Maybe I'm just slow on the uptake, but the expression "ya think" seems to have recently become nearly universal, at least as viewed from the US and the UK, where I encounter it all the time, spoken by all kinds of people.

What is the origin of this expression? Is it indeed recent?

  • 1
    seems to have a Jewish flavor... maybe Seinfeld?
    – BlueWhale
    Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 20:06
  • 1
    @BlueWhale: Actually, that rings a bell.
    – orome
    Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 20:21
  • It's probably been around since Moses, or at least Shakespeare. It's just that somehow it got some "play" on a TV show or whatever and a bunch of folks started aping it.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 0:01
  • I first heard it on NCIS. Something Gibbs says.
    – user193604
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 3:30

1 Answer 1


It's a sarcastic response, a short and colloquial version of "Do you think?"

In its straightforward form, it's just a request for affirmation. And it's probably impossible to gauge when the ironical version crept in and took over. Nevertheless, an NGram search shows it beginning in the 1970s and taking off in the '90s, so my guess is that's when it gained wide acceptance as a recognized trope in the sense you mean.

  • The 1970s sounds right. That's the place, I suspect, to look for the origin I'm seeking.
    – orome
    Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 16:41

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