General Question

stevenb's avatar

Have any of you ever heard the phrase "um ver"?

Asked by stevenb (3808points) April 29th, 2010 from iPhone

We used to use it when we were kids in Montana. As in “Um ver! I’m gonna tell mom and you are gonna get in trouble!”. It was used to show suprise at someones naughty actions. Do any of you recall ever hearing this? I can’t find the origin of it for the life of me. Thanks.

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29 Answers

netgrrl's avatar

I never heard of it, but I did find this

SundayKittens's avatar

Interesting! Never heard it…I don’t think.

erichw1504's avatar

No, but I’ve heard of the phrase “Ca va?”

Saw it on a Droid commercial.

ucme's avatar

Sounds like the noise I used to make when I was pretending to drive as a kid.

stevenb's avatar

@netgrrl, thanks for the link. I wonder if the Spanish is where it did originate. Most of Montana was Norwegian or Swedish, so I wonder if there is a Norwegian origin also. Thanks again. Anyone else heard it?

stump's avatar

Never heard of it. But thanks. I find those regional kid-talk phrases facinating. Jezum Crow, someone should write a book.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@stevenb if it’s got a Norwegian basis, then it could be related to the “oof dah” ejaculation that’s common in Iowa and parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The_Idler's avatar

When we were kids, in northampton, we would say Ooohhhhhh or ummmmmm!

Pandora's avatar

Ver means to see in spanish. Maybe it was you moms way of shortening we’ll see. Um may have just been a sound for Uhm. Like someone saying Uhmmm, we’ll see.

chamelopotamus's avatar

I’ve heard “Ooooohhhhh My me moh!”

gailcalled's avatar

In portuguese, “um ver” means “a view.” Probably not a hot language in Montana, however.

Trillian's avatar

No, but kids say the darndest things. My son and all his little minions say “wever” instead of “what ever.”

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I’m amazed that so many people here have never heard of it. I used to say it all the time as a kid. Hmm.

davidk's avatar

“Um-ver!” – Roughly, “shame-shame on you.” Colloquialism native to Montana. Origin? Sounds Scandinavian.

Jeruba's avatar

First I’ve ever run across it.

gailcalled's avatar

I’m telling you all; it is Portuguese and means “a view.” It translates to itself in the Scandanavian languages. (How to waste a good hour).

However, it could have been bastardized from some other expression.

stevenb's avatar

@gailcalled, any idea how it got turned into, basically, ” I can’t believe you did that!” in kid-speak?

gailcalled's avatar

How does anything turn into kid-speak? Kids speaking, I guess. Look at the dozens of ways that toddlers try to say, in English at least, “grandma” or “blanket.”

The great and wonderful man who begat Ben used to talk about his “bankie,” even when it was a scrap no bigger than a rag. My parents finally told him they were sending it to a needy child in India. (I add this because I just learned that particular story from his widow.)

My first word was “cow,” and I used it for all 4-legged animals. My daughter used to put on ’“glubs” in the winter.

Would you understand “So’s your old man” if an 11-year-old yelled it at you? From my childhood, I guess.

Slightly off-topic. I have a forebear named Shifrin; it has transmuted into Schifrin, Shefrin, Shefren, and probably more.

I love learning how language evolves.

jlotus's avatar

We said it in Ft. Collins, Colorado also, but we pronounced it “um-burr!” I think the people who are referring to the Spanish word “ver” are thinking it’s pronounced “vair” Neighbor in Greeley told us it was pronounced “Um Vurr” down there.

lanell's avatar

We used um ver (“uhm vurr”) in Wyoming. The emphasis is on the second word with rising and descending intonation, sounding as if it has two syllables, (“vurr-er”). If it is said as “um burr”, it because the child is too young to pronounce the letter “v” correctly. This is a children’s exclamatory and accusatory remark used when he or she finds another child doing something they know they’re not supposed to be doing, like sorting the Flintstones vitamins into little color-coded piles on the kitchen table and trying to eat them all before Mom wakes up. This remark is usually immediately followed by “I’m gonna tell.”

tasunkawitko's avatar

Steven, where in Montana? When I was a kid we lived in Glasgow and that’s where I learned it – then when we moved to Havre they were saying it there, too. I always thought it was more “un-ver,” but basically it’s the same idea… I’m willing to bet it’s more from Scandinavian origin; there was no Latino polulation to speak of in Montana when I was a kid….

Layney23's avatar

I am from Butte, Mt. Home of the famous copper kings, and even kneivel. Butte was once thought to be a “mini Chicago” during the copper boom. It was also a melting pot of several different ethnicities. Irish, Swedish Norwegian, ugoslavians, Finnish,& etc. I believe the saying umm very may have some Croatian origin.

stevenb's avatar

I was born in Livingston. Left in 1984, but still go back a few times a year to visit the parents.

WoobieTuesday's avatar

Yes!! Grew up in Billings and have always wondered about the origin myself. I still tend to say it around people not from Montana and they always look at me funny.

joeybeaver0's avatar

The girls in Ft Collins would say um ver or um bur when they caught us looking up their skirts on the bus or in the school room.

beckiannkc's avatar

We used it as children. Grew up in Billings, with early years in Glasgow. When we did it, we also pointed one index finger and stroked it with the other index finger. It’s definitely ‘shame on you.’ Also, of German/Austrian and Norwegian ancestry.

Cycle303's avatar

Om ver can be translated from Dutch to mean “Too far”. This seems to align with how I used it as a kid and works with my lineage.

BiffyJip's avatar

I grew up in Polson, MT in the 1980s. Um ver, along with a pointed finger strike, was commonly used to say “that’s some risky behavior that’ll get you in trouble.”

cptzoom's avatar

I was born in Great Falls in 1968 and grew up in western Montana. We said this (along with the finger strikes) as well. I thought everyone everywhere said this. When I met my wife in Oklahoma and said it in a joking manner, she gave me a funny look and asked, “What does that mean?!?!?” I’ve since asked other people from various parts of the country, and no one has ever heard of it. It’s definitely a Montana thing…

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