possible antedate of indiscriminative "whatever"?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Jul 22 14:39:13 UTC 2006

My apologies,Laurence.  Did I miss that you said you had recently
viewed the movie?


At 7/22/2006 10:12 AM, you wrote:
>>Oral memory is elusive--one should hear the scene (wait for the next
>>repeat on Turner Classic Movies!).  But I don't remember a stress on
>>the second syllable,
>Stress was on first syllable, although I'll take it out from the
>library again to confirm it (the scene was at approx. 1:22 on the
>DVD counter).
>>  and do remember receiving the "recent voguish"
>>sense.  I think I remember that the speaker sounds resigned, and the
>>discussion moves on to another aspect of the crime.
>Yes, he's waving off the police detective, and the sense is one of
>ungracious concession, which I take to be the heart of the current
>trendy use.  ("Even if you're right, it's irrelevant because...")
>>At 7/22/2006 08:41 AM, you wrote:
>>>On Sat, 22 Jul 2006, Jesse Sheidlower wrote:
>>>>It looks pretty solid to me. I'm trying to find a reason to
>>>>dismiss it, but can't.
>>>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."  The other is a more traditional usage,
>>>unrecorded by OED, indicating anger and pronounced with a strong emphasis
>>>on the second syllable: "the point you are making is irrelevant to the
>>>real issue, which I will now explain to you."  This traditional use is
>>>probably elliptical for some saying like "whatever you say is besides the
>>>point."  I think Larry's example illustrates the second sense.  Am I
>>>misanalyzing this?
>>>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 yale.edu               http://quotationdictionary.com
>>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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