Lo and behold

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Wishfull

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi.
I can't know the specific context, but when I hear spoken-English, people sometimes use the phrase. I think it must be an idiom.
My ear can't distinguish "r" or "l" sound.

It is something like;
looinbehoo
low in be hawl
raw in be hole

The mighty/junk Google couldn't tell me the correct spelling.

I'll be pleased if someone tells me the correct spelling, and if this is not against the rule.
Thank you.
 
  • Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Lo and behold.
    Hi.
    Thank you very much, vilem.
    I'll check it in the dictionary.

    Have a nice weekend.:)

    edit) I seached the meaning. And, lo and behold, I found the meaning which I had never imagined. ;)
     
    Last edited:

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you.
    Is there any comment on the idiom, for example BE/AE difference and old-fashioned/up-to-date difference, male-word/female-word, etc ?
     

    Fabio Flavio

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Hello friends,

    here am I again riding again on that English translation of a German book named "The Exile and Return of Writers from East-Central Europe" A Compendium, by John Neubauer and Borbála Zsuzsanna Törok (Eds).

    I stumbled into this construction on page 329:

    For, lo and behold, the country´s elite is kicked out over the border.

    How should I interpret this "lo and behold"? My first idea is that "lo and behold" is equivalent to the expression "alas" or something like "dammit". Or not?

    I antecipate my thanks for any help received.

    Kind regards to you all!

    Fabio
     

    boreen

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Hi! I don't know this book, but, in itself, "lo and behold" means that something is a surprise; maybe something that you wouldn't have expected. It doesn't really mean "alas" because that word is usually associated with regret or sadness and "lo and behold" can sometimes be positive - a pleasant surprise.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I would take it as "what a surprise!" It could either be sincere or sarcastic. Only the context would help to determine that.

    Speaking of which, we need context in order to answer a question properly. You are allowed to quote up to four lines of the original text here.
     

    LauraK

    Senior Member
    American English
    Agreed with boreen. In modern usage it often has an ironic touch, though in this case there's not enough context to tell. But the general sense is an unexpected outcome.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    It's an old-fashioned and literary way to express surprise or even fake surprise. Neither "alas", which expresses sadness, or "dammit", which expresses anger, are good synonyms. "Wow!" or "Just look at that!" or "Can you imagine?" would be closer.

    Lo and behold! Here comes my beloved sister! This is "fake surprise". I'm being sarcastic when I say it.

    For, lo and behold, the country's elite is kicked out over the border. This sounds pretty sarcastic, too.

    Generally, people aren't really expressing surprise or calling for people's attention when they use "lo and behold" in modern texts. Its meaning is nearly always ironic.
     

    Fabio Flavio

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Dear Friends,

    Thank you so much for your help! I guess "What a surprise! " or "Guess what?!" will perfectly do in this context!

    Thanks to you all!

    Fabio
     
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