Get a load'a this!
September 27, 2017 3:38 PM   Subscribe

I was watching something recently where one cop said this to the other. I realized I don't think I've ever heard anyone say this in real life! "Take a look at this," "check this out," etc, sure, but "Get a load of this" seems like a stereotypical movie/TV phrase that's ascribed to working class folk or bad guys, especially in the early/mid-20th century. Is this actually something thats's used by real people, today? Are there other similar phrases that are supposed to be standard but aren't really used?

I haven't spent much time on the East Coast, so I apologize if this is common vernacular there!
posted by stillmoving to Society & Culture (36 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know how current it is as an expression, but I've used it and it wouldn't raise an eyebrow if I heard it from someone else. To me it has a connotation of disbelief, more than "take a look at this," like you're saying "here's something preposterous."
posted by Daily Alice at 3:43 PM on September 27 [11 favorites]


“Hey, check THIS out!” I’ve only heard it used in a fake “Noo Yawk” accent.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 3:46 PM on September 27


hahaha Good timing! Just a few minutes ago I texted my BFF a pic with "check this shit out!" Yeah, I use all of those expressions all the time. Only in my case, the word "this" is almost always followed by the word "shit" or "horseshit" or "happy horseshit". And sometimes it's an expression of disbelief, like Daily Alice noted, but sometimes it is literally, "look at this!" in an excited or happy way.

I also use the words "dig" and "shred the gnar" a lot too, though, so maybe I'm not a normal sampling of the population.
posted by barchan at 4:00 PM on September 27 [3 favorites]


For what it's worth, I would say, "get a load of this", but I commonly use old-timey expressions.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:05 PM on September 27 [5 favorites]


I have head "Get a load of this" and "Get a load of this __[unflattering noun]___" plenty of times growing up on the east coast. I'm sure I've said it, too.
posted by janell at 4:10 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Growing up in NY, I have never said "Getta load of this" but do employ "Getta loada this shit" and it's closely related companion "Wouldya get a load of this shit" (for those things you really can't believe) on a regular basis.

Also used, but with less frequency these days, is "Get a load of this guy".
posted by madajb at 4:22 PM on September 27 [12 favorites]


"Feast your eyes on THIS". Not really the same meaning as "get a load of", but while it's pretty common in advertising and click-baity stuff, you almost never hear an actual human say it.
posted by eeek at 4:27 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I'm a midwesterner and a boomer. I would totally say it. It doesn't sound odd to me at all.
posted by FencingGal at 4:48 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I'm sure I've said it. Not in a "look at this" context, but to introduce a somewhat preposterous anecdote. Like "Get a load of this: my boss asked me to come in early today, but he didn't show up until noon!"
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:55 PM on September 27


My Kansas relatives used it, esp. the older menfolks.
posted by fritillary at 5:08 PM on September 27


My 5 year old was showing off to her friend recently and yelled "Get a load of this!" - so it is used by Midwesterners/Notherners of all ages.
posted by littlewater at 5:16 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


Are there other similar phrases that are supposed to be standard but aren't really used?

People in movies or TV shows often say "wait up". I've never heard anyone say that in real life.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 5:17 PM on September 27


The phrase was the title of a British book written in the early 1940s, and Partridge cites a 1926 US recording with that title (most likely by Eddie Lang with Red Nichols.)
posted by Ideefixe at 5:19 PM on September 27


"Wait up!" was common in my Boston youth (1960s and 70s).
posted by carmicha at 5:22 PM on September 27 [5 favorites]


I've used it too (and "wait up" as well). It's a bad idea to generalize from one's own experience.
posted by languagehat at 5:27 PM on September 27 [13 favorites]


“Wait up” was common parlance in northern NJ/NY in the 1970s and 80s.

Two phrases that are supposedly common in NYC are “Fuggedaboutit!” and “Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom.” It’s possible they were common once, but I’ve never once heard anyone use either phrase in NYC, except ironically. And I’m a native Manhattanite.
posted by O Sock My Sock at 5:32 PM on September 27 [3 favorites]


I know I've said it, but I may have just gotten it from the Joker in the 1988 Batman movie. But that line is well-known enough that I think it's pretty familiar to most people.

I say "wait up" all the damn time.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:47 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I say "wait up." I've heard that my whole life.
posted by FencingGal at 5:59 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I've heard and said both "get a load of this" and "wait up" my entire life, too. It wouldn't even stand out to me to hear either.
posted by Miko at 6:12 PM on September 27 [7 favorites]


I've absolutely used it and heard it used in the Midwest. "Get a load of this guy" in specific is pretty common.
posted by brook horse at 6:22 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Grew up in the US Southeast & have always heard & used "get a load of this," I hear it at work fairly often too.
posted by pointystick at 6:25 PM on September 27


The Google Ngram Viewer is always good for checking your personal experience (which as languagehat notes is very fallible) with a phrase against a nice big data set:

Ngram comparison of the phrases "take a look at this", "check this out", "get a load of this", and "what the *** is this"

I used a wildcard for that last phrase, but I think it is both illuminating and fun.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 6:50 PM on September 27 [9 favorites]


That Ngram Viewer looks really interesting. Thanks.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 7:21 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Raised in Massachusetts. I say "wait up!" (also "hold up!") probably once a week or so. "Get a load of this!" more occasionally, but often enough that it feels like a natural thing to say.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:54 PM on September 27


"Get a load of this" is a verbal expression that was common in a certain eastern US city (okay, at least New York) for many years and I would definitely still use this. Usually accompanied by some movement of the muscles surrounding the eyes, maybe the mouth, maybe with a jerk of the thumb. Broad verbal equivalent to an eye roll.

I'm sure I used "wait up" this week, heading to the car with my spouse.
posted by Morrigan at 7:57 PM on September 27


I grew up in Baltimore in the 80s and definitely used/still use all of these phrases, including "get a loadda this" (with optional "shit" at the end).
posted by joan_holloway at 8:32 PM on September 27


I say "Get a load of this guy" a lot but not so much the general "Get a load of this." I say "wait up" a lot. I guess I'm slow. Spent most of my life in LA.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:34 PM on September 27


I say "wait up" and certainly "get a load of this" is something I heard growing up on the east coast in the 70s though I probably didn't say it myself.

For the part of the question -- Are there other similar phrases that are supposed to be standard but aren't really used? -- I've always been bemused by the ubiquitous depiction in movies and TV of the NYC cabbie calling women passengers "lady." As in "Hey lady, whaddya want?" I have never been called "lady" by a cabbie, nor have I ever had a cabbie wearing a cap, except for one Russian cabdriver who I think had seen it in the movies.
posted by flourpot at 8:57 PM on September 27


I've said "Get a load of this."

I have also gotten a load of things others have pointed out to me.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:27 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Thanks for all of the replies! This is funny, I've definitely heard "wait up" and "hold up" and used both as a kid, but not lately.

lefty lucky cat
, that Ngram is way cool, thanks. I'm surprised/not surprised that the phrases with expletives are so much less used.

Barchan, what is "shred the gnar"??
posted by stillmoving at 1:49 AM on September 28


I feel like this video kind of encapsulates the variable commonality of "get a load of _____". Like, we understand it, and it's a standard phrase, sort of, in the sense that it's set and fixed and we understand it, but at the same time if it were both standard and widely used, this video probably wouldn't have been made?
posted by automatic cabinet at 2:13 AM on September 28


Yarn is a database of movie and TV clips that is searchable by word or phrase. There are tons of results for "get a load of this." I noticed a lot of animated clips; here is Pam from Archer saying it.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:33 AM on September 28


> I feel like this video kind of encapsulates the variable commonality of "get a load of _____". Like, we understand it, and it's a standard phrase, sort of, in the sense that it's set and fixed and we understand it, but at the same time if it were both standard and widely used, this video probably wouldn't have been made?

I don't understand what you mean. To me the video just has a guy using two synonymous phrases while telling his kid to look at that dog. Also, there is no "we"; you're extending your own sense of English to the entire speech community. To those of us who use the phrase, it is perfectly good, normal English and doesn't need explaining.
posted by languagehat at 6:48 AM on September 28


Stillmoving, shred the gnar is a term in particular sports - skiing, snowboarding, surfing, skateboarding, and the like - which basically means doing something hard and crushing it, ripping it up, etc., but in a huge way and with some enthusiasm. So think of watching a totally sick move in something like one of Warren Miller's snow sports films. Example: Angel Collinson shredding the gnar skiing in Alaska. (Gnar comes from gnarly)

(I grew up in WY, now live in Colorado, where you hear a lot of sports talk, "So he dropped in and totally SLAYED it" etc. in the bar and coffee shop so I always use it ironically. Like a good hike. Or someone stepping around dog poop in a non-graceful way: "You totally shredded the gnar there, dude.")
posted by barchan at 8:01 AM on September 28


Sounds like something Glen Plake would say.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:32 AM on September 28


I grew up in New York State in the 80s/90s and people my mom's age and older said it all the time. I don't remember me and my friends saying it though, and I doubt millennials have brought it back, so it's probably dying out.
posted by katyggls at 9:44 AM on September 28


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