Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Jun 15 19:39:44 UTC 2002

What is the origin of the interjection "why", as in "Why, you little
rascal!", "Why, I'll be damned!", etc.?

I just now realized that the pronunciation is different (in my background)
from the interrogative "why" -- i.e., I would pronounce "why" in "Why me?"
as /hwai/ but "why" in "Why, I'll be!" as /wai/ ... and surely at least
many of my family and childhood friends would have done the same. Just a
local peculiarity? Or a personal misconception?

-- Doug Wilson

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