Blah

In English, "blah" is a word that is sometimes used as an expression for words or feelings where the specifics are not considered important to the speaker or writer for emotions. It is not often seen in formal writing, except when transcribing speech. It differs from a speech disfluency such as "um" or "er" in that "blah" is a word used deliberately to represent other words, rather than as an accidental or temporary interjection into speech. Blah is also used when the speaker cannot say what was intended."Blah" is also mimed behind people's backs to suggest that they talk too much or that they talk about useless topics for no reason. The word "Blah" can also be used in a mocking or sarcastic tone. "Blah" can also be used as a sign of impatience and arrogance towards another.

"Blah" is a token word with no meaning of its own, usually used to illustrate generic, boring speech. It may be used to fill in blank space, or to replace another word or phrase. It's for this last purpose that "blah" is sometimes assumed to mean something negative because it is used to replace a word that may be unpleasant, but "blah" itself is neutral. If spoken aloud the tone can usually be used to determine the speaker's intent.

"Blah" is also used within a compound noun, suggesting a psychological state or expressing an opinion; for example, February blahs describes a generally depressed condition during winter. It is also viewed as a word expressing indifference, or lack of a preference. It may also be used to imply that something is not impressive, or it is boring, bland, or without character.

Several alternatives or variants of the word can be observed today, such as bleh, blech, bla, meh or bah, although some differences may be perceived in certain contexts. Generally these variants would only be used in place of blah to show unimportance, disgust or disinterest. The word used is typically left to individual preference.

Etymology

As of 1913, Webster's Dictionary had not listed this word. It appeared roughly between 1915-1920, [ cite web|url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/blah |title=Blah |accessdate=2008-02-14 |date=2006 |work=Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) |publisher=Random House ] meaning "idle, meaningless talk." Its meaning soon was also likened to "bland" or "dull." In 1922 Collier's utilized the term "blah blah" to label a tedious length speech on a subject. [ cite journal|title=Words to the Wise|journal=Take Our Word For It|date=1999-03-29|first=|last=|coauthors=Melanie & Mike|volume=|issue=34|pages=|id= |url=http://www.takeourword.com/Issue034.html#Words%20to%20the%20Wise|format=|accessdate=2008-02-14 ] It was later used to reflect a depressive state in the late 1960s, first attested in 1969, and believed to have been influenced by the blues. "Blah" usually implies blank thoughts or expressions.

The word likely originated as an echoic, or onomatopoeia, representing a block of speech that is drawn out, boring or vacuous enough, so that all that is heard is the repetition, "blah, blah, blah".

Historically similar, echoic, and potentially influential words include:
*Blather - 1524, Scottish word, meaning "to chatter" or "babble"
*Blab - 1535, meaning "one who does not control his tongue" circa 1374
*Blabber - 1362, (of blabbermouth)

"Wine, Women, and War", a 1918 journal of Howard Vincent O'Brien (Jul 11, 1888 - Sep 30, 1947) covering World War I and published in 1926, is one of the first known publications to use the word.

The sociolect variety that has been emerging in Internet culture has further fueled the popularity and diversity of this word. As of September 15, 2008, a search in the Google search engine results in 36.8 million hits or 70.4 million on the Yahoo search engine .

Examples of use

Negative

*I feel blah. — adjective equivalent to "apathetic," related to the above mention of the February blahs
*Blah, blah, blah, blah… - to show irritation towards someone who speaks monotonously or on a tedious topic. Additionally, may be a placeholder for long, drawn-out or overused terms: 'Yours sincerely, blah blah blah...'
*Also, when I… blah… - to show that the speaker forgot what he/she was talking about
*Hmmmm… blah — to show feelings of indifference
*Sometimes people say "blah blah blah blah blah" to represent their monotonous attitude.
*This tastes so, I don't know, Blah? - to help describe a lack of any specific flavor, used mainly to indicate it's flavorless.
*Clean up your room take a shower do your homework blah blah blah. Saying blah blah blah after a long while of talking.

Other

*It is often used as generic placeholder text, as in "Blah blah goes here" or "blah.txt"
*"Blah, Blah, Blah…" is a song by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, featured in the 1931 movie "Delicious"
*"The Daily Blah" is a fictional newspaper featured in Archie comics.
*In cartoons, if someone is speaking while a character is thinking, the speech can be made into "blah" as a place holder. In an episode of Spongebob, this is used to exploit Patrick's stupidity because he says blah while talking to Gary while Spongebob is thinking. It turns out he was actually saying 'blah blah blah' the whole time.
*In the now-defunct Fox series "Greg The Bunny", the character Count Blah ended each sentence with "blah", a likely reference to a similar use by The Count of "Sesame Street."
*Some people use "blah" as a codeFact|date=April 2008, such as in morse code - "blah" being a dash, "blahblah" being a dot, and "blahblahblah" being a space.Blah is a commonly used word in the world of slang.
*" [http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/demented The Demented Cartoon Movie] " uses the word "blah" as making the characters' heads fall off.

ee also

*Metasyntactic variable
*The Yada Yada
*The Blah! Party, a political party in the UK.
*Logorrhoea
*Blah Blah Productions, a Rayleigh-based theatre school.

Notes


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • blah — ☆ blah [blä ] Slang n. [echoic] boring, predictable, or nonsensical talk or writing interj. used, usually repeated one or more times, to suggest such talk or writing, esp. when it continues for a long time [and the speaker went on, blah, blah,… …   English World dictionary

  • blah — /blah/, Slang. n. 1. nonsense; rubbish: What they say is blah. 2. the blahs, a feeling of physical uneasiness, general discomfort, or mild depression; malaise: After the long weekend many workers had the Monday morning blahs. adj. 3. insipid;… …   Universalium

  • blah — blah; ba·blah; …   English syllables

  • blah — (n.) idle, meaningless talk, 1918, probably echoic; the adjective meaning bland, dull is from 1919, perhaps influenced by Fr. blasé bored, indifferent. The blahs depression is attested by 1966 …   Etymology dictionary

  • blah — [adj] dull, lifeless banausic, bland, boring, dim, dreary, humdrum, monotone, monotonous, pedestrian, plodding, yawn producing*; concept 544 Ant. exciting, full of life, spirited …   New thesaurus

  • blah — 1. noun a) Nonsense; drivel; idle, meaningless talk. b) (in plural, the blahs) A general or ambiguous feeling of discomfort, dissatisfaction …   Wiktionary

  • Blah — Dieser Artikel oder Abschnitt ist nicht hinreichend mit Belegen (Literatur, Webseiten oder Einzelnachweisen) versehen. Die fraglichen Angaben werden daher möglicherweise demnächst gelöscht. Hilf Wikipedia, indem du die Angaben recherchierst und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • blah — blah1 S2 [bla:] n [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: From the sound of empty talk] 1.) blah, blah, blah spoken used when you do not need to complete what you are saying because it is boring or because the person you are talking to already knows it ▪ You… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • blah — blah1 [ bla ] noun uncount INFORMAL used instead of a word or thing on a list when it is not important to say exactly what that word or thing will be blah, blah, blah SPOKEN used for completing a sentence when you do not have to be definite or… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • blah — 1 noun (U) 1 blah, blah, blah spoken used when you do not need to complete what you are saying because it is boring or because the person you are talking to already knows it: The answer to question 3, which South American country has blah, blah,… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English


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