There's a meme on reddit where the users tend to ask,

When does the narwhal bacon?

The only correct answer to that question is

At midnight.

What is the etymology and the meaning of this question?

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    All it does is that it links to an external site, without at least quoting anything, which is highly discouraged in this community. also, I was hoping for someone to explain the phrase = is bacon a verb?
    – Frantisek
    Aug 26, 2011 at 20:59
  • There is no such thing as the etymology of catchphrase, users can ask about its origin and its meaning, but etymology is about tracing a word's morphology and/or how its meaning changed through the years or centuries. I don't believe the OP was really concerned about the history of the word "bacon" nor of "narwhale".
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 5, 2018 at 17:42

3 Answers 3


I believe that its origin was here, formed as a passphrase to identify fellow reddit users. Bacon and narwhals were popular topics of discussion on reddit at the time.


It is a nonsense phrase; as Windell mentions it is only used to identify fellow reddit users. Because it is nonsense, it's hard to give a good description of what it “means”.

Bacon and narwhal are both popular words on reddit and in other internet communities, because bacon is delicious and horned sea creatures are awesome. They serve as in-jokes or memes, and don't have much real significance beyond that.

Grammatically speaking, the word bacon is indeed being used as a verb. This is part of what makes the phrase nonsensical, because bacon has no established meaning as a verb.

If you really want to find meaning in the phrase, you could imagine that the narwhal is doing something with bacon, such as producing or distributing it. On the other hand, finding meaning in nonsense is probably missing the point.

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    +1 for "because bacon is delicious and horned sea creatures are awesome". By the way, almost every common English noun is used as a verb somewhere, and bacon is no exception. It means "flavored with bacon">
    – Pitarou
    Feb 9, 2012 at 3:24

As reported by the OED, bacon is a transitive verb, and it means "convert into bacon."

verb trans. Convert into bacon. Chiefly N. Amer.

The OED reports it is chiefly North American, but the NOAD reports the meaning of bacon only as noun.

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