I really hate to ask this one, but...

When I was a child, some thirty plus years ago, there was a popular juvenile game where you would try to trick a friend into asking a question that could be answered with the mildly obscene reply "deez nuts!" (meaning "these testicles"). Sample:

Jokester: Did you get that CD?
Victim: What CD?
Jokester: See deez nuts!

Apparently everything old is new again --I was recently ambushed with a "deez nuts" joke by some current teenagers of my acquaintance. Upon investigation, the old chestnut has apparently returned to currency due to a series of popular Vine videos starring a young man of amazingly unusual looks.

However, my question is this --where did the joke originally come from? Does it date from the 80's or is it even older? I'm fairly certain it originates somewhere within the black American urban subculture --maybe a skit on a rap album? I've done some research, but all the citations trace back only to the recent videos, nothing any further.

  • 1
    Deez Nutz for President! – user98990 Sep 17 '15 at 22:26

Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary - Page 26 Rick Ayers - 2004

Deez-nuts (deez nutz) n., Literally, these testicles.
Used to refer to oneself. "I'm not going to let anyone mess with deez-nuts."
Also: Negative response to a question. “Hey, pass that joint.” “Deez-nuts.”
[Origin : Hip Hop]

A 1985 reference:

The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and UnconventionalThe New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional ... Eric Partridge, ‎Tom Dalzell, ‎Terry Victor - 2006

“I'm not going to let anyone mess with deez-nuts”— Peter Smith and Fred M Barritt, Bermewjan Vurds. p. 18, 1985

Contradicting that is:

Deez nuts is a phrase that originated from the song "Deeez Nuuuts" on
Dr. Dre's original album "The Chronic", released in 1992.

Also, incomplete:

Cassell's Dictionary of Slang - Page 393 Jonathon Green - 2005

deez (nuts) n. [1990s+] (US Black) the testicles; the male genitals.
[SE these + NUTS n.2 (1)] def adj. [1970s+] (orig. US Black) perfect, excellent, first-rate.
[? Black pron. of SE death or abbr. SE definitive. Note 1907 cit. in Cassidy [???]

  • 1
    It's definitely at least 15-20 years older than that... – Chris Sunami Apr 23 '15 at 3:44
  • I see you edited some new info into this post. I'm sure The Chronic gave it a new wave of popularity, but it's older than that.... The 1985 citation seems about the right date, but it doesn't give any origins. – Chris Sunami Apr 23 '15 at 12:47
  • Does there have to be an "origin"? deez sounds like these, it's the kind of thing that kids just make up. It's like asking who invented "Duck, Duck, Goose!" – Barmar Apr 27 '15 at 21:38
  • I suspect the revival is related to the popularity of the z sound, and other urban mispronunciations, in hip-hop culture. – Barmar Apr 27 '15 at 21:39
  • I've thought about it more, and it's possible that The Chronic is the right origin for its entry into mainstream culture --I could be misremembering hearing it earlier than that. I'm going to mark this accepted. – Chris Sunami May 7 '15 at 16:35

"Deez Nuts" may be ultimately derived from Dr. Dre's album, Chronic, or merely juvenile silliness.

But in 2015, the expression was popularized, or repopularized, by a viral meme created by Instagram user WelvendaGreat.

According to knowyourmeme.com:

"Deez Nuts is the punchline of a conversational joke that involves asking someone a vaguely-phrased question to solicit a follow-up question in response, typically in the form of one of the five Ws, before yelling out the said phrase in an obnoxious manner. While originally introduced as a skit track on Dr. Dre's 1992 rap album Chronic, the joke saw a huge resurgence after it was featured in a short comedic sketch by Internet comedian WelvenDaGreat in early 2015."


  • 1
    The other answer has a 1985 citation, predating Dr. Dre's album. – Laurel Dec 12 '18 at 22:56

protected by Andrew Leach May 16 '15 at 19:08

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.