"All seriousness aside"

Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Thu Aug 4 17:20:20 UTC 2005

Not quite the same, but a variation on this theme is a current usage of
"quite honestly" (also "in all honesty" and perhaps other variants).  I
hear it used increasingly in contexts where no confession of unaccustomed
candor would seem warranted.  Originally you might expect, e.g., a car
salesman to use it to signal that he's temporarily stepping out of his
expected role of maximizing his employer's profits and his own commission
by any means necessary, saying, "quite honestly, you really don't need this
$1,000 option."  Nowadays you're at least as likely to hear, "quite
honestly, you really do need this $1,000 option,"


--On Wednesday, August 03, 2005 11:55 PM -0400 Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU> wrote:

> So has "all seriousness aside" joined the ranks of established
> contra-idioms like "literally" = "not literally", "could care less" =
> "could not care less", and the Language Log favorite, "still unpacked" =
> "still packed"? Some Google-alia for your perusal...

Peter A. McGraw       Linfield College        McMinnville, Oregon
******************* pmcgraw at linfield.edu ****************************

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