One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Expressing a strong reaction of relief, or of disgust at a smell.‘phew, what a year!’
- ‘Oh, phew… thought you girls might be from some gang or something.’
- ‘But it went well, phew, and it was great to see how much my presentation and Japanese has improved in 8 months.’
- ‘A couple of uninstalls and reinstalls fixed the problem - phew.’
- ‘No pins and needles, no numbness and full movement in all limbs - phew.’
- ‘The major decisions in life have already been taken - phew.’
Early 17th century: imitative of puffing.
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