"not so much"

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 13 23:09:11 UTC 2010

I am not sure I understand. The saying has been popular since Paul Reiser
used it often in his sit-com "Mad About You" in the 90s.

More recently, both Borat and Jon Stewart have used it.


On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 5:55 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      "not so much"
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> I've been hearing this interjection almost daily on TV news for two or
> three
> years.  Literally it means either "not very much" (e.g., "Did you like X?"
> "Not so much.") or else, to emphasize a specific contrast, "not as much"
> (e.g., "A dog will guard your house; a cat [pause for effect] not so much."
> For some people it is now on its way to becoming "definitely not" or even
> a simple "no."  This morning a CNN anchor reported on Vladimir Putin's
> singing debut. After a clip of his less-than-smash performance, she simply
> said, "Not so much" in descending tones that made it clear she *did not*
> mean, "Not so much singing, Vlad! It's awful!"
> And this, from
> http://omg.yahoo.com/news/kate-gosselin-sarah-palin-had-zero-chemistry-on-terrible-trip/52017?nc
>  :
> "Did fellow lightning-rod gals Kate Gosselin and Sarah Palin become BFFs
> while camping in Alaska for Palin's TLC show? Not so much!"
> It reminds me of the advent of "totally" in the late '70s.  It started
> slowly and in contexts that were barely distinguishable from standard usage
> (see esp. _Halloween_, the source that brought it to my attention).  Soon
> it was displacing "definitely."
> JL
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
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