, but occasionally the catchphrase could be seen on other meme templates which depict a character with a surprised look on their face.
In 2020, an audio clip of a woman, exclaiming “god dayum” in a rather manly voice, went viral on TikTok.
Originally posted by drknlovely in October, the audio went viral as an original sound in lip-dub skits over the following months.
In January 2022, a remixed shitpost version of the sound with added echoes, distortion, music and fart sound effects went viral, spreading beyond TikTok.