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The Expression “Uff-Da!”

If you need an expressive, multipurpose word means much the same as Wow! or Gee whiz! or Oy vey!, there’s always Uff-da! This exclamation, often used to express surprise or disgust or exasperation started out as Norwegian uff da, meaning the...

Episode 1554

Deviled Eggs

Some TV commercials launch catchphrases that stick around long after the original ads. The exclamation Good stuff, Maynard! is still a compliment almost 40 years after it was used in a commercial for Malt-O-Meal hot cereal. And: what do you call...

The Light Oath “Criminently”

Megan in Denver, Colorado, wonders about an exclamation she’s used all her life, which she suspects is spelled criminiddly. It’s another variant of that mild oath criminently, also rendered as criminetly, criminitlies, crimenightie...

Episode 1553

Play It by Ear

How does social context shape our perception of language? When hiking the Appalachian Trail, a young woman from Wyoming found that fellow hikers assumed she was from another country, not only because of how she spoke, but also how she looked...

Bangorrhea

In her 1958 memoir Beloved Infidel, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s lover Sheilah Graham recalls the famous author’s distaste for exclamation points, the use of which he compared to “laughing at your own joke.” Some have proposed that...

South African “Shot” Slang

Cory in Newark, Ohio, says that while in South Africa, he heard the exclamation shot! used in an empathetic way to mean “that’s so sweet!” or “bless your heart!” In South Africa, the word can be used to express...