on behalf of a researcher

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Feb 17 02:20:11 UTC 2006

Didn't Bill Clinton say something like this? Or was it just the opposite?

  My interpretation of this seemingly recent proverb is much like that of  Arnold's assistant. It's kind of a pseudo-intellectual brush-off that tries to rise above the practically synonymous "whatever!"  With a wee _soupcon_ of "Butt out, loser!"


"Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Arnold M. Zwicky"
Subject: Re: on behalf of a researcher

here's what i said to aaron britt:

i would normally understand it to be conveying that there's nothing
more in it (whatever it is) than appears on the surface; you
shouldn't expect more. so i might say of a piece of software, "it is
what it is", meaning that i does what it purports to do, even though
there might be a lot of other things you wished it would do.

probably, in the right context it could convey that things aren't
going to change; there's no sense in trying to change it.

my undergraduate research assistant offers a third, related,
possibility: there's no point in trying to explain it; it just is
what it is.

googling on "it is what it is" turns up a big pile of stuff.

as for paraphrases, i had no great inspiration.


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

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

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