Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 12 17:47:16 UTC 2010

I am not entirely convinced that these two are of the same origin. "Weak
sauce" sounds like a substitute for "weak tea" and "small beer"--perhaps
a conscious substitution made at one point by people who don't drink tea
and would not know of small beer, so they could not recollect what it
was that was "weak" and made a "natural" substitution.

"Awesome sauce" is not likely to have the same origin--unless it
happened to be directly designed as an antonym to "weak sauce", which is
what Ben Zimmer said. There is a hint of alliteration in it and a
possible sexual connotation (lost over time, perhaps). Another
possibility--as Garson's first find suggests--it's the sauce that makes
things awesome when added, so it's not the sauce that's "awesome", but
there is a quantity of "awesome" /in/ the sauce. Again, if this is the
case, it is not parallel to "weak sauce". At least, that's what the
original intent might have been. At this point, it makes no difference
in use.


On 11/12/2010 9:09 AM, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC wrote:
> San Jose Mercury News (CA) - Saturday, August 19, 1989 p 1E [Newsbank]
> "And not only is the attempt usually weak sauce when a grown- up tries
> to sound totally fresh, kids don't like to hear their own lingo coming
> out of the mouths of their elders anyway. . . .  And "weak sauce" has
> stepped in for "lame." "
> _Los Angeles Times_ Aug 27, 1993. pg. 12 [ProQuest]
> "He taunts his opponent, jeering him throughout the match ("Come on with
> that weak sauce! Come on!")"
> The News Tribune [Tacoma WA] - Thursday, February 22, 1996 p A1
> [Newsbank]
> "Led by Perot and U.S. Rep. Linda Smith (R-Hazel Dell), the panel told
> the crowd in the Highline Community College gym that any alternative to
> legislation proposed by Smith is weak sauce."
> _Electronic Gaming Monthly_ 10/2002 p. 190 col 2
> "It's just too bad the game is still weak sauce when it comes to
> character design."
> Laurinburg Exchange, The (NC) - Friday, April 6, 2007 p B003 [Newsbank]
> ""It was just a week full of awesome sauce and probably the best spring
> break of college I've had so far," she continued."
> Rockford Register Star (IL) - Thursday, May 3, 2007 p 10M [Newsbank]
> "Describe yourself in one word: Awesome sauce. Isn't that one word?"
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
> Behalf Of
>> Ben Zimmer
>> Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2010 9:16 AM
>> Subject: Re: Query: Slang "Awesome sauce!"
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> ----------------------
>> -
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society<ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Ben Zimmer<bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
>> Subject:      Re: Query: Slang "Awesome sauce!"
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ------
>> -
>> My impression is that "awesome sauce" (along with similar "X sauce"
>> formations) was originally modeled on "weak sauce" (meaning 'lame,
>> disappointing'). Urban Dictionary has entries for "weak(-)sauce" going
>> back to 2003:
>> --bgz
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
> Caveats: NONE
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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