Countryballs is an Internet meme whereby all the nations of the world are represented (primarily) as balls containing their national flag. In addition, some multinational organizations (such as the European Union and the United Nations), sub-national divisions (such as American states), groups seeking recognition as countries, ancient empires (such as the Roman Empire, represented as a ball in Roman gear with the acronym SPQR), and original peoples are also represented.
The meme is also known as Polandball after the primary character, which represents the nation of Poland. Poland is represented with its national flag upside down (red over white, whereas its flag is white over red); because of this the country is considered upside-down as well, leading to the most well-known joke in the meme: "Poland cannot into space" (and its numerous, unsuccessful, attempts in the meme to go into space; in real life Poland did send one astronaut as part of the Soyuz program from the old Soviet Union and Poland is a full member of the European Space Agency).
The meme also has other, common running gags:
- Outside of English speaking countries, the other balls use "broken English", with such phrases as "X can/cannot into Y", "is of", the misspelling "yuo" to represent "you", "clay" to represent the physical territory of a country, "stronk" to mean "strong" (based off the Eastern European pronunciation) and "kebab" to represent any Islamic country.
- Based on Nazi Germany's dismissal of Jewish people and their scientific achievements (even going so far as to differentiate between "Jewish physics" and "German physics"), Israel is represented as a cube (the reasoning being "Jewish physics").
- Poland is usually shown as a plumber working for the United Kingdom; the UK is shown wearing a top hat and a monacle, and often with a cup of tea.
- Jamaica and The Netherlands are often shown with pink eyes (depicting drug use; both countries have legalized marijuana)
- Russia is often shown with a ushanka (a traditional winter hat) and vodka, while Canada is often shown with a beaver cap and frequently saying "sorry" to the other countryballs
- The United States is shown with sunglasses, often depicted as overweight, using profanity, and with firearms, frequently getting into wars with other countryballs (especially if oil is involved); the UK and Canada often have to talk him out of his actions.