Sun 16 Jan, 2005 08:50 am
Does anyone know the origin of "p'shaw"? My grandmother used to use it occasionally to indicate mild exasperation.
The "P" is silent.
That i do not know,
But I do know that the P'shaw has worked itself into the -street slang- very well.
I don't ever recall either of my grandmothers using this term; however, I have read it in books and heard it on TV.
There is not a great deal information out there about its origin.
I thought it was just kind of like "hmph!" -- an expressive sound without being a word exactly.
I use it a lot but I guess I got it from books 'cause I say it with a "p".
I use it more specifically, to express not just exasperation but disagreement/ disbelief.
"If she drinks that much orange juice she'll turn orange."
Must be regionally silent, as the p was pronounced by the older ladies in the neighbourhood where I was born many decades ago.
edit - what the heck is born up?
Thanks for the link.
I feel pettily triumphant that "pshaw's" origins are obscure for everyone.
I have two pages of "pshaw!" uses here if you want to look up my usage. :-) Only thing is that I seem to use it when I'm annoyed -- those two pages show me at my grumpiest.
from colorbook's link
Pshaw, pronounced "p'shaw" or "puhshaw" or even "shaw", is an exclamation of impatience or disgust.
Puhshaw is the Ottawa Valley pronunciation. Fer sher, eh.
Thanks for the offer of two pages of pshaws, but I'd rather keep my illusions.
Puhshaw is Minnesota too, I think. (That's how I pronounce it, can't trace it anywhere in particular.)
true story, noddy. We had a friend, Al, who was ticked off at a lawyer who had sent him a bill. (the lawyer was his friend, too) My husband had a rubber stamp made up for him that said:
Pshit. He used that thing frequently.
Wish I had it now.
Anyway, here's what I found:
pshaw [ shaw, pshaw ]
expressing disbelief, impatience, or contempt: used to express disbelief, impatience, or contempt
[Late 17th century. An imitation of the sound made.]
imitation of a sound made... 'zactly. I think of it as a way of scoffing. (Scoff is the word, pshaw is the sound.)
Sort of a refined digestive explosion?
I think it's Chinese pidgin for "Not Likely". I don't know whether it's Cantonese or Chinese, but I've heard it translated thus in a number of Kung Fu movies (Notably: House of Flying Daggers; just after the flower-field fight); and its recorded use in the English language, in conjunction with the European "opening" of China, would make its evolution from Chinese to English a possibility.