Wednesday, March 11, 2020

relatively new expressions that vaguely annoy me

Every now and then, new expressions that rub me the wrong way will pop up in English. They're not vile or execrable, per se, but they do annoy me at least a little bit, and I often end up wishing they'd go away. Here are two relatively new ones:

1. "it's [still] early days"

It's not a horrible expression, but it seems to have caught on over the past year or so, and its very trendiness is what's annoying me, I think. I've even been guilty of using the expression myself once or twice, and I end up glaring at myself in the mirror when that happens.

2. "weak sauce"

Some dumb motherfucker is obsessed with "sauce"-related expressions. As if the horrid "Awesomesauce!" weren't enough, now we've got "weak sauce," which is a derogatory way of referring to something that lacks oomph, conviction, importance, effectiveness, or substance. What the hell was wrong with just "weak"?

Allez-vous-en, expressions agaçantes!


John Mac said...

It's early days, I'm sure weak sauce expressions like these will be soon replaced with other, equally irritating, trendy phrases.

Sorry, I couldn't resist!

Charles said...

"Weak sauce" has been around for quite some time, though, hasn't it?

So, I decided to look into this myself, and boy did I stumble on a rabbit hole. The term appears in online dictionaries, although there is some discrepancy over when it originated. says 2005-2010, while Merriam Webster says 1992(!). The OED, which tends to be a good source for historical usage, has a recorded example going all the way back to 1989(!!)--and it quotes a local newspaper, so you know it was in circulation well before that.

A Quora user attempts to trace it to 4chan, where it was apparently common for people to change "source" to "sauce." So when someone said something that did not have a believable source, it was said to be "weak sauce." This sounds logical, but the problem is that only traces this use of "sauce" back to 2004, 15 years after the first recorded usage of "weak sauce" (and 4chan only dates back to 2003).

"Awesomesauce" is apparently a much, much later addition to the linguistic stable.

Kevin Kim said...

I was going by my own experience of these expressions. I don't recall ever hearing "weak sauce" when I was in college (1987-91), nor through the early Aughts. Maybe it's been lurking, virus-like, in the cultural background all this time.