4

What would be an appropriate interjection to express little bit of disdain, like

  • I made it in 30 minutes.
  • Aaah, that's nothing, my friend did it in 15.

Is there something more fitting than "aaah"?

16
  • 1
    Well, there's always "whoopie shit".
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 5, 2020 at 13:18
  • In the meantime, I found also Bah!, possible? And is Pche! possible in English?
    – Tomas
    Nov 5, 2020 at 13:49
  • 1
    No, you don't say "bah" out of admiration. I have never heard of "pche". Is that a variant of "pshaw" or "pfft"? Nov 5, 2020 at 17:12
  • 2
    @Cascabel I agree that it did become rather messy. Nov 5, 2020 at 21:05
  • 1
    @WeatherVane I think "pche" might be a variant spelling of "pssh"
    – nick012000
    Nov 6, 2020 at 3:12

8 Answers 8

17

I offer (see Lexico)

pfft
EXCLAMATION

1.2 Used to express a contemptuous or dismissive attitude.

So you could remark

Pfft, that's nothing, my friend did it in 15.

11

"So what?" can be used to express how underwhelmed you are by a particular statement.

"Big deal" can be said sarcastically to indicate that the statement is not, in fact, a big deal at all.

7

Sounds like a perfect situation for "meh". I've seen it mainly used as an interjection:

used to express indifference or mild disappointment

(Merriam-Webster).

I would say that it expresses "dismisiveness".

Note that you can also use it adjectively:

not impressive : so-so

(Same Merriam-Webster entry).

In my experience I see "meh" used more on the internet that in face-to-face conversation. On some internet social spaces "meh" seemed to get really popular in the 2010s, and it was common to see a response to a comment that looked like

Meh. The games for the PS4 are mostly knock-offs, and I .....

Be warned that the person going around saying "meh" to other people's remarks is going to sound like a bit of a jerk, but that seems to fit with the example conversation you've given.

(Personally, I've a adopted a policy of skipping any remarks that are prefaced with "meh", as I've found it too be a pretty reliable indicator of someone who doesn't show much respect for others. I'll be curious to see what other's attitudes towards "meh" are.)

2
  • looks at t-shirt I'm wearing that says only "meh" Sometimes it's just a mood.
    – Miral
    Nov 6, 2020 at 3:31
  • My good friend gave me a travel mug marked with simply: "Meh." I think it's because I don't tend to get worked up about things that other people get emotional about (and perhaps because it's close in spelling to my online handle). I don't consider myself disrespectful.
    – Meg
    Nov 6, 2020 at 19:40
5

The expressive interjection 'pah' goes to the heart of "disdain":

A. int.
 Expressing disgust or disdain.

OED, pah, int. and adj.

OED puts 'pah' in "Frequency Band 3", which they describe as containing

words which occur between 0.01 and 0.1 times per million words in typical modern English usage. These words are not commonly found in general text types like novels and newspapers, but at the same [time] they are not overly opaque or obscure.

4

p'shaw

used to express irritation, disapproval, contempt, or disbelief

-MW

If you like older expressions.

As in...

I made it in 30 minutes.

P'shaw, that's nothing, my friend did it in 15.

Otherwise:

henh?..

a fake laugh, usually used when someone says something obvious and stupid or not funny, or when someone says something over and over again to the point where it becomes stupid...

if you accept UD

As in:

I made it in 30 minutes.

Henh, that's nothing, my friend did it in 15.

1
  • 3
    I have never seen either of these. I have probably heard "henh", but never imagined it to be written like that, and reading it when it's written like that doesn't translate back to the same nasal syllable I think it's meant to represent. Cool (archaic?) words. Nov 6, 2020 at 15:09
3

Apart from the old-fashioned and upper-class register, tush fits:

tush [interjection]

... used as an exclamation of impatience, disdain, contempt, etc.

[Dictionary.com]

  • Tush, that's nothing, my friend did it in 15.

As these are at least really slang usages, another candidate is hmmpf / hmmf / ... (Wiktionary has the hmmpf variant):

Hmph (also hrmph or humph) indicates displeasure or indignation [including {depending on tone} a dismissive, scornful, perhaps even sneering riposte].

[DailyWritingTips]

  • Hmmpf, that's nothing: my friend did it in 15.
10
  • The SOED (1993) says "archaic".
    – LPH
    Nov 5, 2020 at 13:51
  • As does Collins for 'UK' but not 'US' usage. Nov 5, 2020 at 14:51
  • 1
    I suppose Collins ain't been in the US for some time now. The only usage I've ever heard for tush here is to refer to someone's derriere.
    – Robusto
    Nov 6, 2020 at 15:46
  • I suppose we just travel in different circles. But in my many decades of life here, I've never heard it used that way. The fact that is listed by AHD first is inconsequential if the usage is 1) archaic or 2) minuscule.
    – Robusto
    Nov 6, 2020 at 22:01
  • Well, then they failed either in their research or their presentation of it. I hope you will credit me with having a careful ear and a comprehensive mastery of my own language (including various dialects and multiple registers of it), and will believe me when I tell you I've never heard tush used that way in speech, writing, or film.
    – Robusto
    Nov 7, 2020 at 20:02
3

eh

is an expression I've read a number of times in books.

In person it would frequently be accompanied by a shoulder shrug and possible a one eyebrow raise.

-1
  1. You can almost always interject an obscenity of the sexual or scatological kind, but since that's a given it's almost redundant to mention here.

  2. You can simply say "but" to indicate that you are contradicting the claim of extrordinarity: "But that's nothing!" Of course that may not strictly count as an interjection.

  3. You can say "why", which, as Merriam-Webster notes under 4., is "used to express mild surprise, hesitation, approval, disapproval, or impatience", at least one of which should fit here: "Why, that's nothing, one of these newfangled auto-mobiles can make it easily in 10!" (Somehow I see the speaker in the England of the early 20th century...)

1
  • I'm always glad if anybody reads what I write, but I'm usually baffled when they don't agree ;-). What strikes you as wrong or inappropriate? Nov 7, 2020 at 21:37

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