"Say! Wassup!" - Please, can anybody explain to me what the word "say" means here? Is it literally "say" as an action or may it be a kind of "hey+say" in one word? Thanks in advance.

  • The way you have captured / written it down here, it's an interjection, a word of surprise and greeting. It's certainly possible to be used as a verb (imperative), but Tim that case it would be written Say "wassup!".
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 12:14
  • 1
    Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/84728/… - I think 'Say! Wassup!' is a shortened and modernised version of 'I say! Wassup!' Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 12:26
  • ODO gives the pragmatic marker: registering of surprise / attention grabbing usage << EXCLAMATION North American informal Used to express surprise or to draw attention to a remark or question. ‘say, did you notice any blood?’ >> Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 15:48

2 Answers 2


"Say!" is a greeting before "what is up". It is essentially expressing a request for the listener to speak to the speaker. It is used very informally in situations, for example, where the speaker just walked into a room and wants to greet someone. The entire phrase is essentially "talk to me.....what is going on?" in a friendly situation.


The usage of say here is to gain somebody's attention before speaking or asking a question. Here is what Wiktionary says

Adverb[edit] say (not comparable)

(colloquial) Used to gain one's attention before making an inquiry or suggestion

Say, what did you think about the movie?

For example; let us assume.

Pick a color you think they'd like, say, peach.

He was driving pretty fast, say, fifty miles per hour.

Synonyms[edit] (used to gain attention): hey

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