ungh murgh blarf snurg

11/16/08

I realize that HarperCollins just included the word “meh” in their new English Dictionary, and English is a living language and all that, but seriously… now that “meh” is now a real word, can we all agree to never use it again?

They say patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, and sarcasm is for people who have run out of things to say, but “meh” is for people too fucking lazy to describe their own laziness. If you find something “vaguely uninteresting” or “boringly flawed”, then bloody well say so. There are lots of words you can use to describe your immense fatigue, including “I’m not interested in talking to you right now”, but “meh” is the endgame of communication, and is unacceptable in my household.

Alternatives? Sure! How about: lethargic, saturnine, blasé, world-weary, disconsolate, gloomy, irksome, tedious, wispy, bedimmed… or my favorite, invented by Jiffer and her friends: “schma-schma”. Let me use it in a sentence:

“How was your date last night?”

“I don’t know, I tried to talk to him, but he was all ‘schma-schma’.”

Here’s the thing: “meh” can only be said by letting your jaw droop open in an uninspired attempt to get a monosyllable out – your eyes have to be vacantly staring ahead, lids at half-mast, so bereft of thought, inspiration or opinion that you’ve resorted to the sated, existential grunt of Early Man. You’ve got to do better. If you’re that bored, why are you on the ride?

0 thoughts on “ungh murgh blarf snurg

  1. kent

    I’ve never heard ‘meh’ spoken, only seen it in internet communication.
    I think ‘comme ci comme ça’ — often spelled comsi comsa — is the best expression of that feeling, but some people think French is all fancypants. Fun fact: the French actually say ‘bof’ more for the same thing — their version of ‘meh.’
    And really, like “D’oh” isn’t this a word that came from The Simpsons?

    Reply
  2. Bud

    Brevity, being the soul of wit, is much on the side of ‘meh’.
    Such a conversational neutron bomb should, however, be reserved for the truly unremarkable, the mind-numbingly banal, that which sucks away one’s inspiration to such a degree that to validate it – even negatively – with more than a partially-formed, utterly dismissive syllable would be as wasteful of one’s time as spending one’s life savings on, say, beanie babies would be of one’s money.
    Would anyone seriously argue that life is NOT full of such things?

    Reply
  3. flaco

    Never said nor typed it, that I know. I do sometimes mimic the French, with an ever so slightly exasperated ‘puuh’ sound.
    Ian, as for your adjective alternatives, they are just that. I refuse to buy it as an adjective, not going in my dictionary! Really it is at most an anti-interjection, but really just another lame dispassionate filler utterence, just your blog entry today… I keed :)

    Reply
  4. Ruth

    Ian,
    Didn’t you take any of Connie Eble’s wonderful linguistics classes back at UNC? Languages are always in transition. If people comprehend the meaning of what is being communicated, then the word used is culturally valid. In this case, I’d say that “meh” works orally, but may not work on the page, at least initally. I happen to like it when bridges pop up between colloquial speech and the official “correct” written language, even though new variations can be extremely annoying. For example: I think “meh” is funny, but I get really tired of the way those makeover shows use “reveal” as a noun. But, that’s just personal taste.

    Reply
  5. CM

    We all have our little linguistic pet peeves, but I don’t think that saying “That’s not a very convincing or important argument” is any better than “meh.” But it’s all about evolution…I used to just say “eh.” So isn’t “meh” a step up?
    I think we should at least let Jews use it, because it sounds like it came from Yiddish. Nu?

    Reply
  6. cullen

    I thought “eh” referred more to that which is considered ‘blah’ and banal by everyone. “Meh” has ‘me’ in it, so it must be a more personal commentary.
    Inflection and accompanying body language are integral for proper ‘pronunciation’ of these words.
    Alas, my mother-in-law will never allow any of these words in cut-throat Scrabble.

    Reply
  7. Ian

    Ruth – I definitely had Connie Eble’s class. If I recall correctly, some friends and I made up a bunch of slang, and they ended up in her book. But then after the book came out, some of the made-up words made their way into the language. Backwards, but cool.

    Reply
  8. Ehren

    As something of a word terrorist, I would like to have as many official words at my disposal as possible, and I reserve the right to twist them, break them, smash them together or otherwise willfully misuse them to convey whatever effed-up, batshit crazypants douchey opinion I might have.

    Reply
  9. littlerattyratratrat

    Being of Yiddish extraction, I prefer utterances that have a bit more irony. “I see!” is much more fun as a response to mind-numbing banality. Why be bored when you can be snide?

    Reply

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