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I have come across this phrase a time or two and can't seem to make any sense out of what it means.

As a web developer and in the context of this graphic, I have a little idea what it may mean, but I'm not sure...

Browser Wars

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

I've usually heard this as "eat paste", but "eat glue" is probably the same thing, especially judging from the informative graphic.

This refers to doing something passively stupid, and hearkens back to the kid in grammar school who merely sat at his desk eating paste while things happened around him (or her).

The graphic is depicting the Internet Explorer web browser as the dumb kid who has, by inaction, removed himself from the battle over web standards, which is hotly being fought between Firefox and Chrome. With the release of IE9, I'm not sure how applicable this is anymore. In any case, IE is represented as being content to just be what it is (with still a majority market share) while the other browsers fight it out for what's left.

It's not very flattering to Microsoft, certainly, but it also suggests that it might be better to be the dumb kid who wins than the smart kids who fight each other.

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Yeah, I think it would actually be "paste," but the meme has taken on a life of its own with people who probably were never exposed to Bulk Acme Elementary School Paste Products. As a well-behaved child, I would often be trusted to go to the special room in my school where the paste was kept in large barrels where I would be given a class-sized portion of paste in a recycled cool-whip or margarine container. In many cases, paste is wheat-based (flour and water). So, non-toxic (mold excepted), but potentially bowel obstructive. –  horatio Jun 28 '11 at 14:07
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Your average Elmer's Glue is also nontoxic, and I've seen kindergarteners eat that stuff too. So I think the joke still works regardless of what's in the jar. The helmet worn by the IE kid is just as big a giveaway that he's "special". –  KeithS Jun 28 '11 at 14:58
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Elmer's doesn't taste as good though... –  horatio Jun 28 '11 at 18:19
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Eating paste is something you might do in preschool or kindergarten, and you're supposed to grow out of it at some point – it has to do with emotional development, not intelligence. So, to me, the graphic implies not so much that IE is dumb, but more that it is immature compared to Firefox and Chrome. –  Marthaª Sep 22 '11 at 20:13
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I guess at the time this answer was given Microsoft may have still narrowly had the "majority market share" but this is definitely not true anymore. –  Kenneth Aug 11 '12 at 23:34
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protected by RegDwigнt Sep 21 '12 at 19:29

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