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I have heard somebody saying aw, shucks.

  • What does that mean?
  • In which other cases is the word used?
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1  
Always keep in mind that some awe is awesome, but anything full of awe is awful. (^_^) –  RegDwigнt Aug 19 '10 at 15:34
    
or spelled 'awwww...'; also not to be confused with 'ahhh...' –  mfg Aug 19 '10 at 15:49
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Right, if someone shows you their baby and you say "awwww...", you are saying the baby is cute; if you say "ahhh...", you are being evasive :) –  Kosmonaut Aug 19 '10 at 15:57
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Reminds me of a scene in George of the Jungle: imdb.com/title/tt0119190/quotes?qt0452429 –  user730 Aug 21 '10 at 3:45
    
@Kosmonaut this distinction has always been confusing to those of us with the cot-caught merger. –  nohat Sep 7 '10 at 17:14

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The word "aw" in this case is an interjection with the following definition (from Merriam-Webster):

used to express mild disappointment, gentle entreaty, or real or mock sympathy or sentiment

If something mildly bad (but not too bad) happens to someone else, you can say "aw". (If it is something really bad, then it sounds rude to say "aw".)

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It that case awe means nothing. It is a particle. Kinda like the oh in Oh... that's bad.

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5  
And it's generally spelled "aw". And in that phrase, it's probably "aw, shucks". –  mmyers Aug 19 '10 at 14:54
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I am reluctant to say that interjections mean nothing. –  Kosmonaut Aug 19 '10 at 15:03
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@Kosmonaut: What?! Ah gosh... wow.. –  Claudiu Oct 13 '10 at 14:12
    
@Kosmonaut Interjections sometimes mean much more than "real" words, as does nonverbal communication. –  Ilya Kogan Mar 4 '11 at 20:38

"Aw, shucks" together form an extremely mild expletive to express disappointment or frustration. Think "Oh, damn" for kindergartners. It's also used to indicate false modesty, something a cartoon character says while blushing after being complimented. It carries a little bit of a rustic, unsophisticated flavor. I've seen it applied to politicians affecting a humble demeanor.

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