Hopium is used to denote the sense of false hope one has for a team or player, unburdened by realistic expectations. 

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What Does Hopium Mean in Twitch Chat and Where Did It Originate?

Nutan Lele
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Highlights
Hopium is a popular word in Twitch chat with origins from the investment world and was later on adopted into political circles.
The word has been widely used during various big tournaments in the esports world.

Hopium, like it’s copium counterpart, is widely used in Twitch chat and has crept its way onto Reddit. The earliest uses of Hopium dates back to late 2010, originating from an opinion piece on stock market investment. With so many twists and upsets in some of the world's largest ongoing esports tournaments like Worlds 2021 and TI10, the use of Hopium has gone up across platforms like Twitch. Hopium may be used on its own but is often featured with an image of Pepe the Frog hooked to an oxygen tank labeled “hopium", indicating unrealistic hype and expectations from favoured teams or players in upcoming tournaments.

What is the Meaning of Hopium in Twitch Chat?

Hopium is a portmanteau of the words "hope" and "opium" used to describe a fictional drug to help one stay hopeful in times when there is none. The fictional drug acts as a ‘protective barrier that shields the love and hope you have for your region’s teams, while also suppressing realistic concerns’.

How Did Hopium Become Popular on Twitch Chat?

According to Know Your Meme, Hopium was first used on December 1, 2010, when Zero Hedge website contributor Tyler Durden published an article criticizing Goldman Sachs for their position on the economy. In the piece, Durden uses the term "hopium" to describe Goldman's outlook as one based on false hope. Since then the term has been used among stock market investors to describe the phenomenon of holding on to tanking investments with the false hope of recovery.

In June 2010, Reddit user Edvard_Sidoryk posted an image to /r/pepethefrog of Pepe hooked to an oxygen tank labeled "hopium". This was one of the first instances of the word attached to an image of Pepe. Hopium has also been widely used on Reddit forums to describe the hype around Bitcoin despite market volatility and the frequent fizzling out of other cryptocurrencies. The term eventually found its way into political circles on Reddit and began popping up in Twitch chats of political commentators and streamers like HasanAbi. The image of pepe hooked to ‘hopium’ was also widely used during the 2020 United States Presidential elections.

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Nutan is AFK Gaming's source for everything from Twitch to the Twitterati. Her focus lies in distilling esports content from around the world. As the former captain of Girlaxy India, she brings an experienced eye in analysing the League of Legends scene.