Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The online Oxford Dictionary defines 'phew' as an expression of a strong reaction of relief. It has reported this example: "Phew, what a year!"

Could phew express lassitude as follows?

Phew! That was hard work.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

To quote a bigger list of emotions phew could be used for: (from Chambers)

An exclamation of relief, astonishment, petty vexation, unexpected difficulty, impatience, contempt, etc

Lassitude stands for lethargy or a lack of energy. Forget about the phew, I do not think any lethargic person would complete a lot of work and end up saying "That was hard work." Perhaps you mean he has a lot of toil ahead of him and he is overwhelmed by its magnitude. Then he is correct to say, "Phew! That is a lot of work."

Phew, that has been a lot of typing!

share|improve this answer
    
Yes, I mean when he is overwhelmed. You are right. –  Xavier Hernández Balcázar Apr 23 '12 at 13:25
    
I disagree. I don't think phew expresses lassitude. It's simply that it is often paired with phrases worthy of being "relieved." It doesn't necessarily imply you're fatigued. –  Neil Apr 23 '12 at 13:51
    
I never said that. I just said a lethargic person may use phew under the given circumstance. As you say, Phew does not express lassitude, to put in the words of the OP. –  Bravo Apr 23 '12 at 13:55
    
@Shyam you should stress the is to contrast from OP's was, which gives an entirely different meaning to the sentence. –  Kris Apr 23 '12 at 14:16
    
@Kris: Done!... –  Bravo Apr 23 '12 at 14:51

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.