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Wouldn't ya know it!

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (1 of 14), Read 178 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Wednesday, February 03, 1999 02:39 PM

Pat Madden, of Provo, Utah, writes: "I speak Spanish fluently and am often frustrated when English has no adequate word for a Spanish concept. I'm sure this happens with other languages as well. The most difficult, oft-recurring Spanish word I want to say in English, is 'justamente,' which means something like 'Wouldn't ya know it!' or 'of course.' A literal translation would be 'justly,' but with English's connotation of 'just' (as in 'right' or 'good'), 'justamente' is often more unjust than just. It's a natural counterpart to Murphy's Law.

"A typical situation in which you'd want to say 'justamente' could go like this:

"You've been having a bad day. Your alarm clock didn't go off, you missed an important meeting at work, your child is sick, you forgot your lunch, on the way home the car breaks down, and when you finally get home, you flick on the light and the bulb burns out. 'Justamente!' you say, and maybe you laugh. The key is 'I can't believe this happened to me right now, in this very moment, when everything else has gone wrong.'

"'Justamente' is broader than that, of course, but that's a good example. "

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (2 of 14), Read 154 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Sharon Owens (sharsung@aol.com)
Date: Thursday, February 04, 1999 01:56 PM

I am assuming you are not interested in simply saying: "aw shit" or "aw fuck", which is what many do under similar circumstances.

Since America itself is a melting pot, and the English language is comprised of so many words, phrases and expressions from other countries and cultures, why not simply use THE perfect word to describe the "justamente" experience: justamente itself! Hell, next time I have a day like you described, I think I'll use it!

sharon

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (3 of 14), Read 143 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Thursday, February 04, 1999 06:01 PM

I agree with Sharon for the most part; let's just adopt justamente. I've heard folks say: "Well that's just perfect.", or simply: "Perfect!" out of total exasperation. And for those who speak Yiddish, do the phrases "Oi, Vai" or "Oi, gevald" carry this connotation?

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (4 of 14), Read 143 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Thursday, February 04, 1999 09:40 PM

I take it "Yikes!" is too square?

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (5 of 14), Read 133 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Tracy Durden (tdandaa@yahoo.com)
Date: Saturday, February 06, 1999 01:32 AM

How about "Figures!" or "It figures!"?
;-)
Tracy Durden

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (6 of 14), Read 118 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Patrick Madden (pcm2@email.byu.edu)
Date: Monday, February 08, 1999 11:49 PM

So far, there are a lot of words that fit for some aspect of "justamente" like "oy vey" and "it figures" and the sarcastic "perfect." I agree with using "justamente" itself, and I try to teach it to people. It's slow going though. Also, the direct translation of "justly" as in "right now" works sometimes too. Thanks for the ideas so far.
- Pat

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (7 of 14), Read 71 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Paul Hubbard (paulh@wolfenet.com)
Date: Thursday, February 18, 1999 08:53 AM

I find myself saying 'go figure' way too often.

d'ya ever have one of those days? I'm having one of those lives...

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (8 of 14), Read 95 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Peter Sherwood (peet@needem.demon.co.uk)
Date: Friday, February 12, 1999 07:10 AM

I think that over here in England, we'd probably say 'Typical' or even 'Bloody Typical'. This seems to have the required meaning, as it implies a previous chain of similarly undesirable events have already occurred

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (9 of 14), Read 68 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Marty Smith (marty@moonrat.com)
Date: Wednesday, February 17, 1999 10:29 PM

Though the precise nuances of the term "justamente" are lost on me, I get the sensation that we're looking for a term that is broader and not always inherently sarcastic, as is "perfect." I nominate the time-honored "natch." Does it fit?

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (10 of 14), Read 50 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Jason Taniguchi (jasont@ccp.ca)
Date: Friday, February 19, 1999 05:26 PM

From the Prodigal Toronto Serial Diners Collective:

We have a variety of suggestions. As Vonnegut fans, we suggest the stately exclamation, "So it goes." A similar calmness would be attached to the phrase "Of course."

This next word is not so much what you would say in the annoying light-bulb-blows-out situation, but a description of such a culmination of a bad day: what you are experiencing is a "converfluke" (a convergence of flukes).

Other things that you might say instead of "justamente" are the remarkably near equivalent "waddupwiddat"; or the absolutely delightful phrase that means little but expresses much: "Drunken huskies!" It's got the right number of k's to express annoyance.

One Diner said that in the hypothetical light-bulb-blows-out scenario, they would exclaim not "justamente" but the equally elegant "Fuck this, I'm staying in a hotel." (Apologies, but someone used the word a few posts up anyway; the floodgates of rudeness have opened! Run for the --um -- freaking hills!)

But in fact, all the above is well and good, but most of us tend to just exclaim "D'ohhh!" Sure, we're Vonnegut fans, but The Simpsons is on every day.

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (11 of 14), Read 31 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Marv Kirk (marv_kirk_c74@post.harvard.edu)
Date: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 11:12 PM

"Drunken Huskies?" Perfect!

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (12 of 14), Read 15 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Patrick Madden (pcm2@email.byu.edu)
Date: Saturday, February 27, 1999 04:26 PM

More and more good suggestions. I think each one covers some aspect of Justamente, but, as Marty Smith figured, it can be more than the sarcastic version. Of course, I'm acting like there's some correct answer we're searching for here, and there's not (you're getting hotter, hotter, oh, no colder...). Thanks again.

Pat M.

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (13 of 14), Read 8 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Mark Terwilliger (markt@dnai.com)
Date: Tuesday, March 02, 1999 04:22 AM

I agree. "Naturally" shortened to "natch" is the time-honored US version. Would seem to have many similar overtones to justamente. "Perfect!" does have the advantage that you get to *pop* off at whatever it is that's bit you, but "naturally" has more of the recognition of 'higher forces' at work.

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Topic: 5) Wouldn't ya know it! (14 of 14), Read 8 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Felice Homann (fhomann@earthlink.net)
Date: Tuesday, March 02, 1999 08:27 AM

Felt the answer right away: "Figures!"
Second choice: "Exactly!"


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