Nuke It From Orbit


What does Nuke It From Orbit mean?

Nuke It From Orbit refers to a memorable quote from the movie Aliens”, that became a popular catchphrase, as well as a reaction meme online, used for expressing disgust or disapproval, upon encountering a big Nopelike a Clock Spider.

“Nuke It From Orbit” is similar in nature to another online slang phrase; Kill it with Fire. Both phrases are used to express extreme aversion, highlighting the urge to obliterate a creature completely, while “Nuke It From Orbit” does that from a safe distance, destroying the entire planet, the object of disgust is located on.


What's the origin of Nuke It From Orbit?

“Aliens” premiered in the United States on July 14th, 1986. In one of the scenes, a devastated team is contemplating the correct course of action, to take with a planet infested with aliens, when Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) proposes to “… nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to make sure.”

After a short debate, Corporal Hicks (portrayed by Michael Biehn) gives out orders to “Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to make sure.”

This moment didn’t only stick with the fans of the Alien movies, rather it infiltrated pop culture, giving us a new way of expressing repugnance.

Spread & Usage

How did Nuke It From Orbit spread?

Online, the expression started appearing in the early 2000’s, especially on message boards and forums, such as 4chan, and Reddit. “Nuke X From Orbit” was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2003, with plenty of other entries written on the subject since then.

Clips from the scene would start emerging on YouTube in 2009, while image macros, depicting nuclear explosions, or Ripley would also start featuring the catchphrase.

Over the years, the meme would spread to sites, such as 9GAG, iFunny and Reaction GIFs and image macros can still be encountered on various parts of the internet, usually in the comment section of content, depicting insects and spiders. So, with that in mind, it is unlikely, someone with Formicophilia would use “Nuke It From Orbit.”

External resources

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