The Darwin Award

The Darwin Award is an honor (award or prize) that is given as a joke to people who have done stupid things to hurt themselves badly or even to kill themselves. It is given out each year.

The “award” was actually started by different people on the Internet. There is no official organization that gives out this award. One of the most well known lists, however, can be found at here.

This award is of course named after Charles Darwin (1809–1882), who is best known for his theories (general principles to explain something) on evolution, or how different forms of life have changed or “evolved” over their long history on Earth.

One idea that came out of Darwin’s theories is often called “survival of the fittest,” which is the concept that the strongest and smartest people survive (stay alive), and the weakest and dumbest do not. As a result, the weakest people do not pass on their genes (genetic material; the characteristics that a person passes onto his or her children) to future generations.

This award is a tongue-in-cheek (not serious) prize for the people each year who have done the stupidest thing to kill themselves or to hurt themselves so that they can no longer have children.

For example, in 1996, the winners included a man who wanted to prove how brave and strong he was by cutting off his own head! In 2000, one of the winners shot himself with his own gun while teaching his wife about gun safety. In 2005, two men who had been drinking alcohol made a bet while standing on an overpass (road or bridge over a freeway). They wanted to know who was strongest. They decided that the winner would be the person who could dangle (hang by their arms) over the freeway the longest. The winner was too tired to climb back up and was killed when he fell.

And with the help of current technology, in 2014, two men tried to take selfies (photos taken of yourself, while operating your own smartphone/camera) with an elephant. The two men were actually touching the elephant’s face when the elephant got angry and trampled (walked on and crushed) them both.

No one is certain why most of the winners have been men.

ESLPod Team

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Image Credit: From Wikipedia
* This post was adapted from “What Insiders Know” from Cultural English 72. To see the rest of the Learning Guide, including a Glossary, Sample Sentences, Comprehension Questions, a Complete Transcript of the entire lesson and more, become a Select English Member.
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11 Responses to The Darwin Award

  1. Tania says:


    We learn about Darwin evolution theories at school.
    Our biology labs have proves that sustain the theory of evolution.
    And now we can read on Google all kind of suppositions…
    why Darwinism is false, 9 scientific facts prove the “Theory of Evolution ”
    is false…
    His famous book “On the Origine of Species by Means of Natural Selection”…
    scientifically false?

  2. Tania says:


    A Darwin Award in this spirit?
    I do not know what to say. Every thing is possible.

    Best wishes,


  3. emiliano says:

    May be because men are usually more foolish than women, that´s very clear
    at least for me, and eve women have their feet over earth knowing better than
    men how to care themselves.

    No any news about such incredible stupid and foolish prizes.

    It is well known that men are so foolish as to kill every other creature round
    them but even destroy everything in this our world, of course I am very sceptically pessimist about our own humanity in the Earth so these prices gives me the
    perfect reason to think so.

    So long friends. emiliano

  4. Peter says:

    Easlpod team ,
    Wgat question comes to mind
    How are theses people spotted around the world. U know we are not talking about kids living down the streets.
    How are thses people spotted
    And how on earth they are given rewards post-mortem ?

    Easlpod team u mention it is a joke
    What do u mean by ” a joke ”
    Are u saying no actual gifts exchanging hands.
    are u telling me , there are some people out there who spend time and resources to spot these handful of people to give them a physical reward?
    If there are
    Who are there ? Because they deserve the stupidity prize themselves since what they are doing is the stupidest task of all.

    I m confused
    What are they doing it
    And what are their means ?
    How on earth they spotted thses people


  5. Antonio Carlos says:

    Those prizes lol So many weird human beings out there.

    About the historic man, I guess I was happier when I did not know Darwin…

  6. Tania says:


    Unfortunately and in my country there is this a new trendy with selfies,
    with the most curious selfies with many dead young people.
    We can see them on TV news not like an award, but like a warning.
    The danger is danger.

  7. Peter says:

    Hello world
    Despite the fact that this blog has readers from even far-flang parts of the world ,I find it very strange that there are just a handful of said readers leave comments and express their take on the post.

    My dear classmate
    Please note we don’t learn just from our dear professors -well,and recently , a third party named” eslpod team”- but from one another as well.
    Don’t be coy
    Come out and play


  8. Dr. Lucy Tse says:

    Please be sure to check out our quite active Facebook page, where many listeners are posting comments.


  9. Peter says:

    I watched
    The kingsnan movie last night
    The auditorium was packed
    It was a rollick experience
    I was nestled with two group of gals :)))
    The movie is silly
    But amusement
    Amusingly silly, if u will
    With a thumping glitz and glamour throughout the movie : I mean every sense of the movie is conspicuously bright and colourful.;)


  10. emiliano says:

    Frequently I think the cat is inside my mind or Emiliano is inside the cat´s mind.

    It is just like Gatufo could understand my inner thoughts either my feelings, if I am sad, happy or worried. Some how as gatufo has a radar who read all what happens round him.

    I would say like he is my soul matter now as I look through things with his inteligent eyes.
    Life is so simple for him, that makes me think how we like to complicate our own lifes.

    Money means nothing for a cat, ambition, powe
    r, jealous, mean nothing for a cat. Have lot of things means nothing for a cat. Even tomorrow´s life means nothing for a cat.

    Gatufo lives his moment, just now lives this second on my lap, nothing cares him only to be close near Emiliano. That´s all.
    We think humans are intelligent souls?
    Let me doubt about that.

    I think we are not, we are the worst creature under the sky, the creature that suffers more, that makes more devil things on the globe.
    Look round you, what is happening just now?, what have happened years before. What have happened along thousand of years?….the most inteligent creatures of the world?
    Sorry, I don´t think so. Never I have think so, and now looking my cat even less.

    Enjoy like him does.

  11. emiliano says:

    Sure Lucy I will.
    Thanks a lot.


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