More re: possible antedate of indiscriminative "whatever"?

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Jul 22 12:51:25 UTC 2006

On Sat, 22 Jul 2006, Fred Shapiro wrote:

> Aren't there two uses of intensive "whatever"?  One is a recent voguish
> use indicating extreme indifference: "if that's what you think, fine, it's
> not important enough to me to argue about it, end of discussion, let's
> move on to something else."

As I think about it, the now-voguish use actually has been around for a
while.  Think of "whatever" with the first syllable emphasized and the
first ayllable spoken slowly with an air of resignation.  This is the
precursor of the voguish usage, and probably goes back many decades.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS
   Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list