Who Dey – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you heading to Paul Brown Stadium to watch a Cincinnati Bengals game? Don’t be surprised when the crowd starts chanting “Who Dey” to intimidate the other team.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The expression ‘who dey?’ is a chant used by Cincinnati Bengals fans during home games. The phrase becomes more popular on social media and during games when the Bengals are doing well that season and have a shot at a bowl game.

The chant is a cheer fans use to motivate the team and intimidate the competition. When you have a stadium filled with fans chanting ‘who dey,’ it’s enough to throw you off you’re A-game as a football player.

Example Usage

“Who dey, who dey, who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals? No-one! We’re the best!”

“I was at the game last night and got a picture with Who Dey, the Cincinnati Bengal’s Mascot; he’s such a cutie.”

“I love that tiger costume Who Dey, the mascot, wears. It reminds me of Tigger in the Winnie the Pooh kids animation.’

“The Bengals have some crazy fans,  man. If you’ve ever attended a game at Paul Brown Stadium, it’s intimidating when the fans start chanting Who Dey.”

“I was at Paul Brown Stadium last night for the Bengals game. When the crowd started chanting ‘who dey,’ I got chills down my spine. It’s such an electric environment in that stadium.”


The expression ‘who dey’ originates from the Cincinnati Bengals NFL team. Cincinnati has a passionate fanbase and huge attendance records at games, especially bowl games. The first use of the expression emerged during the early 1970s when fans would chant the following at games.

“Who dey, who dey, who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals?”

The use of the chant started in the 1970s, but it took hold and gained popularity across the country after the Bengal's first Superbowl run in 1981.

Bengals fans have a long-standing rivalry with the New Orleans Saints. Saints fans believe the ‘who dey’ chant is nothing more than a knock-off of the ‘Who Dat?’ chant used by the Saints fans at games.

No one knows which team came up with the chant first, but most enthusiasts believe it traces back to the Bengals, not the Saints. It’s common to hear the chant more frequently at Cincinnati games as the team progresses deeper into the season and when the Bengals are on a winning streak.

Phrases Similar to Who Dey

  • Unknown.

Phrases Opposite to Who Dey

  • Unknown.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Who dey.

Ways People May Say Who Dey Incorrectly

Some people may use ‘who dey’ to describe the chant of football teams other than the Cincinnati Bengals. Some people may assume the ‘dey’ in the saying refers to the Bengals, but it references their opponents. It's more common to hear the chant at Bengal's home games than when they play away.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Who Dey

You can use the phrase ‘who dey’ if you’re a Cincinnati Bengals fan. It’s a common chant in the home stadium and a reference to the Bengals superiority over the other team. You can also use the expression when referencing the Bengals team mascot.

‘Who dey’ is a well-known expression in the United States, especially with NFL fans. Most football enthusiasts know the chant, even if they aren’t Cincinnati fans. The phrase is more common to hear around the stadium and during the game than out in the street.

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