• meh •
Pronunciation: me • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Interjection, Adjective
Meaning: 1. [Interjection] Whatever! So what? Blah! Meh is a verbal shrug, an expression of apathy. 2. [Adjective] So-so, blah, uninteresting, indifferent.
Notes: Although today's expression (I hesitate calling it a 'word') is an expression of apathy, it seems to have excited the editors of the Harper Collins English Dictionary, for they decided a few days ago to add it as a new entry. It is too soon to see how this nonce word will fit into English—if it does at all. The noun mehness is already out there but no one seems to have tested the adverb (mehly?) or the comparative (meher, more meh?) and superlative (mehest, most meh?). We all await the verdict with bated breath.
In Play: As an interjection, this word indicates absolute indifference if not boredom: "So, kids, what did you think of the cheese-whip surprise I made for dinner tonight?" In unison: "Meh!" As an adjective it is the modern equivalent of blah: "I was surprised when Maude Lynn Dresser came to the party in such a meh outfit."
Word History: Back at the turn of the millennium some English speakers in the US needed a worse interjection for apathy than Whatever! The Simpsons to the rescue! In a 2001 episode Homer asked the kids if they want to go to Blockoland and their reply was, "Meh!" While the word probably was around before this episode, it is the first instance of the word that anyone recalls. While we do not accept the contention that entering a word in a dictionary (someone's selection of words) legitimizes it, it does mark a watershed for the word's progress and alerts us to watch out for it. (Our gratitude to Evelyn Hershman for suggesting this new English expression is anything but meh.)