Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Silverobama, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Silverobama

    Silverobama Senior Member

    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Hello everyone, I got a sentence from a Chinese dictionary:

    They’ve been spending a lot of time together, nudge nudge, wink wink.

    I wonder if the two verbs can work together in one sentence? Like the given example, or maybe it is a poetic writing style?

  2. b1947420 Senior Member

    This is quite acceptable and implies that there is some "liaison", perhaps sexual, between the two parties. :)
  3. mapache-pcp Member

    S Florida
    I'm sorry I don't understand what you are asking. Can you rephrase the question?
  4. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    "Nudge nudge, wink wink" is a set phrase that means "I'm giving you a hint that I've just said something that seems innocent but I actually mean it in a bad way". In your instance, the speaker is implyng "they" are having sex.
    You might try searching for a video of Monty Python's Nudge Nudge comedy sketch.
  5. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    This phrase is not ordinary English grammar, and you can not just double words this way. It comes from the Monty Python television sketch. One man was saying suggestive things to the other, and emphasizing them by actually saying the words 'nudge' and 'wink' at the same time as he nudged him and winked at him. You only ever do this as a joke. But the comedy sketch is very famous, and 'nudge nudge' and other phrases from it have passed into common use.
  6. MilkyBarKid Senior Member

    British English
    entangledbank - how old are you? You seem to date this phrase as if originating with Monty Python; whereas my parents, born in the Roaring Twenties, often used this expression - as common as 'funny ha ha?, or funny peculiar?'
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I am 163 years old, and "Nudge nudge wink wink" is redolent of Monty Python to me.
  8. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)

    Well, thaht's nuthin' lady, I'm 683 years young so I 'ad to travel forwards in time t' see as

    Monty Python popularized the whole phrase, even if they didn't actually originate it, so for an enormous number of people they "did" originate it :D
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  9. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    Well o' course I 'ad it tough. Me and Loob's great-great-grandfather and Methuselah used to play poker on the Ark (wi' dirty cards) and we swapped suggestive stories, but I don't think we actually used this expression. My parents were also born in the Roaring Twenties, and the Nudge Nudge sketch was first broadcast on 19 October 1969, and I'd want to see some documentary evidence from Google Books perhaps to believe it was in common music hall currency before that. I don't think the Pythons just rehashed old music hall.
  10. Silverobama

    Silverobama Senior Member

    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect

    My pleasure, sorry for the trouble that I made.

    Broadly speaking, it is wrong if we use two verbs in a sentence, we won't say "we are go to school", "Be" and "go" are two verbs.

    But get back to the question, "nudge nudge, wink wink" are two verbs, I don't know whether this kind of juxtaposition is grammatically correct?
  11. Cameljockey Senior Member

    British English
    They are not being used as verbs but verbal representations of the action itself (the nudge, the wink) and so are, if anything, nouns.

    "Nudge nudge, wink wink' should if possible be accompanied simultaneously by the physical actions themselves (towards a person close to you), as it's a humourous construct, meant to be used only verbally, and is not grammatically correct, whether noun or verb.

    I never in my life thought that I would be deconstructing the nudge nudge sketch in a language forum....
  12. mplsray Senior Member

    The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English: J-Z, by Eric Partridge, Tom Dalzell, and Terry Victor attributes it to the Monty Python sketch, saying that it was originally "nudge nudge - wink wink - say no more!"

    If anyone could have found an earlier use, they would be the likely ones to do so.
  13. Cameljockey Senior Member

    British English
    One thing is certain. It's definitely, firmly in the tradition of musichall. Eric Idle's character in the sketch is dressed and made up like an old-style music hall comedian, the oiled hair, pencil moustache, blazer; and the musichall acts that I have seen clips of certainly were in the suggestive vein, having a lot of jokes with double meanings, and much suggestive winking at the audience being involved.

    Whether or not the phrase itself was a catchphrase of an old musichall act I have no idea, but Monty Python are as entitled as anyone to use references in their comedy, and the way they used it was totally fresh. ;)

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