Fifteen years ago, everybody would agree that the word doge referred to the chief magistrate of Genoa or Venice. Since then, however, a new meaning has stormed the internet: that of "canine", normally associated with memes of Shiba Inus saying cute, truncated phrases. This humorous alteration of dog first traces to a 2005 episode of Homestar Runner, a surreal comedy web series, where the protagonist spells out the word. Five years later, a woman named Atsuko Sato posted pictures of her Shiba with that caption online, and the web quickly turned it into a meme with superimposed text, the rest being history (usage peaked in December 2013). Curiously, there's been some contention over the proper pronunciation. I always thought dohge, but some people pronounce it like dodge, doggeh, dough-geh, and just doggie. It'll be interesting to watch more words with standardized spellings but not pronunciations arise due to the Internet spreading them.
Adam Aleksic, a freshman studying linguistics at Harvard University, has been described as the internet's sixth most famous etymologist. He has disturbing interests in words, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law, and he loves writing about himself in the third person.
The Etymology Nerd