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    What Does 'Shaking My Head' Even Mean Anymore?

    Written by

    Brian Anderson

    Features Editor

    Photo via Flickr / CC. 

    Here's the thing: Everything is a joke. Everything warrants a facepalm. In the parlance of our time, everything has me shaking my head. 

    But what's an increasing source of bewildering frustration for me is that I'm not really sure what that actually even means. Shaking my head. What began as internet shorthand for Your-idiocy-has-me-at-a-loss-for-words, in so many words, seems to have been completely co-opted, gutted of real meaning. What does it mean to shake one's head when basically everything is dumb?  

    It's hard to say. As far as I can tell, there are a few ways to go about shaking my head. Let's start with the obvious. 


    That's not me, via Flickr / CC. 

    You know that thing when people violently shake their face for the camera? What is that? A lot of us seem to get a kick out of it, especially after a couple dumb drinks. And why? What is it about the rush of writhing your jowels into something straight out of the Eye of the Beholder

    You see it everywhere. We all know that guy. You know who I'm talking about. Sometimes it gets the pass. But often it has me...


    via Flickr / CC. 

    This brings us to the roots of the phrase. Here's the top entry for "shaking my head" in the Urban Dictionary:

    Acronym for 'shake my head' or 'shaking my head.' Usually used when someone finds something so stupid, no words can do it justice. Sometimes it's modified to 'smfh' or 'smmfh' by those that prefer profanity in their internet acronyms.

    trick1: i got a headache...i hit myself in the head with my knee while trying to do situps.

    trick2: smh

    You are so dumb, I can't even... I just can't. In fact, you could say your dumbness, which is forcing me to smfh, is likewise filling me with...


    Wah waaah, via Flick / CC. 

    I know I just ran that top Urban Dictionary definition, but the reality is that's there's some debate over the "smh" acronym. Some say it's the aforementioned Shaking my head. For others, it's actually So much hate. Here's the third entry for "smh" in the UD: 

    An Internet acronym used in text (SMS) messaging and in social media posts such as appear on Twitter and Facebook. Although many people believe it stands for "shake my head" or "shaking my head" (as in disbelief or disdain), the true meaning is "so much hate."

    Unless we're talking about...


    So Much Hate is a now defunct first-wave Oslo Blitz-house hardcore outfit. They sort of sucked. One could say even this brief live clip has me shaking my head in accordance with the above definition No. 2. 

    In conclusion, I'm bummed on you—part upset, part embarrassed. I'm physically shaking my head, all jiggly-cheek like (I'm not). I hate you / I think you're dumb. I'm into first-wave Oslo Blitz-house (I'm not). Which is it?