possible antedate of indiscriminative "whatever"?

sagehen sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM
Sun Jul 23 15:32:17 UTC 2006

>The semantics of interjections can be so slippery!
>I remember, in the 4th or 5th grade, encountering the word "pshaw" in a
>spelling textbook (are those still called "spellers"?  Do they still
>EXIST?).  Half a century later, I still have never heard anyone SAY
>"pshaw"; I don't know how it would sound (in what dialect) or precisely
>what it would mean . . . .
The P is silent.  I don't think I've heard anyone say this since 1945, when
my father, who used the expression "Oh, pshaw!" often, died.  He was born
in 1878 in Ohio, so his idiolect exhibited a lot of 19th Cent features
that were otherwise rarely heard in the middlewestern speech of my
As for meaning.......?  Hmmm.  I suppose it stood for "what a shame" most
often, but sometimes merely casting doubt, as in "oh, pooh."  My brother &
I at that time would probably have said "oh, foo!" after the comic strip
"Smokey Stover."

W stands for >:<  War ____Waste___Wiretaps____Witchhunts  >:<

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

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