"not so much" 'no'

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed May 26 03:35:47 UTC 2010

At 8:20 PM -0700 5/25/10, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>an exchange from an episode of the tv series Eureka:
>High school student: So we're not getting an A.
>Sheriff Jack Carter [the central character in the series, played by
>Colin Ferguson]: Errr... Not so much.
>this is "not so much", a formally muted negative, conveying a
>straightforward negative answer.
>it's conventionalized for the character, who uses it fairly often.
>any record of this use elsewhere?  (i don't recall having heard it
>before, which is what made me notice it, but i just might not have
>noticed earlier occurrences.)
It's been a catchphrase for awhile, at least since Buffy.  See this
piece from 4 years ago, for example:


Michael Adams can probably fill us in with a bit more detail.


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

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