Mark A Mandel
mam at THEWORLD.COM
Thu Apr 4 04:02:36 UTC 2002
A question on alt.usage.german about the meaning and usage of "doch"
led to an interesting discussion of an American expression that no
one there but the poster -- many of us native USEng speakers -- had
ever heard. I have arranged the posts in logical order, using only the
portions relevant to "way huh" and beginning with the original post
by a person named Kevin; I have deleted other posters' names.
-- Mark A. Mandel
When used alone, I thought ["doch"] translated as "way huh!", used as a
positive contradiction to a negative comment*, as in:
"Led Zeppelin doesn't rock."
[* That is, equivalent to "It does so!" = 'I disagree; Led Zeppelin does
rock.' -- MAM]
Could you further translate that into British English, please?
You're not alone. I've lived in the U.S. for well nigh 30 years and
have yet to hear "way huh!". "Way" I've heard as a response to "No way"
(think Wayne's World). But "Way huh!" is a new one to me, although I'm
guessing by context that in the sentence quoted above, it means
something like, "Yes, Zeppelin does too rock!"
I've lived in the U.S. all my life and have never heard that expression.
Would Kevin please explain where he heard it?
All right, I probably heard it last on the gradeschool playground, but
it does exist.
I called my dog an "ardeecee," a word I made up. But that word doesn't
exist in any dictionary of English. Do you think "way huh" has a
similar genesis and that its use is peculiar to grade-schoolers in a
OK. My guess (and it is a *BIG* guess) is that "way huh" could be some
sort of response to "no way". Where I grew up in Indiana, we typically
responded to "no way" by saying "yes way." It has it's logic. In the
"Wayne's World" SNL skits and movies, the corresponding response was
So if one takes this "way" response, and combines it with the "huh" from
"uh-huh" (the positive grunting opposite of "huh-uh"), you might come up
with "way huh".
Just thinking aloud,
Your etymological guess makes sense to me. But the question is
whether "way huh" is universally understood by English-speakers.
I don't think it is, because the only reported use of it was in one
Agreed. I'd bet most AmEng speakers would have to guess it's meaning
from the context.
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