General Question

biggorlk's avatar

When did the exclamation "Really?" become an expression of disdain?

Asked by biggorlk (20points) December 24th, 2010

When the exclamatory “Really?” expresses surprise, the voice starts low and ends high. But when the voice starts high and stays high, the word expresses annoyance. As in “Really? You’re going to text your friends during our date?” This seems new to me.

Is this a new usage? What’s its origin?

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15 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

I don’t know, but I really hate it. Seriously.

YARNLADY's avatar

People can make any word sound derogatory, as in “Yeah, right”

Odysseus's avatar

Pretty far back I’d guess ,Greeks still use the word Alethia (ἀλήθεια) to the same effect link(philosophy)

Kardamom's avatar

It does seem relatively new and I hate hearing it all over the place practically every day. At least it’s not vulgar, but it’s so over used and it happened so quickly.

ETpro's avatar

It’s pretty easy (and common) to give a normally affirming word or phrase the opposite meaning by changing the inflection we give it. Ben Stein saying “Well isn’t that exciting.” in his best deadpan tone.

Kraigmo's avatar

It’s a saying that people who watch a lot of TV say.

anartist's avatar

“You know an Englishman is never unintentionally rude.”

Anemone's avatar

I’ve noticed it a lot recently, and assumed it was from TV since it’s so widespread. Wherever it’s from, I think it sounds incredibly patronizing.

cookieman's avatar

Well it’s more polite than, “Are you fucking insane?!” (which works to the same effect).

MNCgirl's avatar

Anything can be derogatory with raised eyebrows and sarcasm!

downtide's avatar

Any word can be used sarcastically in that way. Sarcasm is very common in the UK.

aelfman's avatar

Popularized by Amy Poehler and Seth Myers on SNL in the “Weekend Update”

From WikPedia entry on SNL

“The duo began a string of running gags, one of which was introduced during the 2006–2007 season, entitled “Really!?! with Seth and Amy”, involved Seth and Amy lambasting celebrities (for example Alberto Gonzales, Larry Craig, Eliot Spitzer, Rod Blagojevich, or Michael Vick) for lack of common sense. ”

Jeremycw1's avatar

I don’t know where it came from, or who started it, but it annoys me! And a lot of people use it to make me feel stupid!

Kraigmo's avatar

It amazes me that Saturday Night Live still is able to create a meme. I guess they occasionally have something that’s occasionally funny on that show still.

Tuffy's avatar

I first heard it in the movie “Live Free or Die Hard”. It was uttered by Timothy Olyphant. I hate the expression.

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