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Q: What is the origin of 'blah' ? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: What is the origin of 'blah' ?
Category: Arts and Entertainment
Asked by: macaonghus-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 27 Feb 2004 02:16 PST
Expires: 28 Mar 2004 02:16 PST
Question ID: 311332
Where does the word blah, come from?
Subject: Re: What is the origin of 'blah' ?
Answered By: answerfinder-ga on 27 Feb 2004 03:13 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear macaonghus-ga,

The precise origin of the blah is not stated, but it appears to have
arisen at the beginning of the 20th century and probably originated as
an imitation of the sound of talking.

According to Encarta, the origin is "early 20th century. An imitation
of the sound of somebody talking vacuously." states that blah (n.) meaning "idle, meaningless talk,"
was first noted in 1918, and was "probably echoic".  It goes on to
state "the adj. meaning "bland, dull" is from 1919, perhaps infl. by
Fr. blasÚ "bored, indifferent." The blahs "depression" is first
attested 1969."

The Webster?s Dictionary of 1913, makes no mention of the word.
Therefore, this seems to support its early 20th century origin.

Interestingly, also provides information on some very
similar echoic words.

blather - 1524, Scottish, probably from a Scand. source, such as O.N.
bla­r "to chatter, babble," probably of imitative origin. Blatherskite
"talker of blatant nonsense" (1650) was popularized in U.S. during the
Revolution by the Scottish song "Maggie Lauder."

blab - 1535, from noun meaning "one who does not control his tongue"
(c.1374), probably echoic.

blabber (v.) - 1362, frequentative of blabben, of echoic origin.
Blabbermouth first recorded 1936.

I hope this answers your question. If it does not, or the answer is
unclear, then please ask for clarification of this research before
rating the answer. I shall respond to the clarification request as
soon as I receive it.
Thank you

Search strategy
Dictionary and Etymological web sites and the search term
blah dictionary origin
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