For those who are not familiar with the “IT’S OVER 9000!!” meme, please familiarize yourselves now.
All set? Okay. So I have noticed in my WoW community that the use of “over 9000” has spread from an opportunistic meme invocation, such as:
Parnopaeus: How many dragons are there in this pull?
Random Guild Member: OVER 9000!!!!
From this use, it has spread to the use of “over 9000” as a sententially-embedded generic exaggeration quantifier. It’s akin to saying “a million” in spoken language to exaggerate the amount of objects being discussed. In the past week alone, I have heard “over 9000” used in the following contexts:
“I have over 9000 things to do today.”
“I have caught over 9000 fish and still haven’t gotten the achievement.”
“It’s like you’re just minding your own business and then all of a sudden over 9000 people are messaging you…”
“Somehow I have accumulated over 9000 health potions.”
“I have over 9000 e-mails in my work inbox.”
In none of these cases was the number of items actually over 9000 — I asked specifically about the health potions and the e-mails, the numbers of which were 47 and 192, respectively. However, “over 9000” has become a generic quantifier of exaggeration, kind of in the way that typing a random string of numbers functioned back in the early days (?) of Internet discourse. I remember many an ICQ conversation that went something like:
parnopaeus: I have 4928031 papers due this week.
friend-of-parnopaeus: Really? Not 4,928,032?
There must be a study out there of generic exaggerations, and a way to adapt such a study to online discourse.