Where does the joke ‘What is the shape of Italy’ come from?

A meme about the shape of Italy is going viral right now, making some people laugh and leaving others majorly confused. (If you’re in that second camp, you’ve come to the right place.)

Allegedly, the meme comes from a gaming joke that started over a decade ago. Apparently, it’s used when a group of players is on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo or another similar gaming platform, and one of them gets on everyone else’s nerves.

At some point during the game, one of the players might ask the annoying person, “What is the shape of Italy?” The annoying player likely replies with the word “boot.” (After all, it’s common knowledge that Italy is, in fact, shaped like a boot.)

But in the gaming world, to “boot” someone also refers to kicking a player out of a game — whether because they’re unwanted, irritating or just plain bad at gameplay.

In other words, it’s definitely not something you want to hear if you’re playing a game with other people, and can actually be a real bummer.

Recently, the not-so-nice gaming prank has made its way onto TikTok, where it’s been referenced in countless memes.

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