[?] Pronunciation? Pshaw!

Barnhart barnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM
Mon Jul 24 12:54:41 UTC 2006

My grandmother (born about 1870) and raised in Missouri used it to mean,
as I recall (I was very young), to mean something close to "nonsense" or
"you're joshing me."  I was not phonologically astute any more than other
pre-teens; so, I don't recall whether it was said with /p/ or without.


barnhart at highlands.com

American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on Monday, July 24, 2006
at 8:00 AM -0500 wrote:
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       David Bowie <db.list at PMPKN.NET>
>Subject:      Pronunciation? Pshaw!
>In the thread: possible antedate of indiscriminative "whatever"?
>sagehen wrote about "pshaw":
>> The P is silent.  I don't think I've heard anyone say this since 1945,
>> my father, who used the expression "Oh, pshaw!" often, died.  He was
>> 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
>> childhood.
>My mother (b. 1945 and raised in Southern Maryland) uses it, and she
>pronounces it with a [pS] consonant cluster, no schwa.
>> As for meaning.......?  Hmmm.  I suppose it stood for "what a shame"
>> 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."
>In my mother's usage, it clearly means pretty much what i mean with a
>contemptuous (as opposed to purely dismissive) "As if!"
>David Bowie                                         http://pmpkn.net/lx
>     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
>     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
>     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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