I was watching an episode of an anime. I came across a conversation which seemed to be confusing. The conversation was between two girls who were each other's competitors. Ursula and Dawn are the names of those two girls. Ursula and Dawn have taken part in a contest. Dawn wins the first round of that contest. After winning, she meets Ursula backstage and have a conversation.

The conversation was this-:

Ursula - My, My, what do you know? If it isn't sweet little Dawn.

Dawn - Ursula!

Ursula - I have the less than great pleasure of seeing your performance yesterday; as usual sheer dumb luck appears to have gotten you pass the first round. I hate to burst bubble but you are hardly capable of winning the final round. ----------------------------------------------------------------

The video link is here; the dialogue took place at 4:33 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_ruXTg9Jfw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I could not understand what Ursula meant by if it isn't sweet little Dawn. What did she mean to say? Is that an idiom?

  • Your question is a bit vague. Are you asking why Ursula said "If it isn't...", or is it the "sweet little" bit you're confused about? Or both? From the context you've provided, it sounds like Ursula was using "sweet little" as a mocking pejorative, perhaps implying that Dawn is weak or overly saccharine, which Ursula finds unpleasant. If it's the 'if it isn't...' part you're confused about, this is an idiomatic way of expressing surprise (or perhaps feigned surprise) at the presence of someone or something.
    – Herr Pink
    Jul 8, 2016 at 14:12
  • General Reference. oxforddictionaries if 6: Expressing surprise or regret: Example, well, if it isn’t Frank!. BTW, Vinnie, "Ursula" in your example is either carelessly, uneducated, or not a native speaker. Her text is riddled with errors and shortcomings. Jul 8, 2016 at 14:16
  • Ursula is a native speaker. That anime is made in the US. "If it isn't" is not matching with "sweet little", am I right? Jul 8, 2016 at 14:29
  • Is this an American anime? I don't watch anime but I do know a lot of it is subtitled or dubbed over in English. I ask this because "Ursula" seems to have a very strange dialogue (as in, it doesn't seem native). Possibly written/ translated by a non-native speaker?
    – R3D
    Jul 8, 2016 at 14:44
  • "Ursula" that was said by Dawn not as a word, she just called her name because she was talking to her friends and accidentally Ursula started insulting her from her behind; that's why she said "Ursula". Jul 8, 2016 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


This is an example of sarcasm. "Sweet" is a generally positive word and "little" can also have an affectionate meaning. In this context, Ursula is being sarcastic, so the phrase is intended to be insulting.

  • Okay, thank you but why did she use "if it isn't"? Does "if it isn't" have any affect on that sentence? Jul 8, 2016 at 14:42
  • It would sound odd to meet someone and say to her, "It is Dawn!" As a result, some people use the idiom "If it isn't Dawn!" as a friendly greeting. Jul 8, 2016 at 14:46
  • I think that "If it isn't ..." implies certainty. So "If it isn't Jack Smith!" might be used when someone who hasn't been seen for a while walks into a bar, and implies "If it isn't Jack Smith, I'll be really surprised!" [with the suggestion that the speaker momentarily failed to recognize Jack Smith] Jul 8, 2016 at 14:54
  • ... but I agree that the "sweet little" is being used sarcastically. Jul 8, 2016 at 14:55
  • Maybe I would have heard something wrong. I have got the link of the video, the dialogue was spoken at 4:33 youtube.com/… Jul 8, 2016 at 15:05

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