Over the course of its nine seasons, How I Met Your Mother told countless stories all within the show's main narrative, the epic tale of how Ted Mosby met the titular mother. Through these stories, Ted introduced us to interesting concepts and jokes that the gang came up with, all kinds of rules and laws that most of the time Barney made up, and the various words they coined, which led to the creation of many pop culture references.
Before we move on with our top ten, we must list some honorable mentions. The running gags: interventions, The Naked Man, Robin Sparkles, the yellow umbrella. Catchphrases like challenge accepted and true story, as well as HIMYM-isms like the possimpible, revertigo, and dowisetrepla.
10 NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER 2 A.M.
In the Season One episode titled “Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M.”, Ted mentions this saying that his mother used and which he agrees with. He tells the kids the story of how, one night after 2 A.M., he lied to Robin about being broken up with Victoria and was ready to sleep with her, even though he and Victoria were still together. And he would have done it if Robin hadn’t answered his phone and found out the truth from Victoria.
In the end, Ted loses both Victoria and Robin, concluding that nothing good happens after 2 A.M. It’s a saying that makes a lot of sense and one that HIMYM fans have undoubtedly used in real life.
9 EATING A SANDWICH
Future Ted made up some pretty outrageous euphemisms for inappropriate things the gang did in their youth. So, having loud sex became “playing the bagpipe”, and smoking became “going up to the roof and standing by yourself for five minutes”. But, by far the most popular and used euphemism to come out of the show is “eating a sandwich”, which is a metaphor for smoking marijuana.
The euphemism was mentioned in multiple episodes and every time they showed the gang eating sandwiches. Appearing for the first time in the flashback episode “How I Met Everyone Else”, the euphemism quickly spread outside of the show’s fictional world.
8 HAVE YOU MET (INSERT PERSON’S NAME)?
Appearing for the first time in the “Pilot”, this catchphrase has been featured In How I Met Your Mother numerous times. Here's how it works, the wingman approaches a young woman or man, strikes up a conversation and suddenly asks “Haaaaaaaaaaaave you met (insert person's name)?”, fulfilling their wingman duty. It’s one of the most frequently used catchphrases on the show and one of its most well-known.
Barney used the “Have you met Ted?” line to introduce Ted and Robin in the “Pilot”, but other members of the gang have used it as well to set each other up with unknowing strangers.
Barney Stinson may have had the highest number of catchphrases of all the main characters on the show, but the others have also contributed to HIMYM’s pop culture legacy. Marshall Eriksen, who is a lawyer by profession, coined his own catchphrase “lawyered”. Usually, whenever Marshall would use facts to disprove someone’s argument, he’d wrap it up with a victorious “lawyered”.
The term quickly became popular outside of the show with fans using “lawyered” whenever they win arguments in real life. It is, without doubt, one of the most useful catchphrases the show has given us.
6 THE RULES, LAWS, THEORIES, AND TESTS
It is no secret that Barney Stinson had a lot of rules, theories, and laws, which guided him through life. First, there are two books which he authored: The Bro Code and The Playbook. The Bro Code contains articles that pertain to matters such as The Platinum Rule (never date anyone you see on a regular basis), The Hot/Crazy Scale (a person is allowed to be crazy, as long as they are equally hot), and The Lemon Law (the right to call off a date within the first five minutes with no repercussions).
The Playbook contains the various ploys Barney uses to meet women and give them the business, such as The Scuba Diver, The Ted Mosby, and so on. Other fun concepts that originated on the show include the Dobler-Dahmer Theory, The Blitz, The Front Porch Test, and The Mermaid Theory.
5 SLAP BET
Sometimes money just isn't enough when a bet is of utmost importance, so we have to get a bit more creative. In HIMYM, Barney and Marshall’s Slap Bet is one of the show’s longest running gags that originated in the aptly titled Season Two episode “Slap Bet”.
Barney and Marshall bet on what about her Canadian past Robin is keeping secret from the gang, Marshall wins and gets to slap Barney five times basically whenever he feels like it. The gag ran until the very end of the show, with the last slap being doled in the Season Nine episode “The End of the Isle”. The Slap Bet has given us some of the funniest episodes and became a well-known HIMYM reference.
4 MOCK SALUTES
The running gag introduced in the Season Three episode “Slapsgiving”, the Mock Salutes, quickly became a fun gag that fans of the show performed in their everyday lives. The idea is to mock salute whenever someone says something like general knowledge or major buzzkill (pretty much anything that has a military rank attached to it).
The joke originated when Ted and Robin were a couple and it eventually served to get them over the awkwardness in the post-breakup period. This is, of course, a major conspiracy that revolves around the general idea to have everyone doing the Mock Salute with corporal punishment as the penalty for non-compliance.
3 HIGH FIVES
To say that How I Met Your Mother loved its high fives would be the understatement of the century. Popularized mostly by Barney, the high five was a recurring motif on the show and it took on some pretty unexpected, weird, and hilarious shapes.
There’s their double high five, when you high five, then it’s awkward for a little bit, and then you high five again. Then, there’s the Solemn Low Five for funerals, Self-five for when no one’s around, and so on. The show made us realize the awesomeness of the somewhat-neglected high five and regard it with newfound respect.
2 SUIT UP!
As we pointed out already, Barney Stinson has many rules. One of his rules is to wear a suit for almost every occasion. In the Season One episode “Game Night”, we flashback to Barney suiting up for the very first time after having his heart broken by a girl who left him for a guy in a suit who gives high fives. It’s at that moment that Barney created this new persona, assuming the slogan “Suit up” as his catchphrase.
Over the course of nine seasons, Barney has used this catchphrase on countless occasions, often in an attempt to get Ted to put on a suit. Quotable and applicable in real life, the catchphrase quickly wound its way into our everyday conversations.
1 LEGEN-WAIT FOR IT-DARY
Yet another one of Barney’s memorable catchphrases: Legendary, or Legen -- wait for it -- dary, or "Legen -- wait for it... and I hope you're not lactose intolerant because the second half of that word is -- dairy!" has become a tagline of the show. Barney uses “legendary” perhaps even a bit too liberally to describe various events, situations, and whatnot.
One of the most clever uses of “legendary” occurred when Barney ended the season two finale with “legend -- wait for it” and started the season three premiere with “dary”. The “wait for it” part has also been used in combination with other words such as denied, and it’s become the middle name of Marshall and Lilly’s son. Legen -- wait for it -- dary is a classic HIMYM reference that even those who aren't such ardent fans should get.