Submitted by dan2  •  June 27, 2010

Origin of insincere “oh wait”

I’ve noticed the phrase “oh wait” being used insincerely/sarcastically, to make a point. For example: “DOW 10,000!!!! Oh Wait, Make That 7,537.” What is the origin of this sort of usage of “oh wait”?

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There is nothing wrong with saying "oh wait". It is simply one of those words or phrases commonly used as an expression. In this case, it can be used to signal that you were too quick to make a judgement or statement, and therefore, made an error. Thus, by saying "oh wait", you are basically saying, "before you make a judgement or fully comprehend what I just said, let me correct myself." Alternatively, it can be used somewhat sarcastically (or not) to emphasise the absurdity of unnecessary details or accuracy - for example, "she claims I owe her five thousand dollars. Oh wait - four thousand nine hundred and sixty-three dollars."

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I agree, Giselle, especially in an absurd or even unexpected manner. As to the origin, I don't know if we'll ever answer that, but that type of clever redirection might be attributable to some old comedian, or simply a common device used by all, and often taken advantage of by many comedians. Something like: "After stepping down from office, George Bush commented that the US lacked strong Republican leadership...Oh wait, he was describing the last eight years he was in office."

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