What is the meaning of 'the so-what-ishness' in the following sentence? 'What makes it so irksome is the so-what-ishness of this rather brandnew restaurant.'


3 Answers 3


"So what?" is a response that (with the right intonation) conveys a sense of being unimpressed by, of not seeing anything special in what what just said or indicated.

So here, "so-what-ishness" might reasonably be replaced by "unimpressive nature".

I don't mind coinages - like "so-what-ishness" - but "rather brandnew" seemed a very odd coupling to me.

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    I think "so-what-ishness" describes the attitude of the restaurant. They do not care or are indifferent in their attitude. If someone says this is quite unconventional they will answer "So what?". Jan 23, 2015 at 9:14
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    It could also be about attitudes, but the suggested original article doesn't carry that impression.
    – Joffan
    Jan 23, 2015 at 14:19

"So-what-ishness" (though not an established word--hyphenated or not) means displaying an attitude of, "so what!" (notice this is not a question but a statement), and "so what" means: "I don't care!" This attitude conveys indifference, apathy, and a terminally hip posture.


1: the quality, state, or fact of being indifferent 2 a: archaic: lack of difference or distinction between two or more things b: absence of compulsion to or toward one thing or another


Synonyms apathy, casualness, complacence, disinterestedness, disregard, incuriosity, incuriousness, insouciance, nonchalance, torpor, unconcern

Merriam-Webster Dictionary online


1: lack of feeling or emotion: impassiveness 2: lack of interest or concern: indifference

Related to APATHY

Synonyms affectlessness, emotionlessness, impassiveness, impassivity, insensibility, numbness, phlegm

And, last but not least, some cultural slang

Terminally hip or Terminally cool: so incredibly laid back, disengaged, and lethargically uncaring and cool (usually in a contrived or studied way) that one is liable ultimately to die (literally expire) from lack of participation in one's own environment

“Dirk is terminally hip: just look at him lying on the floor with his eyes shut during the dance, while all those women are flirting with him.”

Urban Dictionary

Hip: Cooler than cool, the pinnacle of what is "it". Beyond all trends and conventional coolness. Not to be mistaken for "deck".

"Stay away from the tacky velvet-rope MTV frat-boy clubs on the beach. Check out this party downtown instead, it's gonna be hip."

Urban Dictionary

  • +1 I really enjoyed "Terminally hip". Haven't heard it yet! but you could maybe, for the sake of answering, describe that the question "so what" conveys indifference. Hence; So-what-ishness" describes an attitude of indifference or "terminal hipness". Jan 23, 2015 at 9:12
  • Thanks! @AverageGatsby - didn't I do that!?
    – user98990
    Jan 23, 2015 at 9:17
  • it might be seen as a logical conclusion that this is what you mean but I cannot even find the phrase "so what" in your answer. just a minor sentence prior to the deffinition of indifference maybe?^^ Jan 23, 2015 at 9:25
  • Oh! @AverageGatsby - I didn't think to include "so what" because it's embedded in "so-what-ishness". So I'm assuming (and you know what thy say about assumptions!) the OP will notice that. Where you from?
    – user98990
    Jan 23, 2015 at 9:32
  • well, in that case I can't find "so-what-ishness" in your answer ;). in the end I agree that it isn't necessary buut... Germany, currently living in Denmark. Jan 23, 2015 at 9:45

There is an expectation of others to be 'fault tolerant', when one says 'so what?'. It goes in the line of X: XYZ lost the match Y: So what?

There is also an air of 'downplaying' (not necessarily 'dismissive').

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