kfw

Top Ten Irritating Phrases

130 posts in this topic

Here's blogger Brian Appleyard's explanation of meh's origins.

So the word 'meh' has entered the Collins English Dictionary. Used to express indifference, vague contempt or boredom, the official acceptance of meh is an example of the influence of internet-speak.

As usual, the Americans think they invented it (they think they invented all sorts of things, like baseball and motor cars. Meh!).

However, today I can exclusively reveal the true origins of the word on Thought Experiments. It is a corruption of Auden's magnificently-timed 'Mneh', which features in the sixth stanza of Moon Landing. In context, the meaning is unambiguous.

Share this post


Link to post

Didn't "feh" once express just these feelings?

Share this post


Link to post
Didn't "feh" once express just these feelings?

"Feh" is dismissive, with a mixture of non-vague contempt and disapproval. "Meh" is something you can't even get worked up about.

Share this post


Link to post

A corollary to the discussion on "How are you."

If you are American, you know the answer is always, "Just fine, thanks" or a variation thereof. If someone who isn't a very close friend asks you "How are you?" and you actually tell them . . . the reaction is usually a pained smile. I remember doing that once in college and realizing that things were pretty bad if I was actually telling someone how I was.

Share this post


Link to post

Slightly off topic but related.... Today's very funny Borrowitz Report is entitled "Obama’s Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy".

"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist."

Share this post


Link to post

One I haven't seen mentioned yet is "Enjoy!" I'm getting desensitised, but it used to have a nails-on-the-blackboard effect on me.

Share this post


Link to post
A corollary to the discussion on "How are you."

If you are American, you know the answer is always, "Just fine, thanks" or a variation thereof. If someone who isn't a very close friend asks you "How are you?" and you actually tell them . . . the reaction is usually a pained smile. I remember doing that once in college and realizing that things were pretty bad if I was actually telling someone how I was.

...I know...pointless. grr! :pinch:

Share this post


Link to post

OK, now I'm getting really picky, but I never liked the sign-off "Best,". Even though I've used it.

Anyone remember the waiter in an episode of Sex and the City who replied to everything Carrie said with "Perfect" (the irony being, of course, that nothing in this scene was)? Glad that never caught on...

Share this post


Link to post
Carrie said with "Perfect" (the irony being, of course, that nothing in this scene was)? Glad that never caught on...

Oh, but it did catch on, just not quite as tenaciously as 'EGGGS-actly.'

Share this post


Link to post
Carrie said with "Perfect" (the irony being, of course, that nothing in this scene was)? Glad that never caught on...

Oh, but it did catch on, just not quite as tenaciously as 'EGGGS-actly.'

I was afraid it had caught on or--even worse--that the script was reporting a trend, not starting one.

OOooo and how about "absolutely" as a more refined version of "you betcha!"

The problem with these is the repetition, isn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
[The problem with these is the repetition, isn't it?

Definitely that's it. Some people must use them several times per spoken paragraph. :pinch:

Share this post


Link to post

I apologize to no one and everyone. Really, I'm so, so sorry, and I can't even promise never (except for the "ax" thing) to do it again. I never realized how badly I spoke/wrote. This is humiliating.

(Is anyone reading embarrassing offenses on this list and thinking, "Wait! I do that!"? Please let it not be just me. :pinch: )

Share this post


Link to post
(Is anyone reading embarrassing offenses on this list and thinking, "Wait! I do that!"? Please let it not be just me. :blush: )
"With all respect, I'm sorry but ... absolutely." (Apologies to Giannina for the "absolutely.")

Share this post


Link to post

Oh, please tell me you knew I was kidding with my "absolutely"

Giannina

Share this post


Link to post
Oh goodie, I finally get to say it: Misuse of the word "bemused." :thumbsup: It means bewildered, NOT amused. Far too many people, including journalists, misuse this word as a synonym for "amused."

I just came across a prime example in a photo capture on the International Figure Skating website. In the gala after Skate Canada, the Men's and Ladies' gold medallists, Patrick Chan and Joannie Rochette, both from Canada, were brought on the ice before they skated to subject themselves and the audience to silly banter. Rochette most certainly was not bemused by Chan's comment, and this is obvious from the photo (bottom left).

http://www.ifsmagazine.com/forum/index.php...ost&id=1950

Share this post


Link to post
Oh, please tell me you knew I was kidding with my "absolutely"
Absolutely, Giannina. I was kidding too. :clapping::clapping:

Re: the "bemused"/"amused" confusion. How about "inferred"/"implied"? A while ago I came across an example in a NY Times blog piece by a fairly major writer.

Just now, I searched for "infer" on BT and can report that Ballet Talkers, at least, use it correcty. If I am permitted to include gestures on a thread devoted to "phrases," how about a big "High 5" for us! :thumbsup:

How about "lookit" for "look." As in: "Lookit! The snow has melted." Or, "lookit" instead of "look at." As in: "Lookit the beautiful detailing." Is this only found in U.S. English? It seems so common that it must be acceptible now. I hardly notice it.

Share this post


Link to post

I've never heard anybody complain about this but me, it's a pronunciation that has changed for many over the decades: 'question' is often not pronounced 'ques-chun', but more and more 'quession' or even 'quezzion'. Come on, somebody must have noticed this version of vernacular and colloquial downturn...just like 'a couple beers.'

Share this post


Link to post

I haven't noticed that, papeetepatrick. Perhaps it's specific to New York or the northeastern US?

Share this post


Link to post

TIME magazine this week misused the word "disinterested" in place of the correct "uninterested".

To paraphrase "Casablanca": I am "shocked! shocked...."

And I believe it was "the usual suspects'" fault.

Share this post


Link to post
I haven't noticed that, papeetepatrick. Perhaps it's specific to New York or the northeastern US?

Maybe I didn't write it out phonetically quite right either. It's more like kwesh-un, like 'passion' and not like 'bastion'. Maybe just sloppy speech, but it could be regional, I'm not sure.

Share this post


Link to post

"Have fun"

seems to be the most important element of any activity these days, rather than concentrating, working hard, doing your best, or giving your all. Children must feel so confused when they are doing difficult things and struggling with it and constantly being told my adults that they are supposed to be having fun.

Share this post


Link to post

One linguistic fad I find especially ugly is the use of the present tense when it's the past that's being spoken of. For example, "So now he buys . . . " instead of "so then he bought . . ." Sportscasters do this a lot, but I hear talking heads on political shows doing it too.

Share this post


Link to post