Gosh, blimey

inib

Senior Member
British English
Hello everyone!
I'm looking for an English exclamation that denotes surprise, but I fear that the above-mentioned might sound very out-of-date or staid. Nevertheless, I am seeking an expression that is totally inoffensive and contains no swear words or dicey ones. What would "nicely-spoken" youngsters use nowadays?
 
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  • inib

    Senior Member
    British English
    In what sort of context, inib - can you give us a sentence?
    Gosh! It's much bigger than I expected.
    -"He lost 5 kilos in one month" - "Blimey, I wish I could do that"-
    These are the first silly examples I can think of. All I'm looking for is an interjection of surprise, but I think the younger generations might not use the ones I've suggested. I'm a bit out of touch with teenage English, I'm afraid.
    Thanks for answering so quickly.
     

    Billf

    Senior Member
    English UK
    My kids use "cool" quite a bit to denote anything from surprise to agreement...

    Using your example - "He lost 5 kilos in one month" - "That's cool, I wish I could do that"
    or admiring a new (say) laptop - "that's really cool, I could so do with one of those".

    You might find this website of some interest: http://www.popculturemadness.com/Trivia/Bits/Modern-Slang.html, it has numerous words that the youth of today apparently use - "Jinkies" is said to be an expression of surprise, and "sweet" is used to mean cool or awesome :)
     

    HalfEmptyHero

    Member
    American English
    People my age (I'm 20) usually use either "Holy Shit" or "Damn." Both of these are cuss words, although not as offensive as some of the other ones.
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    "Blimey, I wish I could do that"

    If your speaker is an American in his mid-twenties, I'd suggest dude.


    "Dude! I wish I could do that."

    In June, I was around a group of guys who talked like that. Everything was: dude! this and dude! that. :)

    Another suggestion:

    "Sweet! I wish I could do that."

    Interjections these days aren't like they used to be.
     

    inib

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks everyone. Good job I asked. I must sound prehistoric when I speak! I'm surprised to find that "Wow" is still "in". It was used in my days, as was "cool", but the latter only to express admiration, not surprise. I'm going to check out Billf's link now. I think it's going to be an eye-opener!
     
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    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Always best to check back in here as to whether we've actually HEARD any of these being used. Dude is creeping in around me in the UK but I wouldn't use it in your scanrio unless you're writing for Americans, but sweet has reached all of my neices and nephews in various parts of the UK!

    Funny how hard it was to think what they DO say, I guess I filter it out, in general!
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thanks everyone. Good job I asked. I must sound prehistoric when I speak! I'm surprisd to find that "Wow" is still "in". It was used in my days, as was "cool", but the latter only to express admiration, not surprise. I'm going to check out Billf's link now. I think it's going to be an eye-opener!
    Remember that people of different ages use slang in different ways. I've never yet said Dude! to indicate surprise, and I think my friends would be surprised if I started now. BE also has different expressions than AE for this kind of thing. Not many BE speakers say Holy Shit! much, though they often say things which are quite close, like Shit!
     

    inib

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks again to all those who have added info. Personally, I would feel more at home with a British expression, because I am British, and I usually teach my Spanish students what I know from experience. The problem here is that I have no experience in this ever-changing lingo. And Americans, please don't be offended, I'm not suggesting that one is more valid than the other.
     

    inib

    Senior Member
    British English
    Always best to check back in here as to whether we've actually HEARD any of these being used. Dude is creeping in around me in the UK but I wouldn't use it in your scanrio unless you're writing for Americans, but sweet has reached all of my neices and nephews in various parts of the UK!

    Funny how hard it was to think what they DO say, I guess I filter it out, in general!
    Thanks Suzi. English friends of mine also say that their kids are always using "sweet", and I've heard visiting youngsters use "cool" every other word. But I wonder if it's not always in a positive context? (Like you, I filtered a bit and didn't take too much notice). In my days, you could say "Gosh! What an awful thing to happen". Do "sweet" or "cool" really fit in here?
    I've just remembered another golden oldie:crickey!
    I don't want to force a subject that has already been answered amply, but if anyone would like to offer more examples of these words in context, I'd be grateful.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello Inib. I've been doing a sort of on-off study of this lately, having come to the conclusion a while back that no-one says Blimey! any more. How amazed was I to find that hordes of people still say it ... including me!:eek: Loads (rather than hordes) of people still say Gosh! too, which I'd mistakenly thought went out with the concepts of 'short trousers', 'free milk', etc.
    Mind you, I don't listen much to teenagers ~ I'm talking about folks in their 30s-40s and over.
    To my mind Wow! is the best and universalest interjection of surprise:) (It's even used in Welsh: Waw! they say, apparently.)
     

    inib

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hello Inib. I've been doing a sort of on-off study of this lately, having come to the conclusion a while back that no-one says Blimey! any more. How amazed was I to find that hordes of people still say it ... including me!:eek: Loads (rather than hordes) of people still say Gosh! too, which I'd mistakenly thought went out with the concepts of 'short trousers', 'free milk', etc.
    Mind you, I don't listen much to teenagers ~ I'm talking about folks in their 30s-40s and over.
    To my mind Wow! is the best and universalest interjection of surprise:) (It's even used in Welsh: Waw! they say, apparently.)
    Wow! Ewie, that's great news. Your mail suggests that if at my 48 years I returned home, my peers would still understand me. And the youngsters would just take me for what I am. I wasn't actually trying to modify my own vocab, but with teenage students, I felt I needed to teach them something more "with-it" - (which is probably not said anymore either)!
    "Cool" memories, those of the short trousers and free milk, especially as being a "young lady", I was never submitted to the short trousers. But we had our trials too!
    Thanks for your input.
    Regards, Inib.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I say "blimey" regularly, and "gosh" probably isn't a daily occurrence, but I'm sure I say it from time to time.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I love it!:D

    Are you a Scot or simply another member of the Wee Free Men fan club?
    Crivvens! is rather lovely. My dad (as English as they come except for the Canadian input) says Jings! which, for some mysterious reason, I can never quite bring myself to say:confused:
    I say Wow! about 32,100 times a day, being rather given to astonishment at all kinds of humdrum stuff.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Ewie didn't consult me as part of his field work, but if he had, he would have found another user of "Blimey!"

    I may use "Crikey!" from time to time, but I am trying to give it the push, as I realise that it sounds a bit Biggles/Jennings & Darbyshire/recent prime minister.

    I'm not altogether comfortable with using "Wow!" It may be widespread here but it still sounds AE to me.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I might say 'cool' or 'wow', but I often find myself saying 'dearie me!' Not the most with-it expression ...
     

    miss.meri91

    Senior Member
    English - South Africa
    I don't know if this turn of phrase is as popular in the UK as it is here, but a lot of youth have started using 'cheddars' to express surprise. Yes, I know this is a leap. It would work exactly the same as 'gosh' or 'blimey.' 'Cheddars' in this context means 'you lie!' It comes from the idea (and lud knows where this came from) of using 'cheddar' as a replacement for the noun 'lie.' As in, 'Stacey just told the biggest cheddar!'

    But, from what I've heard my British mates say, 'gosh' and 'wow' are pretty common exclamations that I don't think anyone would laugh at you for saying. :)
     

    TMR

    New Member
    Thai - Bangkok
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, it would sound very odd indeed, even if it seems to be used as much as in the 40's! It's very possible it is used rather differently than in the 40's. I use it myself from time to time in a semi- comical fashion.It wasn't used where I grew up because it is Cockney working class slang and also regarded as very vulgar, if not blasphemous. That's why me using it is rather comical.

    :)
    Hermione
     
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    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It depends on what you mean by "vulgar."
    vul•gar /ˈvʌlgɚ/USA pronunciation adj.
    1. characterized by or showing one's lack of refinement or good taste;
      crude;
      coarse.
    2. indecent;
      obscene;
      lewd:a vulgar gesture; vulgar language.
    3. spoken by, or being in the language spoken by, the people generally;
      vernacular.
    1) and 2) here are subjective, so I don't know if people in general feel that "blimey" is as described at 1) or 2). Personally, I don't feel that it is. 3) is not quite right because "blimey" began as London working class (Cockney) slang and has never been spoken by the people generally (although I think it has spread some way beyond its original base). I don't think that non-religious people will see it as blasphemous.

     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I don't think that non-religious people will see it as blasphemous.
    Not that non-religious people would see anything as blasphemous. :)

    I guess not many people are aware that blimey is short for Gorblimey, which is short for God blind me! (i.e. "May God strike me blind!").
    Begorra. If that isn't taking the Lord's name in vain, I'll eat my hat.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I can't imagine anyone considering it 'vulgar' ~ in any sense of that word
    Not in any sense of the word? Not even by some of its dictionary definitions?
    It's Cockney, and surely Cockney fits the definition of vulgar, especially to someone who were brung up proper. ;)
    Collins said:
    2. denoting a form of a language ... current among common people
    3. (archaic) of, relating to, or current among the great mass of common people, in contrast to the educated, cultured, or privileged; ordinary
     
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    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I am bemused both by it being considered vulgar, and by it being considered outdated. Ok, I'm certainly not a teenager but I use "blimey" as do people I interact with. I can't imagine it being vulgar.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Does anyone still use VULGAR to mean "of the common people"? I see half of the definition is already classed as archaic, but I think the rest has followed it into redundancy.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Well, vulgar does mean common, at least indirectly, because other terms featuring in the various definitions (unrefined, uncultured, crude, coarse, indecent, etc.) are characteristic of how the common people (plebs, hoi polloi) speak and act.
     
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