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  #1  
Old 03 December 2012, 08:59 PM
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Dog Where Did the Expression "Welp" Come From?

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/...ght_think.html
Quote:
The word, then, has a much longer history than people might realize. And it is used more widely than people might realize, too
I think the first time I saw it was on Usenet in the 90s. I've never come across anyone who uses it outside of the online world, however. Until I read this article I assumed it was just people who had misheard the word "well."

Brian
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  #2  
Old 03 December 2012, 09:02 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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I heard it used as a kid IRL.

Honestly, it never would have occurred to me to think it odd.
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  #3  
Old 03 December 2012, 09:03 PM
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I'm one of those who've said it (although not often) for years without realizing it. I've heard others say, it, too, as far back as I can remember.

ETA: I don't see it used in writing.
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  #4  
Old 03 December 2012, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryda Wong, EBfCo. View Post
Honestly, it never would have occurred to me to think it odd.
Several commentors on the Slate article have suggested it might be regional.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
ETA: I don't see it used in writing.
I've seen people here use it.
Brian
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  #5  
Old 03 December 2012, 09:15 PM
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I rarely see it used in writing.

It may be regional, although I grew up in Ohio and IIRC Ryda grew up in Florida.
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  #6  
Old 03 December 2012, 09:26 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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I found that, most often, people who used it were more of the rural type. It wasn't something city folk said.
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  #7  
Old 03 December 2012, 09:27 PM
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Rural people, or people who were trying to sound "folksy."
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  #8  
Old 03 December 2012, 09:35 PM
Ellestar Ellestar is offline
 
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I heard it a lot in Texas.

I think it just comes from people closing their mouths at the end of the word "well," then popping a little p as a result.
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  #9  
Old 03 December 2012, 09:39 PM
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Brad from Georgia Brad from Georgia is offline
 
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I say it every now and then. And I remember Groucho saying it:

Quote:
Groucho: I should thrash you, you whelp!

Enormous Guy: What'd you say?

Groucho: Welp, welp, welp....
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  #10  
Old 03 December 2012, 09:42 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
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A few observations:

Quote:
there’s even some consensus online that the term derives from a scene in the 1994 film Dumb and Dumber.
I don't think the writer knows what consensus is. That and the idea that the term was a neologism in 1994 astounds me.

I recall "welp" (spoken only) from as long as I can remember. We're not particularly rural, though maybe it was a bit of folksiness. It conveys a sense of accepted uncertainty, a lack of earnestness, a bit of skepticism. As the article explains, it is the pause between "well" and whatever comes next. You cock your head a bit at the end.

For Twitter and texting and other quick communications that people write as they might speak I can see it being useful as emotion and tone are difficult to convey in writing. I suspect it does or will get overused- suspect because I do not use those media.
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  #11  
Old 03 December 2012, 09:56 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Often heard it in Montreal in the 80's, always thought it was a combination of "Well" and "Yep".

OY
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  #12  
Old 03 December 2012, 10:08 PM
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My son used to say it when he was in his teens. I haven't a clue where he got it from. Then it morphed in welpers - "Welpers, gotta git goin'."
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  #13  
Old 03 December 2012, 10:15 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagurit View Post
Then it morphed in welpers - "Welpers, gotta git goin'."
My guess is in the same way "Yep" became "Yeppers." I have no idea how that is, I'm just guessing that it is the same phenomenon.
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  #14  
Old 03 December 2012, 10:20 PM
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I have never heard this before. I've just learned something new.
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  #15  
Old 03 December 2012, 10:22 PM
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I hear it as "wey-al-p." Except when SO says it, and then it sounds Scottish. "Whee-el-p."
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  #16  
Old 03 December 2012, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dave View Post
That and the idea that the term was a neologism in 1994 astounds me.
Not to me. As I said, my introduction to the term came in the 90s. So, I can see how people would think that. And, of course, several commentors on the OP article mentioned that they had never heard of the term prior to reading the article. So, while the article points out its origin isn't recent I'm not surprised by people thinking it is recent.
Quote:
Originally Posted by overyonder View Post
Often heard it in Montreal in the 80's, always thought it was a combination of "Well" and "Yep".
Thanks. I've been hoping that some non American snopesters would comment. I don't think I've seen a non American use it before. So, to the English-speaking snopesters outside of North America have you heard someone use the term where you live?

Brian
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  #17  
Old 03 December 2012, 10:46 PM
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It may indeed be regional. I don't think I've ever seen it written before this thread (though I've been resisting Twitter so far), except maybe by somebody trying to write dialect; but I've certainly heard it occasionally for years, though I have no idea when or where I first heard it, except that it was almost certainly in the rural northeast USA. I think as I've heard it, it's generally a transitional sort of noise, carrying a sense of changing topics or moving on to something else, as in "Welp, I guess we'd better stand up from lunch and get back to work" or "Welp, I don't think we're ever going to agree on that one."

ETA: I'm pretty sure I've heard it most commonly from older people -- and I'm 61.
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  #18  
Old 04 December 2012, 12:54 AM
Stephra Stephra is offline
 
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It's pretty common in my area - rural PA - and it used to be something that was only spoken, in recent years people have started using it on Facebook and stuff too. I always assumed it was leftover PA Dutch, sort of like the "t" that is often pronounced at the end of "once". I'm actually surprised to learn it's more widespread than that.
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  #19  
Old 04 December 2012, 02:33 AM
kismet kismet is offline
 
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I first heard welp used in the mid-70s by my grandfather who is from very rural Texas. He says it quite often, when transitioning from one activity to another. "Welp, I guess I'd better get up from here and go do X." I am certain he has said it since childhood, so from the 1920s. For that matter, his father also said it, and he was born in the 1890s.
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  #20  
Old 04 December 2012, 02:58 PM
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My father, who is a city-boy from Philadelphia says it all the time, and has said for as long as I can remember. I always thought he got it from the cowboy movies he loved as a child. Specifically from one of those character actors that plays the same basic role in every movie.

Jake
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