same old

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Tue Jun 19 16:50:17 UTC 2001

> The 'pidgin' expression "same-same" (no "oh"s), in my (limited) personal
> experience and in accounts of Vietnam, etc., just means "the same [as]". I
> imagine "same-oh same-oh" (meaning "the same old tedious thing" or so) may
> well have been used in East Asia by US military; but if so I suspect they
> carried it from the US.

The earliest evidence I've seen is from the mid-1950s to
early-1960s, in military sources all in reference to the Korean
War. All seem to be 'same old tedious thing' rather than 'same'
when the meaning can be determined.

> I can't remember whether I heard/said "same old same old" = "same-oh
> same-oh" before 1980 myself, but it seems like a very apt variant of "same
> old shit" or so, and I think that's where it came from.

The earliest I've seen for and "ol(d)" variant is 1970s, from two
different black English sources.

> Jonathon Green's dictionary claims this is from the 1930's, and originally
> "black". This sounds believable to me.

It's believable to me, too, but I haven't seen it. Perhaps Mr. Green,
now a member of this list, would be willing to share his evidence?

Jesse Sheidlower

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