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In (American?) English-language comedy - people often respond to a comment or situation by yelling the colloquial phrase "Oh, no you di'int!" (contraction for "Oh, no you did not!").

To exactly what type of comment or situation is this response applicable, and what exactly is it indented to convey?

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    "Di'int" is simply a different flavor of the contraction "didn't". I've heard it, but mainly from small children and pubescent girls.
    – Hot Licks
    May 18, 2016 at 17:07
  • Oh no you didn't is used in many varieties of English.
    – Lambie
    May 18, 2016 at 19:15

4 Answers 4

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The phrase "oh no you di'in't" is frequently used in response to an action that is contrary to the commonly accepted custom or etiquette, but of which the speaker nonetheless approves, either because the situation has been made humorous by the unexpectedness and incongruity of the action, or because the action is seen as serving some greater good despite its perceived impropriety.

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    Good answer. You hedged yourself by saying that it is frequently used in the way you mention. But it is also used as a genuine expression of shock, as when, for example, it is uttered by a person who was cut in line. In such a case, the speaker does not nonetheless approve the action.
    – DyingIsFun
    May 19, 2016 at 23:09
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Oh no [he/she/you/etc.] didn't! is a clichéd phrase for expressing disapproval or incredulity at some event or utterance, though the degree of either is variable. Dpending on the delivery and context, it might indicate anything from a mildly humorous observation to genuinely shocked outrage. The corresponding return is Oh yes she did!, also to be delivered theatrically, perhaps with a finger wag, head bob, finger snap (0:22), or other gestures that have been associated with, to use TVTropes' name, the “Sassy Black Woman” character.

It probably cannot be traced to a single point of origin. Surely schoolchildren have debated the question of whether something was or was not done by someone employing this phrasing for some decades. The phenomenon of its affected pronunciation was discussed on LinguistList as far back as November 2004 in the thread "di?nt" (with glottal stop), where it is observed in Northeastern (US) and in African-American Vernacular English, but is not limited to either. Note also that the question of whether di'nt reflects a glottal stop (as in some British accents) or deletion is brought up but not resolved.

As Ben Zimmer writes:

In recent years the exaggeratedly glottalized "Oh no you/he/she di[?]n't" (as a response of outrage, or mock outrage) has become a hackneyed catchphrase. My sense is that the expression had its origin in hiphop and then started turning up on those "trash TV" shows in the late '90s (with appropriate hand gestures and head-bobbing). From there it became a source of mockery for white Americans, as in this bit from Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" (April 2002):

http://snltranscripts.jt.org/01/01pupdate.phtml

Tina Fey: (nods head) Bill Clinton - Bill Clinton revealed in Newsweek that he is getting a new chocolate lab to replace his dog, Buddy. Bill says, with Hillary away in D.C., he just needs another bitch in the house.

Jimmy Fallon: Oh, snap! Oh, yes, you did!

Tina Fey: (gets up from her chair and starts flapping arms) Oh, no! Oh, no, you didn't! Oh, snap! OKAYYYYY! [etc.]

He finds examples from Usenet dating back to the mid-1990s, for instance

Date: 1994/04/20
Message-ID: <94110.191901SCW112 at psuvm.psu.edu>
Newsgroup: alt.rap

In article <1994Apr20.214045.27522 at random.ccs.northeastern.edu>, nickman at ccs.neu.edu (Jeff Nicolai) says:

- Chuck D. from Public Enemy is from a middle class family in Long Island. As an 'oppressed' rapper from the ghetto........ he ain't Shit!!!!

oh no you didn't...

and

Date: 1995/08/03 Message-ID: <030895.10035334596.n at frontier.canrem.com> Newsgroup: rec.music.hip-hop

Da Brat and Latifah are lesbians. Please don't deny it...

UH, oh no you DIDN'T! Latifah I ain't care aboutm but, but tha Brat? That's cold man, that's cold.

If its wider acceptance in the culture also stems from that period, it may be attributable to the popularity of television shows like Martin or In Living Color, where some characters used exaggerated inner-city speech.

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  • I'd dispute that origin story. The "dint" pronunciation was perfectly common growing up in Wisconsin in the 60s and 70s, without a hint of urban or black involvement. I remember it getting on one older English teacher's nerves but I never could tell what the big deal was. I'm pretty sure it's still common enough. "I dint say that" sounds quite normal to me; just a tad casual maybe.
    – tchrist
    May 19, 2016 at 3:51
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    @tchrist -This thread refers to a two-syllable, enunciated "di'int" - not a slurred "dint".
    – Oldbag
    May 19, 2016 at 6:42
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It means - Oh no ! You didn't say THAT ! How awful !

In response to something awful said to you, like an insult, or just

something completely outrageous, like "I swore at the boss !"

From Urban Dictionary:

oh no you di'int A response to a bold statement, accusation, or action; slang for "you're going to wish you hadn't said/done that," or "bitch you'll pay for that." "Yo momma's so fat, I poked her in the belly and gravy came out."

"Oh no you DI'INT!"

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=oh+no+you+di%27int

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  • I disagree. In my experience, the exact form under consideration (with the middle /d/ of didn't replaced by a "minimized glottal stop + minimized schwa") is almost exclusively reserved for refutation, not incredulity (i.e. - Oh, no you di'int! invariably implies I know you did not do that rather than I am shocked that you did do it). May 18, 2016 at 17:42
  • @FumbleFingers Urban Dictionary disagrees with you. May 18, 2016 at 17:48
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    @FumbleFingers Current slang is found in UD, not Shakespeare, so UD, in this case, is an appropriate source. You've misunderstood the example. The point is "How dare you insult my mother ?!" May 18, 2016 at 17:56
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    @FumbleFingers To clarify: No one believes gravy came out of your momma's belly. The point is that she's fat. That's an insult. The response means How Dare You Insult My Mother Like That. You hear the expression in comedies. Check out Key & Peele on YouTube. You're missing the point completely. May 18, 2016 at 18:27
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    I agree with @Cathy Gartaganis that the phrase is sometimes used to express incredulity/astonishment/shock. That it is not always used as refutation or denial of truth is illustrated by the following: it is often used expressively after perceived insult, as when a woman is cut in line and utters "Oh no you di'int". This is (to me) a canonical use of the expression and is primarily an expression of shock and confrontation rather than refutation. The speaker is not denying the proposition that the person cut her. Rather, she is expressing her shock and anger that the person cut her.
    – DyingIsFun
    May 18, 2016 at 18:39
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'oh no you didn't!' is also used in a sarcastic way to convey the noticed irony when we are mocking or taunting someone. This usage is very often seen in comedies.

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