If you’ve been online for more than a hot second, you know that regular units have become ancient history. In these modern times, tiny units aka smol animals capture the internet’s collective heart, and absolute units have basically become an integral part of cyberspace culture. But if the latter doesn’t ring a bell and you somehow missed how this adorable meme took the web by storm, this odd-sounding term refers to objects and animals that are round, hearty, and exceptionally out of proportion to their surroundings.
In fact, this phenomenon has even spawned a subreddit with the same name. Also titled ‘Lads that you’re in awe at the size of,’ the online community offers a variety of adorable and surprising pictures where critters and objects can’t even be compared to their peers. I mean, you wouldn’t believe how big some things can get! And we’re here to show you that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that — it only gives us more to love.
Below, our team at Bored Panda has wrapped up the newest batch of some of the best posts from the group, so continue scrolling to check them all out! Be sure to upvote your favorites and let us know what you think in the comments.
#1 Absolute Unit
Image credits: fourhourtarget
#2 This Cat
Image credits: gunnergio14
#3 The Head Size Difference Between A Man And A Cane Corso
Image credits: jokerlovesharleen
The online universe is fascinated by photos of absolute units. Whether it’s gigantic horses, chonky cats, or exceptionally huge plants, it’s hard to deny the inexplicable allure of this meme. And as netizens’ obsession with comically oversized items seems to be beyond anything at this point, let’s take a look at the origin of this amusing artifact, shall we?
The internet meme database Know Your Meme stated that the first absolute unit meme was born on December 13, 2017, when a Twitter user who went by the handle @mrreptoid wrote, “In awe at the size of this lad. Absolute unit,” with regards to a photo of British hotelier David Morgan-Hewitt standing next to the late Queen of England.
Although the tweet quickly caught on with many people using it widely to caption their own pictures, everything took off in 2018 when the Museum of English Rural Life tweeted a photograph of ram with the title: “Look at this absolute unit.” Adam Koszary, the museum’s program manager who submitted the tweet, gained over 98k likes and more than 27k retweets in the next couple of days.
Now, over 1.3 million members of the ‘Absolute Units’ community get to enjoy this adorable phenomenon daily.
#4 Freya Is Making Herself Known And Comfortable, All 900kg Of Her, By Lounging On Docked Boats
Image credits: EmmelieSironae
#5 Absolute Unit Paws On This Kitty… Extra Toe Beans!
Image credits: someone_somewear
#6 Absolute Unit King Penguin Chick
Image credits: _DeLEON
But what makes this meme that pokes fun at objects that are comically and abnormally out of proportion to their surroundings so entertaining to us? To gain more insight on the topic from an expert, we reached out to Bradley E. Wiggins, Ph.D., an associate professor and department head of Media Communications at Webster Vienna Private University. Wiggins is a renowned author of The Discursive Power of Memes in Digital Culture, and his research interests also include digital semiotics and strategic communication.
As Wiggins is about to give an invited keynote talk entitled Research Memes: Challenges, Pitfalls, and Opportunities at the Digital Research Data and Human Sciences (DRDHum) 2022 at the University of Jyväskylä, he was more than happy to share his thoughts on the matter.
#7 Wolfdog From 2.5 Months To 2 Years
Image credits: AccomplishedTeabag
#8 A Caleb Cluster Of Grapes
Image credits: Chonkbird
Image credits: shrewd_badger
Professor Wiggins explained that the shape of the animal or object doesn’t really have much importance when it comes to the draw of the meme. “But the placement of the shape in contexts where it is reasonable to be surprised makes sense that it has become so memorable.”
“In other words, I think the point is really about a bit of surprise and delight together with some sense of familiarity with the content that makes it so memorable,” he told Bored Panda.
#10 Zeus Is An Absolute Unit Horse
Image credits: SuffrnSuccotash
#11 My Crow Friend, Who Comes Visits Me Daily
Image credits: AnonymousAggregator
#12 This Massive Owl
Image credits: Congodreadin
Interestingly, while many of us perceive the absolute unit as a common internet joke, Wiggins explained this is not the correct term to use in this scenario. And to those of you reading this article right now and scratching your head from confusion, the professor explained that a meme and a joke aren’t the same thing.
It turns out that structurally, they are closely related, but there’s a slight disparity that internet aficionados should be aware of. “One chief difference is the visual component offered by the meme,” Wiggins said.
“The visual component gives context and meaning to the viewer, and the viewer’s job is to laugh at it or be otherwise triggered (positively or negatively) and this can cause sharing, re-posting, etc. The choice to do this may be rooted in the desire to connect with others in impersonal ways. This is what social media, ironically, has taught us all to do, rather well actually.”
#13 A Cottonmouth Spotted In South Georgia. Ole Thing Hasn’t Skipped A Single Gravy Covered Biscuit Since The Day It Hatched
Image credits: Turquoise_Lion
#14 This Elephant Ears Plant At A Plant Store
Image credits: jargo1
#15 1905 Log Cabin In Oregon
Image credits: KevlarYarmulke
Moreover, it’s easy to be amused by something we wouldn’t otherwise see in our daily lives. “Encountering the absolute unit meme, or perhaps memes like it, online means some degree of ‘taking us out of the ordinary’, but it also suggests a longing, perhaps even a kind of yearning for something new to laugh about,” Wiggins added. “Again, this may well be a side effect of social media.”
#16 Big Lettuce
Image credits: g4mert0p
#17 There’s No Point In Playing Dead If You Meet This Absolute Unit
Image credits: Kate_4_President
#18 The Beast’s Doors Are In Their Own Class
Image credits: Inqubate
This can even tell a few things about us as human beings. After all, memes are known as the perfect attention trap that captures our attention and doesn’t let it go. Feeling sick and tired of the people and the world around us, we often seek these tightly packaged chunks of information to find relief and unwind from our daily troubles.
Professor Wiggins explained that when we succumb to the mindless scroll and look at our screens endlessly, whether standing in queues, waiting for appointments, or simply having nothing else to do, “we become transfixed by content that is largely designed for attention-grabbing and retention.”
#19 This Titan Of A Tiger
Image credits: pitvoeruk
#20 This Unit Of A Caterpillar
“This dude does not want to pupate. I think he’s enjoying being a caterpillar too much. All he wants to do is eat and he’s gotten enormous.”
Image credits: iuseredditforpOrn000
#21 U.S. Cavalry Soldiers Pose In Front Of A Tree Known As The “Grizzly Giant” 1900. That’s A Big Tree
Image credits: gabbykitcat
“It makes sense that we go back again and again, seeking what we may never really know,” he added. “The absolute unit meme is a moment, a flicker, a spark that starts and stops almost immediately. Yet you can experience this spark again and again and again. It’s liminal.”
“That means it situates you between a ‘now’ state and a ‘then’ state, it’s somewhere in between, like a wedding or graduation ceremony, they only exist because something ended and something else will start, but hasn’t yet. But social media allows the liminal to become nearly permanent,” Wiggins concluded.
#22 Cardon Cactus In Mexico, 1890s. Absolute Unit At 8 Meters (26 Feet) And Weighing 10 Metric Tons (Over 22,000lbs)!
Image credits: gabbykitcat
#23 Felt Like This Was A Unit Of A Water Lily
Image credits: promptlyHollow
#24 Absolute Unit Of A Horse – 3200 Lbs
Image credits: Justtakeitaway
#25 Aerial Photography Camera Used During WWII
Image credits: KevlarYarmulke
#26 Does This Belong Here? Lemon From My Parents Lemon Tree
Image credits: amelia_egghart217
#27 The Size Of This Car
Image credits: tylernewcomb_
#28 This Cat’s Arm Size
Image credits: johnloc97
#29 The Heart Of A Blue Whale
Image credits: SpinalMyrtales49
#30 The Size Of The Lockheed C5 Galaxy Compared To Other Military Planes
Image credits: Appropriate-Equal-43
#31 This Straaaaaawberry I Saw In The Store
Image credits: Darry__Lavid
#32 Chonky Carp
Image credits: sytrus_2008
#33 Absolute Units Of Bolts
Image credits: Ok-Entry9268
#34 This Carrot
Image credits: atkinsoncjedi
#35 The Size Of The Original Big Mac
Image credits: Mr-Fahrenheit_451
#36 Absolute Unit Of Communications Wiring Bundle
Image credits: Nruggia
#37 Before Chainsaws This Was The Length Of The Two-Man Hand Saw And Heavy Duty Axes That They Used To Drop These Tremendous Trees
Image credits: ShAd0vv_kill
#38 This Dude’s Squeegee At Illinois State University
Image credits: Campingcam
#39 The Black Crack, A 65-Foot-Deep Fissure Along A Trail In Canyonlands National Park In Utah
Image credits: j3ffr33d0m
#40 Absolute Unit Of A Gumball Machine (My 5’6″ Shy 13 Year Old Son For Scale)
Image credits: Red-Chief-420
#41 18 Year Old Mike Tyson’s Neck
Image credits: berrygay
#42 A Vietnamese Guy With His African Bullfrogs
Image credits: eddiecool123
#43 Monster Morel
Image credits: sarbanharble
#44 Statue Of Unity In India (Biggest Statue In The World)
Image credits: Big_James993
#45 This Case Of Beer
Image credits: Shazbot_2017
#46 I Got To See This Monster In Iceland. What An Absolute Unit!
Image credits: gulasch_man
#47 Apparently My Thumb May Be An Absolute Unit?
Image credits: Tge287
#48 Bugatti Tyre Next To Normal Car Tyre
Image credits: IceCoolTea
#49 I See Your Absoluteunit Of A Dandelion And Raise You The Absolutest Of The Dandelion Units
Image credits: Gluten_maximus
#50 14 Year Old, 6’1″, 300lb Football Recruit Tyler Parker
Image credits: Aquaman911
#51 Arnold Schwarzenegger During His College Years (1979)
#52 This Absolute Unit Of A Dutch Giant, Oliver Richters
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Author: Indrė Lukošiūtė