Big Oof - Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to tell someone they made a big mistake? Maybe someone is telling you about their misfortunes, and you don't really care about what's going on in their life? If that's the case, you could always use the phrase "big oof" to describe their actions or your interest in what they have to say.

This post unpacks everything you need to know about this idiom's meaning, origin, and use.

Big Oof Idiom Meaning

"Big oof" means "huge mistake." The phrase also has the meaning of "that's unfortunate. I'm sorry it happened."

When commenting on another person's poor judgment or actions, you'll use the phrase. The "oof" in the term comes from comic books where the artist would draw a superhero getting punched or assaulted, expelling air in an "oof" to signify the impact of the damage to their body.

The use of the word big before oof amplifies the impact of oof, showing the person the severity of the error. This internet slang is common in memes and conversations, both in real life and in chat. The phrase has a double meaning.

The first use can be to show the person that they made a huge mistake, and the second meaning can show them that you don't really care about their problems or what happened to them.

Using a statement like "I'm sorry to hear that happened" in a streaming chat might endure mockery from other users, or it may come across as inauthentic. By using big oof, you're implying the same term, but in a way, that other people on the platform can understand in a lighthearted manner.

Big Oof Example Usage

“I heard you just broke up with Tiffany; that’s a big oof man; she was the best thing that happened to you.”

“I just emailed the client list to a customer by mistake; that was a big oof.”

“We went to the bar and had a few drinks before Kevin decided to order that bottle of tequila. That was a big oof.”

“Oh no, I don’t see that guy hiding behind the wall in the game. He shot me. That was a big oof.”

“I lent my PlayStation to Hal, and he isn’t taking my calls to return it. That was a big oof.”

Big Oof Idiom Origin

While it’s possible to track down the origin of many memes, it’s not as easy with “big oof.” Experts believe the idiom first spread out of the meme-centric community shortly after 2010. There is no certainty to its origin, with some people believing it emerged from chat forums like 4Chan, while others think it appeared on the streaming platform, Twitch.

Big oof” is a somewhat dated meme by today’s standards. However, it recently experienced a rejuvenation in meme culture, featuring the image of a person’s face, positioned over a dial ranging from low to high, with the man uttering the word “oof.” The dial setting is on the maximum output setting, implying that the “oof” is large.

This meme first appeared on the Twitch streaming platform in 2020.

Phrases Similar to Big Oof

  • Ouch.
  • That’s a big problem.
  • A big mistake.

Phrases Opposite to Big Oof

  • Not a problem.
  • No biggie.
  • No issues.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Big oof.

Ways People May Say Big Oof Incorrectly

Some people may use the term “big oof” to describe a supreme effort on the part of an individual. However, this is not the correct use of the phrase. It doesn’t relate to effort in a task or physical output.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Big Oof

You can use the phrase “big oof” when describing someone making a big mistake in their social or professional life. To create a “big oof” means that you make a mistake that’s hard to rectify or impossible to overcome.


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