Navigation


Schwa

220;
An interjection expressing surprise and disbelief. Schwa is a contraction – almost a blending and clipping – of sh(it) and wha(t), two commonly used injerjections. The former is more intense but also more vulgar; the latter is more formal and socially acceptable, but lacks emphasis and spirited vigor. Schwa is euphemistic in that the sch carries the intensity of shit, but without the unacceptable overtones. Wa, or wha, is often used instead of the full word what, to avoid the voiceless stop, which clips the interjection perhaps prematurely. Likewise with shit – the sch allows the word to extend as long as desired, and by varying the duration and emphasis of each syllable in schwa, information about how intensely we feel about whatever evoked the interjection can be obtained. For example, a drawn-out schwa indicates more surprise than intensity; a curt, clipped schwa demands an immediate justification from the person the schwa is directed to. The word itself sounds foreign, perhaps German, and bears no relation whatsoever to the phonetic symbol spelt identically.
 
Schwa?!
Etymology : Contraction of “Shit, what?!” Shit, from Old English scitan, from Proto-Germanic *skit-, from PIE *skheid- ‘split, divide, separate.’ What, from Old English hwæt, from Proto-Germanic *khwat, from PIE *qwod (the neutral singular of *qwos ‘who’)
Source : Roque Sanchez
Last modified: 10 June 2008


Navigation

# $ & ( + - 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 @
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z [ a ab c e f g u v




Options