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Tuesday, June 14, 2005
** ahem..... used to attract attnetion, express doubt, or offer mild admonishment. ahem may be employed to comical effect especially when exaggerated. it is most useful in situations in which the addressee is on the verge of committing an error of oversight or a mirror social gaffe. Virtually iednetial to ahem in the senses stated above is the word hem, which carries the supplemental meaning of pausing or hesitating in speech.

** amen..... Shared by Christians, Jews and Muslims throughout the world, this interjection, which generally occurs at the end of a prayer, creed or other formal statement, expresses solemn agreement or ratification. Amen has a secular application as well; it may be used for simple, informal concurrence, and here may carry nearly as much power and convention as its religious counterpart.

** as if..... This 1980/1990s commentarial popular among teenagers was immortalized in the film Clueless. It was not, at the time, new to American English, having been introduced a good seventy five years earlier. Used ironically to express disbelief, often with a sting (a shortened version of "as it it were true") this expression was first recorded as far back as 1905.Either it entered a long dormant period, or it disappeared altogether and was reborn in the mall culture of sunny southern California where it was to remain quite confined. Yeah. As if!

** au revoir..... Sometimes it is hard to say goodbye, and sometimes it isnt' hard at all -- especially when you can have a little fun at the expense of the French. In 1899 two British engineering experts went to Egypt to survey the Nile River and, so the story goes, bid adieu with a jocular au reservoir. This farewell remained popular for some time thereafter. Thirty some odd years later the familiar valediction was lampooned again with the less popular olive oil. Less popular by my estimate because a).it does'nt sound too much like au revoir to me, and b). how does one keep from confusing this parody of a Gallic good-bye with the name of Popeye's comically asthetic girlfriend?

** badabing-badaboom..... Can you have the bing without the boom? Yes, according to Francis Ford Coppola. In The Godfather(Jamed Caan) tells Michael (Al Pacino): "Whataya think this is, the Army, where you shoot 'em a mile away? You gotta get up close like ...badaBING! You blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League Suit".

** baloney (or boloney)..... The origin of this "bunkish" interjection is thought to have been originated by the colorful governot of New Yor (and unsuccessful 1928 presidential candidate) Alfred E. Smith, who once remarked, "No matter how you slice it, it's still baloney".Bologna sausage has been with us since the 1870's. There is an alternate theory as to the world's provenance. Some claim that this particular use came not from sausage but from a corruption of the Spanish word pelone, meaning "testicles". The fact that a good many of the interjections we use to point up follishness and hokum have testicular roots may have contributed to the world's polarity. Of ocurse, this tend to make you wonder what it is about man-marble that maked invoking them so appropriate for Expressing Dubiousness.

** beats me..... This exclamation of incomprehension mixed with slight disengagement is the conversational equivalent of a shrug. It probably comes to us from the game of poker, specifically from a loser's reaction to a better hand: "(That hand) beats me").

** bla bla bla..... Like yadda-yadda, this interjection stands in for boring or superflous discourse. It may also be employed to emulate one who talks very very much but says very little.

**ditto..... From the Tuscan dialect variant of the Italian detto ("said"), itself derived from the Latin dictus (also "said") ditto migrated into English in the early 17th cent. and carried the limited sense "in the aforesaid month" Nowadays the word may apply to anything "aforesaid" and is most often represented on the page by a ditto mark -- two marks in fact -- that remind us of a quotation.

**for crying out loud..... This longish interjection was first recorded in the mid-1920s. It is believed that it was a spur-of-the-moment substitute for For Christ's Sake.. One imgines that the perpetriator got through the first word,and realizing that he was about to blurt out an oath that might even burn a few Christian ears today,replaced Christ with crying out loud.

**gee..... Here's an interjection putting in a little overtime. Dating back to the 17th century in England, the word has been used to direct a horse or other draft animal to turn to the right. Its counterpart haw turns the animal to the left.gee is also used to express enthusiasm, astonishment, disappointment, or simple emphasis.

**gotcha! (or gotcher!)..... Literally "got you" this interjection, heavily used since the 1960's but around much longer, is voiced to add a little insult to a humiliating injury. Generally utilized to punctuate a swift action in which one gets the clean upper hand over another, it can be applied to a mild indignity, such as the locker room prank pulling the underwear of one's 8th grade nemesis down to his ankles, or, on a much larger scale, to the sinking of a whole battlehsip.

**no way..... This exclamation of disbelief went full tilt in the 1980s, although it's been with us a lot longer than that. Originally meaning, "There's no way I'm going to do that", it spawned a counter interjection in the single word way.

**oh boy!..... This exclamatory interjection and its longer winded companion boy, oh boy! have been with us over a century and show no signs of losing their popularity any time soon. Indicating spirited anticipation or satisfaction, they don't respect class or economic lines. The purity of their sentiment (they are popular with children) places them in a small group of exclamation. Oh Boy! is probably the antecednet of Oh Brother! which has evolved into the perfect commentarial for expressing wry skepticism and rueful afterthought.

**Oops..... has a very close cousin, whoops. It is employed in many of the same situations in which one might bear oops, but because mit has a softer edge, one may hear it more often in the presence of children -- especially the variety that stumbles and must be righted. As interjections go, whoops probably hasn't been with us all that long. It first appeared in print, amazingly, in a letter penned by poet Erza Pound in 1937.

**pssst..... Used to attract someone's attention in a manner that isn't supposed to draw too much attention to itslef, this interjection usually ends up drawing far too much attention to itself. For this reason the word is rearely heard except in bad television programs.

**shit..... has been used by nearly all of us at one time or another, sometimes involunarily (at least that's what we tell people). This exclamation of dismay, anger, vexation, disgust, or all the above has been with us for quite some time.

**shoo..... All words can be misused or misappropriated. Interjections, because of their blue colar status in the language, are disrespected disproportinately. Take the simple imperative shoo By defintion, it should be used only for scaring off an animal.

**surprise! surprise!..... It is especially effective when commenting on situations in which the worst has to come to pass.

**tada! (or tah-dah!) ..... The loose vocal mimic of a trumpet flourish or fanfare, tada! may be used to announce or present with just a wee bit of waggish pomp and ceremony. The word may also be utilized to put a fine finish on an action deserving of recognition .

(abstracted from the book ZOUNDS!: A Browse's Dictionary of Interjections by: Mark Dunn)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:10 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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