Despite amateur psychologist-cum-sociologist babble on texting causing the imminent collapse of the Western world, communications and relationships prevail as people face-to-face daily. These engagements span the emotional spectrum of excitement, rapt attention, passive listening, general coolness, absolute boredom, joy, anger, etc., etc., etc. Some argue that smart phones have actually increased human connectedness. There is no doubt that language is changing more rapidly than ever, mostly due to radio, television and now, so many electronic gadgets that have resulted in new words being added to our lexicon. The effect is greater choices that propel this cultural evolution.
If you loathe the term “whatever” (frequently pronounced “wa-e-va”), there is a new pet peeve coming your way…MEH! Like whatever, meh is as much a word as it is an attitude, an expression of complete indifference, apathy, irrelevance, meaninglessness and inconsequence. The meh speaker is unresponsive, unconcerned and completely disinterested. Further, using the term meh simply saves precious time thus avoiding an explanation of their boredom in what’s being said.
Meh and dis are frequently paired. Dis, which is short for disrespected or disparaged, has emerged from its slang origins and been happily folded into standard language. It’s too bad but effective. Shortening words is mostly due to the texting and tweeting phenomena. “Before” becomes “B4” and “you are” is a quick “UR”. Of course as we write the obituary for the English language, we should remember stenography—shorthand. Human inventiveness was alive and well in ancient Greece, Rome and China where evidence of abbreviated writing techniques developed more than 2,500 years ago. Recording machines have taken up the slack and stenography has almost disappeared. Computer keyboards and printers have replaced typewriters except for some writers who for habit are holdouts.
Human disinterest is old but meh gets you there quicker.