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Maybe I'm just slow on the uptake, but the expression "ya think" seems to have recently become nearly universal, at least as viewed from the US and the UK, where I encounter it all the time, spoken by all kinds of people.

What is the origin of this expression? Is it indeed recent?

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seems to have a Jewish flavor... maybe Seinfeld? –  BlueWhale Dec 6 '12 at 20:06
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@BlueWhale: Actually, that rings a bell. –  raxacoricofallapatorius Dec 6 '12 at 20:21

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It's a sarcastic response, a short and colloquial version of "Do you think?"

In its straightforward form, it's just a request for affirmation. And it's probably impossible to gauge when the ironical version crept in and took over. Nevertheless, an NGram search shows it beginning in the 1970s and taking off in the '90s, so my guess is that's when it gained wide acceptance as a recognized trope in the sense you mean.

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The 1970s sounds right. That's the place, I suspect, to look for the origin I'm seeking. –  raxacoricofallapatorius Nov 1 '13 at 16:41

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