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Mickeym  (Level: 87.5 - Posts: 1803)
Sat, 29th May '10 8:52 AM


Recently I find myself and others doing a comparison slightly humorously of the form "The X was satisfying; the Y not so much".
Where on earth is "not so much" coming from? I ask it here because I've spotted it several times in recent posts.
Somehow in my head it has an accented ring, but whether Yiddish or Italian I can't tell, being Jewish in an Italian neighborhood.

Lynnm  (Level: 223.2 - Posts: 1925)
Sat, 29th May '10 10:10 AM

A while back I tried to research this very phrase. It has been popularized by Jon Stewart and by Paul Reiser on "Mad About You", but they didn't coin the phrase and no one seems to have pinned down exactly when and where the phrase developed.

The closest I got is that it is an old Yiddishism, delivered with a "who knows" kind of shrug. The Marx Brothers and old Jewish Vaudeville acts were the pop culture triggers to expand the phrase's use to other demographic groups.

Am I happy with this answer? Not so much.

Garrybl  (Level: 275.9 - Posts: 6608)
Sat, 29th May '10 10:14 AM

I think I'd put it in the 'yeah, right' category of irony/sarcasm, and as such very dear to my heart.

Dasfunk  (Level: 178.1 - Posts: 2307)
Sat, 29th May '10 12:15 PM

This is a Yiddish kind of expression, but I don't think it actually has an origin in the language. It "sounds" Yiddish, but I'm not aware of any Yiddish equivalent. In Hebrew, "not so much" loosely translates to "lo kol kach", as in the song "Hu Lo Kol Kach Hacham" ("He's not so smart"), or "Do you speak English?" "Lo kol kach tov" (not so good).

If my grandparents were alive, they'd be the ones to ask, but I suspect my grandmother would tell me "Shlog zich kop in vant!"

Mickeym  (Level: 87.5 - Posts: 1803)
Sat, 29th May '10 3:51 PM

Thanks! I'm convinced; Jon is to blame! That's ok, it's a neat expression we all need.
Interesting how these arise, and either die out or, like neat, stay with some of us.

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