How Bud Light Made ‘Dilly Dilly!’ the Internet’s Most Inescapable Catchphrase
“Dilly Dilly” is officially the new “Wassup.”
Has this happened to you in the past few months?
You’re out tossing a few cold ones back with your bros then suddenly they go in for a beer clink. Instead of saying “cheers” like a normal fucking human being, they belt out “dilly dilly” like some sort of medieval lord imbibing a potent flagon of mead.
You’re not going crazy. It’s a bro-tastic new catchphrase spawned by that utterly inescapable Game of Thrones-esque Bud Light commercial that’s been airing incessantly during the MLB playoffs.
— Don Van Natta Jr. (@DVNJr) October 22, 2017
In the commercial, which launched in August, various subjects of a medieval kingdom present offerings of Bud Light to their king during a banquet, which is rejoined with a hearty “dilly dilly” from all at the table.
When one peasant offers up a “spiced honeymead wine he’s really been into lately” (the medieval era had insufferable hipsters too, it seems), he is banished to the pit of misery. If only that’s how it happened in real life…
Suddenly, the nonsensical phrase is everywhere. You may have chanced upon a #dillydilly hashtag or too. In fact, there’s already over 7,000 uses on Instagram.
The Miami Herald dug deep into the meaning of the catchphrase:
But “Dilly Dilly” wasn’t a pure stroke of genius out of thin air. According to dictionary.com, the origins of “dilly” are in a shortening of the word “delightful” or “delicious,” probably from the 1930s. On its own, it has come to mean “something or someone regarded as remarkable or unusual.”
The phrase could have roots even deeper in the English lexicon, though. A nursery rhyme titled “Lavender’s Blue” that dates back to the 17th century uses “dilly dilly” as part of its cadence in most of its lines. Burl Ives recorded a version of a song adapted from that nursery rhyme, which was included in the 1949 film “So Dear to My Heart.”
The old British television comedy “Dad’s Army” also makes reference to the poem in an episode about preparing a wartime radio broadcast to the waiting empire.
So yep, it’s as old-timey British as it sounds. “Dilly Dilly” also seems to be the first major catchphrase Budweiser has invented since that gang of dudes went viral with the “Wazzup?” commercials back in the day: