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Used in representations or imitations of Japanese and (by misidentification) Chinese speech, especially to express affirmation, acknowledgement, understanding, or realization: ‘Ah!’; ‘So!’; ‘I see!’.
1920s; earliest use found in Everybody's Magazine. From Japanese ā sō, interjection signalling attention or understanding in conversation (also a sō, assō; shortening of ā sō desu ka?, lit. ‘ oh, is that so?’ from ā oh + sō so + desu, (polite form of da to be) + ka interrogative particle); the reception of the Japanese interjection in English has probably been influenced by association with ah and so [conjunction].
ah so/ɑː ˈsəʊ/
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From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, discover surprising and intriguing language facts from around the globe.
The definitions of ‘buddy’ and ‘bro’ in the OED have recently been revised. We explore their history and increase in popularity.