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We Approve, We Guess: The Facebook “Meh” Button


As much as we might yearn for it in our schadenfreude-riddled hearts, the Facebook “dislike” button just isn’t going to happen: It would subject unprepared pockets of the Internet to trolling more inspired than they can imagine. But the current order of things doesn’t work for us either: Right now, your only options are to “Like” something or forever hold your peace. What to do?

Ken Murphy has one solution in mind for saying, “I tepidly accept this thing that you are writing about or showing me on Facebook”: a “meh” button.

Quick refresher course on the meaning and Simpsons-powered popularization of “meh,” via Wikipedia:

The word gained popularity as a result of its use on The Simpsons. It was used in a 1994 episode, “Sideshow Bob Roberts,” when a librarian reacts to Lisa’s surprise that voting records are not classified, and also in “Lisa’s Wedding” after Marge weaves “Hi Bart” on a loom to try to pique his interest in weaving to which he responds “meh.” In the 2001 episode “Hungry, Hungry Homer”, Lisa spells out the word for emphasis, after Homer tries to interest her and Bart into going to a theme park. As early as 1992, however, the word appeared on a fan discussion board about the TV series Melrose Place. The word’s first mainstream print usage occurred in Canadian newspaper the Edmonton Sun in 2003: “Ryan Opray got voted off Survivor. Meh.”

There has been speculation that its origin is Yiddish because of its similarity to the interjection “feh”. American lexicographer Benjamin Zimmer expressed some skepticism about this idea, and wrote in 2006, “Whatever Yiddish origins the interjection might have had, they have been lost in post-Simpsons usage.” Lexicographer Grant Barrett wrote about “meh” and “D’oh”, “I suspect they’re both just transcribed versions of oral speech, which has any number of single-syllable sounds that mean a variety of things.”

Choice B: Just ignore it and move on.

(Ken Murphy via Boing Boing via TDW)

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