"not so much" 'no'

Baker, John M. JMB at STRADLEY.COM
Wed May 26 04:18:58 UTC 2010

I believe it was first popularized by Paul Reiser in Mad About You, starting in 1992, and subsequently taken up by other comedians.  The earliest example of which I am aware is from an episode first aired on 9/30/1992:  "As a couch, I liked it.  And as a 'love seat,' not so much."
John Baker


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Arnold Zwicky
Sent: Tue 5/25/2010 11:40 PM
Subject: Re: "not so much" 'no'

On May 25, 2010, at 8:35 PM, Larry Horn wrote:

> 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:
> http://www.azcentral.com/ent/pop/articles/1031catchphrases1031.html

well, there you go.  i've seen every Buffy episode at least twice, some many more times than that, but i didn't catch the catchphrase then. thanks for the pointer.
> Michael Adams can probably fill us in with a bit more detail.


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

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