New Phone Who Dis? Phrase Meaning, Origins and More

If you’ve spent time on the internet, you've probably heard the phrase “New phone, who dis?” But have you wondered where it came from? The phrase has been around for more than ten years but continues to be prevalent in online memes. Keep reading to find out the exact meaning of the phrase “New phone, who dis?”

Meaning of "New Phone Who Dis?"

“New phone, who dis?” is a joking way to try and avoid a conversation with someone. Whether you use it on a friend after they ask a question you don’t want to answer or someone you would rather not talk to sends you a text, you might respond, “New phone, who dis?” to try and get out of acknowledging the message. By saying “New phone, who dis?” you are pretending you don’t recognize the number contacting you.

Origin of “New Phone Who Dis?”

This meme’s origin is traced back to a 2009 tweet when Twitter user @JeffCl said he uses the excuse “New phone who dis?” when someone he has deleted from his contacts tries to reach out to him. That’s the first use of the exact phrase, but its meaning goes back way further.
It’s extremely easy now to switch phone numbers to new phones. You can even take your number when you switch to a new cell phone carrier. However, it wasn’t always that easy. It wasn’t uncommon in the early days of cell phones for people to switch phone numbers when they got a new phone.
Or, even if you could keep your number, occasionally, you might lose all of your contacts when buying a new phone. So unless you had people’s numbers memorized, you wouldn’t know who was contacting you. It was a common mistake for people to reach out to a friend or family member’s old number just to end up on the line with a stranger.

The Meme Now

The phrase has spread like wildfire and is featured in shows like The Mindy Project and comedians’ routines. There’s even a game based on it. Even though it’s an older meme, it’s still popular. Some younger cell phone owners may not have lost their number or contacts when switching to a new phone, but they understand the meme.

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.