The phrase “HURF DURF BUTTER EATER” was introduced to Metafilter on February 16th, 2005, in the text of an Ask Metafilter question relating in part to weight issues. Later that year, the phrase gained visibility on the site thanks to a discussion of the original use, and Metafilter users began repeating and modifying the phrase in a variety of ways on the site.
From the original phrase, variations have developed on Metafilter, including but not limited to:
- rhyming and non-rhyming adaptations of the original “HURF DURF [object] [verb taking object +er]” form (e.g. “HURF DURF DRAGON-READER”, “HURF DURF BOTTLE BREAKER”)
- syntactically incongruous puns and rhymes (“HURF DURF BUTTER VADER”, “HURF DURF DEATH EATER”)
- characterization of dismissive attitudes toward a topic (“hurf durf chauvinism!”, “HURF DURF TAROT”)
- mocking paraphrases of argumentation (“hurf durf why can’t I tell all my awesome black jokes”, “Hay guyz I hrd DAILY KOS is 2 drs dwn on da left hurf durf”)
- self-contained utterances (“Hurf durf.”)
- explicit references to weight (“hurf durf” as synonym for fat; “hurf durfer” as fat person)
- snowclone integration in fixed phrases (“To hurf durf or not to hurf durf”, “hurf minds durf alike”)
While the use of “hurf durf” or variants thereof certainly predates Metafilter’s use of it (citations have been made back to 2001 at least, and one user speculated that the fixed phrase HURF DURF BUTTER EATER itself dated to mid-90s USENET), the 2/16/05 use of “hurf durf” pre-dates any other on-site use of the rhyming-pair phrase or any variant I could find.
(There are two uses of stand-alone “derf”, however: 1/30/05, 5/17/01. Both are notes of apology/self-deprecation. There is also a stand-alone “durf”, 7/11/01, which I cannot make out the meaning of. There are no earlier standalone references to “hurf”; and while a site search returns more than a dozen earlier hits for “herf”, these appear all to be either botched html [href gone bad] or references to HERF guns.)
I have used Metafilter’s on-site search functionality to examine all comments and posts between 2/16/05 and 4/15/08 in which both the strings “hurf” and “durf” appear. I have created below an exhaustive chronological index of those posts and comments, grouping replies together and noting context, variations in the form, and other details as they struck me.