Expressions that mean duh

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Tue Mar 27 12:41:30 UTC 2007

What language scholars sometimes call "pope questions" paremiologists and other folklorists (unbeknownst to the language scholars) have been calling "sarcastic interrogatives" since the 1970s. (Incidentally, in an article forthcoming in _Western Folklore_ I discuss the genre at tedious length.)

However, "duh" retorts are a little different.  For one thing, what triggers them is not necessarily a question. ("The sun rises in the east."/"Duh!"). In fact, I'd say that "Duh!" most often responds to an ASSERTION of something that's obvious. In those cases, Jim Parish's "Ya think?" and William Salmon's "No shit, Sherlock!" would serve well. But I don't know a term for the larger category.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 20:25:24 -0600
>From: Susan Burt <smburt at ILSTU.EDU>
>Subject: Re: Expressions that mean duh
>I don't know about the "duh" equivalents, but the questions with obvious answers have been called "Pope questions," after one of them: "Is the Pope Catholic?"
>On Mar 26, 2007, at 8:07 PM, Patti Kurtz wrote:

>> Not exactly a dialect question, but a language one.  I'm trying to come up with some different expressions that we use to mean "well, duh"-- in response to a question whose answer is obvious-- for example "Does the sun rise in the east?"  (these are for a novel I'm working on)
>> Is there a name for those?  And can you folks cite some examples?
>> Thanks.
>> Patti Kurtz
>> Minot State University

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