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“I’m just saying”

I’m interested in the origins of “I’m just saying” used postpositively. (Also its variant: “I’m not saying, I’m just saying.”) An example: “Have you ever noticed how many people end statements with qualifiers? I’m just saying.” It seems to be an update of “With all due respect,” or perhaps something I’m not thinking of. Is it an East Coast expression? I’m from California and have never heard it in speech, but have noticed it frequently in blog titles and posts.

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@Skeeter Lewis - is that perhaps a polite expression for spam? :) I had thought of reporting it, but decided not to.

Warsaw Will March 22, 2014, 3:54pm

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Skeeter Lewis March 22, 2014, 10:43am

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Be careful here nobody can help you here or even suggest how you can get your ex or love back,any testimonies of most spell caster here must be ignore.because most of them are scam i mean real scam which i was a victim and i got ripped of thousands of dollars because i was so anxious to get my wife back after she left me for over 2 years with my 7 years old son jerry,i have applied to 7 different spell caster here and all to no avail they all ask for same thing send your name your ex name address and picture phone number etc which i did over and over again and most of them were from west Africa until i saw a post about mama Anita spell and i decided to gave her my last trail.she ask me four things my real name,my ex and my ex mother name and $180 and said my ex will come back in 24hours, i have paid over $3000 on spell casting and courier and nothing have work for me after 3 days i was thinking about how much i have lost so far so i said let me give her a try so i called her again and send my real name,my ex and my ex mother name and the $180 because i swear it was my last try so i was waiting as she told me to wait till next day and i could not sleep that night because i really love my wife and want her back at 9pm that day i saw my wife on line on face book and she said hi at first i was shock because she never talk with me for the past a year and 9 month now i did not reply again she said are you there? i quickly reply yes and she said can we see tomorrow i said yes and she went off-line i was confused i try to chat her again but she was no more on line i could not sleep that night as i was wondering what she is going to say, by the next morning she gave me a miss call i decided not to call back as i was still on shock again she call and i pick she said can we see after work today i said yes so she end the call immediately i got off work she call me and we meet and now we are back again i call mama anita the next day thanking her for what she has done in fact i still call her and thank her as my life was not complete without my wife please be careful here i have been scam thousands of dollars if you want a true love spell then contact mama Anita (

jenkins March 22, 2014, 2:11am

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Well, I think it's funny. I associate it with slow-speaking women customers of a certain age in Dorset and Devonian pubs making snide comments to their menfolk (whom they seem to wish wouldn't make them come to these places) about the cleanliness of the facilities, but asserting by way of a coda that they are just sayin'. As it is clear that they are just sayin', there is no need really to explain so, is there? That's a bit of what I find funny. But after a few pints of the marvellous real ales to be had in South-West England almost anything seems funny. Cheers! Just sayin'.

Brus March 10, 2014, 3:23pm

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I find it abso-freakin-lutely ridiculous that this discussion has gone on so long.

I'm just sayin'.

My2Cents March 10, 2014, 2:25pm

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@Pee Wee - well you obviously despise me then, as I used it yesterday, but not to absolve myself of guilt, rather to soften a criticism of something the person I was writing to had said. As for thinking it was funny, that had never occurred to me (but then I don't live in the States).

I would suggest that if you're going to go around despising people for using language you don't approve of, that says rather more about you than them.

Warsaw Will February 5, 2014, 3:01pm

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Many comedians, movies, authors & famous people have used this expression. However, the usage of "just sayin" as a way to absolve one's self of blame or to mitigate responsibility for any insult, was made enormously popular by the television talk show host..... Conan O'Brian. I fargin despise people who use it and/or think it's funny.
My deep hatred focuses not so much on the phrase itself, rather more about how lame, unfunny and effeminately milk-toast vanilla modern-day comedians have become. I guarantee if I heard the late, great George Carlin use it in his act.... I'd think it was hysterical. I highly doubt he would, though. Unless he was making fun of those who do.

Pee Wee February 5, 2014, 6:30am

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Ok, let me paraphrase a little on that. I like to use the phrase (Just Saying) because I think it is like saying: "I'm stating My Humble Opinion eluding (evading) arguement" Or in other words "I said it, but it's just an opinion not an arguement"

CS1005 October 4, 2013, 12:37am

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Great point. I don't know what a MHO eluding argument is, but I get the drift. Your last bit suggests you should then finish with "just saying"!

Brus October 3, 2013, 5:24am

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Origin is New York Jewish, can't tell you when it was born though, but my guess would be before you were. I'm guilty of the phrase, although I'm not Jewish, only by marriage and not even from NY. but I like it because to me it is saying that I'm stating MHO eluding arguement, but if you prefer then take it to a higher court.

CS1005 October 3, 2013, 2:53am

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I guess the assertion "I'm just saying" is a bit like the preface "I'm not being rude, but ..." and then saying something rude. Quite daft, really. It is a conversational habit in my neck of the woods. A bit like the current mania for people to say "if I'm honest", or "I have to be honest" or "I'll be honest with you". You want to call back "No! Lie, like you always do!, go on, treat yourself!" when you this daft verbal litter spattering the conversation.

Brus September 27, 2013, 4:51pm

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That was helpful.

I still find it funny that people think they can determine what phrases will stand the test of time, or infer that using a popular phrase somehow reflects on one's intelligence. You've still got slang and colloquialisms from the 19th century still being used today.

If the phrase 'just sayin'" originated with vaudeville, then it's basically made a resurgence and has already proven that it's got legs as vaudeville's heydays were the turn of the century to around the 1930's.

Nelson August 30, 2013, 3:00pm

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@Nelson - perhaps not authoritative but this might interest you, and seems to agree with what others have said on this thread:

'The origin of “I’m just sayin’” is not clear, but most paths trace it back to Yiddish humor. “I’m just saying” was the way some Jewish vaudevillians ended a joke. The phrase was popularized by two comedians in the 1980s: Paul Reiser and Eddie Murphy.'

Warsaw Will August 30, 2013, 1:57pm

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I was just curious about the origins of this phrase, and found this thread -- started in 2006!

Read all the comments and didn't once come upon a definitive oxford-engl style answer of the phrase's first usage, where it came from, or who said it, yet everybody's still sayin' it. Sorry to all the folks out there who don't like English colloquialism's, but this one looks like it's going to be around like rap music. Just sayin'.

Nelson August 30, 2013, 1:40pm

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@Brus - well, we can certainly agree on the strange nature of both contributions, and as it looks as though peace has broken out between us, have a good weekend. :) Incidentally, I hardly ever look at a physical dictionary nowadays. I wrote a little gadget for my blog which allows me to cycle through about a dozen dictionaries in seconds.

Warsaw Will August 22, 2013, 6:21pm

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Will, thanks for all that. It is most informative and helpful. I got my dictionary in 1978, I think, and it is well-thumbed after all those years teaching Latin. My original reason, inter alia, (sorry!) for remarking upon Alia's remarkable piece, was: how could one not? (Especially with mercy33's extraordinary, mystical follow-on.) It shouted out for comment, surely, and it was relative clauses and their governing pronouns which sprang to mind at the time, as they do in these circumstances.

(Sprang? Sprung?)

Brus August 22, 2013, 5:31pm

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Sorry, went a bid mad on typos there.

Warsaw Will August 22, 2013, 6:33am

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@Brus - of course we teach our students about formality, but most of us use formal language very rarely. Actually with my students, who were originally taught fairly formally, it's getting them to reduce their levels of formality, not the other way round, that is the problem. In any case we don't teach our students to say 'the man that is standing over there', but we do warn them that native speakers will sometimes use 'that' for people, especially after impersonal pronouns like 'anybody' etc, and that it is perfectly correct.

You won't be surprised to learn that I have no time for the argument that the only correct rules are those of formal English. As the editor of the Cambridge Grammar of the English Grammar has said - 'informal is normal'. Why should 'Whom do you know here?' be considered more correct than "Who do you know here?", when hardly anyone would use the first, and if they did they would get funny looks. Yes, I have a duty to teach my students about formal language, but I have just as strong a duty to teach them language that is in normal currency.

I don't know where you get the idea that dictionaries that are published for learners are any different from other dictionaries. Nearly all dictionaries, and especially the OED, are descriptive; that is their job. In fact most learner's dictionaries give much more usage information, including on formality, than standard dictionaries. In any case the likes of Longman and Macmillans no longer market themselves as learner's dictionaries, but have a much wider audience, especially on the web.

In fact, with the Bank of English and their Cobuild project, Collins Dictionary was one of the pioneers of using real life examples rather than those made up their lexicographers. And they are at the forefront again in a new, separate online dictionary, which invites contributions fro the general public, although retaining overall editorial control. And if you'd looked a bit more carefully at Collins, at least the online version, it says - 'that, pronoun - used to introduce a restrictive relative clause ⇒ "the book that we want" '- nothing about being only for things, and further down, among the example sentences is this -"I looked at myself in the mirror and felt reassured by the healthy young man that stared back at me."

Your last two example are interesting:

"The book, which is on the table, ... (explains that that is where it is)
The book which is on the table ... (explains it isn’t some other book you mean)."

While the former is the former is a non-defining (or non-restrictive), which gives us extra information, the latter is a defining or restrictive relative clause which, as you say, tells us which book we're talking about. Now there are many 'purists' (who of course I don't agree with) who insist that we should only use 'that' and not 'which' in defining relative clauses when talking about things, a whim of Fowler's that got taken up by many American publishers, but not only in the US. So your example would be just as wrong in their eyes as alia apparently is in yours.

"Written work is formal in my book" - how much writing is formal these days, really? Academic essays maybe, most business correspondence probably not. And as for comments on this forum, no way! Not even your contributions here follow the conventions of formal language (for example use of contractions). So I think it was a little bit high-handed to pull alia up for using language that was perfectly appropriate in the context. Just saying.

Warsaw Will August 22, 2013, 6:31am

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Yes, Will.
All that you say about ‘whose’ and ‘that’s’ is wholly in accord with what I said in my piece, where I cited Alia’s “man whose” with approval by way of comparing it with the sloppy “man that” and suggesting that “man who” is much to be preferred. You just didn’t read my stuff the way I wrote it. I too taught my pupils that ‘whose’ is for people and things...
You are right, too, that Alia need not consider possible grammatical solecisms in her unusual contribution to be important, in the wider scheme of things.
The literary authorities to whom you refer never set out to demonstrate sound grammatical English; that was not their purpose at all.
The reference works which you cite seem to be those to be found in the libraries of students of English as another language, and are therefore descriptive of current usage rather than prescriptive about correct usage, as used by purists. My dictionary (Collins) suggests ‘that’ as a relative pronoun in a context such as “the book that is on the table” to distinguish it from another book somewhere else, (restrictive) but “the book which is on the table” to explain it isn’t somewhere else. My dictionary also refers to levels of formality of speech: the more formal, the more the need to use the correct term. That's a bit obvious, really! When teaching others English it won't do to present colloquial language as good enough for formal use, obviously too.
I don’t like ‘that’ in this context at all, as it is sloppy, and would use commas:
The book, which is on the table, ... (explains that that is where it is)
The book which is on the table ... (explains it isn’t some other book you mean).
I taught my pupils about formality and how to avoid ‘that’ in written work. It depends on the level of formality, and written work is formal in my book. Just saying.

Brus August 21, 2013, 7:38pm

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@Brus - ah, it's sparring time again. I'm afraid it's a shibboleth that 'that' can't be used for people in defining (restrictive) relative clauses. What's more, it's the writers of certain American style guides and grammar books that are in the forefront of those criticising this practice, so I think you're a bit wide of the mark there, too. Apart from the MWDEU, all the following sources are British.

'The people (that) I spoke to were very helpful.' - Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
'We haven't met the people that live next door.' - Macmillan Dictionary
'Who was it that said "The Law's an Ass"?' - Longman Dictionary

In the Third Edition of Fowler's, Burchfield says 'Down through the centuries, "that" has been used with a human antecedent'' and the OED quotes it being used by Chaucer and in Wycliffe's bible. MWDEU says that ' "that" has applied to persons since its 18th-century revival just as it did before its 17th-century eclipse.

Well known British grammar writer for foreign learners, Raymond Murphy, in English Grammar in Use, writes - 'You can also use that (instead of who) - "The man that lives next door is very friendly" '.

And another respected British grammar writer, Micheal Swan, - 'Who refers to people and which to things; that can refer to both people and things - "The people that live next door keep having all-night parties." '

And I'm afraid the point about 'whose' is a red herring, as whose can be used for things as well as people, and there is no such possessive as that's, even for things. '(whose is) used to give more information about a person or thing' (OALD) - 'I was at a meeting whose purpose I didn't understand' (Swan) - it's either that or 'of which' -- 'I was at a meeting, the purpose of which I didn't understand'. There ain't no such animal as possessive 'that's'.

So, grammatically at least, alia has nothing to worry about.

Warsaw Will August 21, 2013, 1:35pm

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Alia's wholly surreal contribution to the discussion includes a relative clause introduced by 'that': THE GREAT MAN THAT WAS ABLE TO BRING BACK MY LOVER ... We should have "the great man who was able ..." just as we have "CONTACT THIS GREAT MAN WHOSE NAME ,,," rather than "this great man that's name ...". Perhaps less importance is attached to such niceties across the Atlantic in places such as the USA, or Haiti. I'm just saying.

Brus August 21, 2013, 5:24am

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my lover is back with the great help of priest Upesa he help me cast a spell that brought her back to my arms, in just 2days. my lover left me with our only kid and now they are back, once again i want to thank priest Upesa for his wonderful spell am now a happy man. you can contact the great spell caster on his email:

mercy33 August 21, 2013, 3:41am

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alia August 21, 2013, 3:40am

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arnie December 12, 2012, 12:34pm

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@Brus - Yes, that is one definition of judgemental, but I think you know perfectly well I meant the other - "having or displaying an overly critical point of view:" or "judging people and criticizing them too quickly". And no, I don't think the point of Pain in the English is to constantly criticise other people's use of English. There are so many other much more interesting aspects of language to discuss.

For example, when I write judgemental my (US) spellcheck red lines it, but when I look up judgmental in a British dictionary it takes me to judgemental. I never realised there was a spelling difference there.

I don't quite share your view of history, I'm afraid. As I remember it, teaching grammar wasn't stopped because it was elitist, but because traditional grammar teaching was stultifying creativity. Unfortunately, yes, they threw the baby out with the bathwater, but that has been remedied to a certain extent since.

And finally, I think I'll stay with Swan as my guide - "It's me/you who is wrong" is absolutely fine in informal English, which is what most of us speak most of the time.

Have a good holiday.

Warsaw Will December 12, 2012, 1:45am

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English is not my first language, so please humor me on a very perplexing question: Is there a word in English that describes the activity going on when one asserts or suggests that another is judgmental?

jf December 11, 2012, 8:06pm

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Thanks for those typing tips, W.Will. My keyboard, sadly, does not feature these things.

Now, you say I am judgmental, which I take as a complement, as it means having the ability to make discerning judgments, and to be making them. That is what my dictionary says. I got the vibe in my latter years as a teacher that someone was teaching the pupils in their "PSE" lessons, whatever they were, that it was a bad thing. I suspected them of suffering from the delusion that political correctness is not a joke, and filling the children's minds with nonsense, and that it was something to do with that. I never actually looked the word up until now, and am pleased to be vindicated. What on earth is supposed to be wrong with making judgments? That is what this whole Pain in the English thing is about, surely?

"It's me/you who is wrong". It's (me/you who is )wrong. who am ... ... you who are ... Subordinate relative clause misidentified, badly. "It's I (who am wrong), It's you (who are wrong), It's he (who is wrong).

Is it so hard to get English grammar right if you have been taught it? The tragedy is that it has not been taught in the UK for a generation, because the teachers got it in their heads that somehow it is elitist to teach the pupils anything. Something to do with being lefties, they say. Not really the teachers but those who teach the teachers and tell them what to do but not why.

I'm off on holiday now for a few months so nothing more from me for a long while, mercifully.

Brus December 11, 2012, 2:13pm

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@Brus - on my keyboard (US) - apostrophe and then the letter - é, for grave ` then the letter - è, circumflex - ^ and then the letter - ê. I can't remember cedilla, unfortunately.

But back to your opening sentence - "This is an expression used to pad out the otherwise empty expression of a vacuous thought" - would you say the same for "It's just a suggestion", which for me has just about the same meaning. Don't you ever want to qualify something you've just said, or are you (and a lot of others on this thread) always so certain about things? Lucky you if you are! (actually I'm not so sure about that).

The other thing that strikes me is this a lot of stick is being thrown at what is, after all, a pretty harmless informal expression. Are we really meant to go around the whole time uttering perfectly crafted masterpieces of prose?

I have to say, I find words like lame and vacuous pretty judgmental. Why are so many of the comments here about finding fault with others' use of English? If you don't like it, don't use it, it's as simple as that.

Warsaw Will December 11, 2012, 12:29pm

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This is an expression used to pad out the otherwise empty expression of a vacuous thought. It reminds me of a brilliant exchange on BBC television a few days ago. Someone had been invited onto a news programme as a person who might know a thing or two about the subject under discussion.

TV man: "What do you have to say about all this (already being discussed subject)?
Guest (slowly gathering thoughts together): "Well, do you want to know what I think?"
TV man: "Well, that's what you're here for, isn't it?"

"Can I just say? - do you want to know what I think?"

As a teacher for me a treasured moment was 20 years ago when one rather pedantic pupil said one of these cliches, and another more sparky one leapt in with "No! You can't!"

Sorry I can't do the acute accent on cliches. Don't know what tits to press.

Brus December 10, 2012, 3:45pm

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@jf - Don't most of us have times when we are not really sure of something and want to qualify it a little, without being judged a being "lame"? It's just a suggestion.

Warsaw Will December 9, 2012, 2:05am

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The first time I heard the phrase "I'm just sayin'" used postpositively was about six months ago. A friend, much more aware than I of new slang and hip expressions, was advising me to take an action I did not agree I should take. Her use of the phrase appeared a lame, last ditch effort to convince me of something she knew I could never be convinced of. But I'm not really sure about it... I'm just sayin'.

jf December 8, 2012, 6:52pm

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Good point 'hatar' makes .. Literature is written by people who reflect their own culture, even while trying to convey a culture from another time and place. Shakespeare did no differently. Antony speaks of Brutus, who has just helped assassinate Julius Caesar:

"Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know."

[Julius Caesar, SCENE II. The Forum.]

(This may be the equivalent of ".. just sayin' .. "
Once something is said, even when it has been "stricken from the record," remains in the ears and memory of the listeners. It may still have consequences...).

After hearing Antony speak, the audience responds:

First Citizen
"Methinks there is much reason in his sayings."

The writer knows that whatever is said has consequences, and the speaker had better know as well...

jacklope November 9, 2012, 9:34am

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I found this thread while searching for the origin of this over used expression. I just heard it on Downton Abbey (set during WWI). Did people use this expression then? Seems like a gaff in the writing.

hatar November 7, 2012, 8:17pm

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Wow, lots said about this! I get irritated when I hear "I'm just sayin'" spoken. It is used as an excuse to say something that the speaker does not take ownership of. If you're sayin' it, you're sayin'" it. Own it!

Gra October 4, 2012, 8:48am

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At the two ends of the spectrum "just sayin" has become so ubiquitous use I often use it in private with my partner when we want to have a great laugh, and then I use it sparingly when I have made a public comment that is obvious but offensive to someone and want to distance myself from what I just said because I must interact with that person on a daily basis and I don't want them to hold it against me forever.

sheldo September 25, 2012, 6:27am

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Just Urban Dictionary it. It covers all the ways to define the phrase.

Danna September 24, 2012, 9:46am

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I am 68 raised in iowa -as a youth I would hear it used as a prefi.xAs in two people arguing about house color One guy says white ,another says off white , the ownner says "Im just saying " get it done .. Adding a bit of authority to the statement . Using IM just saying ,after a sentence I frequently hear on TV , but very seldom on the street.

arnie September 20, 2012, 1:02pm

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This is one of the most irritating phrases of all. Obviously the speaker is saying something. Whenever I hear it it makes me want to say "You've made your point. Now be silent. Better yet, next time you want to fill the air with noise, think again." It's a waste of words but is also a sign that someone wants to have the last word. Control freaks and those who are insecure tend to be the worst offenders. Be quiet! Don't "just say" -- button it!

vinnie_sulfono September 1, 2012, 4:09pm

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I think the remark is the same as saying " I don't have room to talk but ...... -I'm just saying" . Also it is a way of initiating insult without Accountability .

Windmill August 31, 2012, 8:38am

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Logging in to report a sighting of "I'm just saying."

Today Pres. Obama, in a speech on Immigration issues, mentioned that Mitt Romney promised to veto the Dream Act. He then added, "I think that we should take him at his word. I'm just saying."

paravinda June 22, 2012, 11:31am

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simple -

"IJS"=Unless it hasn't already hasn't been observed, I AM a terribly illiterate psychopath, with nothing better to do than attempt to make a comment on a matter, of which, I obviously know nothing about! Essentially, this is an attempt to avert PC disqualification, while at the same time, offering the heart-felt, yet iniquitous, extension of my real 'feelings'.

Please extend me the honor of pretention. Pretention that encompasses the assertion, that perhaps, aforementioned comment never occurred. Unless however, under the most egregious circumstances, one has agreed with aforementioned comment; in which case, aforementioned comment DID cross these non-confrontational (yet, unfortunately opinionated) lips!

ie "...If I was 2½ , I would say..."

peteloaf May 23, 2012, 6:17am

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EDIT: Here it's like 'no offence' but, with less offense... and I've also heard it as, and said it as (sorry) "just saying". I've never heard it over used here, though. "Like" is the word over used here and it is entirely annoying. I've read some of the comments and I guess the "I'm just saying" phrase in my area is different than others, as it isn't used with insults.

Inuyasha2408 May 19, 2012, 8:23pm

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I completely agree with Cali girl (her comment posted December 11th 2006). It's the same in my region of California (in the mountains and hills East of Sacramento), or at least very similar. Here the statement just means: "It's a statement. Please don't look into it too far and please don't be offended." = I'm just saying.
I've only heard this phrase with this particular definition placed at the end of the sentence, whole topic, or end of the entire post.
Largely it just means please don't be offended and isn't meant to be placed at the end of insults and racial comments, just as an opinion or statement backer to prevent insults.

Inuyasha2408 May 19, 2012, 7:57pm

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people that say im just saying dont realize that just saying your words you already dissed somebody without thinkin bout what you just said.there is a process without using thought and logic because it's america and many ppl just open their mouth without realizing the concenses of their words.for example if a man said to a woman he dont even know yo you got a fat ass and the woman says what? the man would reply stupidly im just saying you got a fat ass without even getting to know that person he yes it can be insulting because in society you cant cure stupitdy.but he used a poor choice of words when looking at the just saying he said to the lady is telling her she knows she has a big rear but he annouced it to the world without thought and felt like saying it because the world is covered with 90 percent idiots who say the dumbest things without thinking .plus it showed his lack of class and judgement.with the american education system down the toilet and we're near dead last we better step our game up.otherwise saying im just saying after a insult gonna lead to more funerals.point im just saying because people dont get to the point after they say it.end.

eric smith May 16, 2012, 10:21am

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I think "just saying" means,"I'm stating my opinion and I will not defend it or engage with criticism of it: just saying, not discussing, debating, analysing or anything else. My mind is made up, I'm telling you what I think, and that's that."

It seems to be a very American phenomenon. I wonder if it is connected with American attitudes towards free speech? Freedom of speech is an important part of the American psyche. By "just saying" something, do we imply that any criticism of our opinion is actually a criticism of the fact that we "just said" something? Does not every American read the phrase "just sayin'" and think "Well, of course they have every right"?

Just exercisin' constitutional rights.

Hal March 31, 2012, 1:39am

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To all the people that write that they came here to find the derivation of the phrase, someone already posted a use of the phrase that dates to the 1940's. It was used in a play. Go through the thread an reread. You missed it.

As far as the meaning behind it, I found that "ridethgus" summed up its passive aggressive quality quite well:

Ridethgus (unregistered)
January 6, 2007, 10:49pm
"im from vancouver, just north of cali and washington and i hear all the time. im only fifteen and ive always that it was just said in casual talks about nothing. i guess its just a random comment that really isnt sposed to be taken seriously."

"casual talks about nothing", "random", and "isn't sposed to be taken seriously" perfectly sum up the lack of ownership for one's questionable intentions, words, and attitudes when using the phrase "just sayin' ".

"Random" is another heinous word that erases thought. It means nothing other than, "I don't understand what was just said or what just happened and I don't know HOW to think it out or describe it properly, or maybe I just don't LIKE what happened, so I will try to build group consensus against that event by saying, "That was random." So, "random" is a perfect way to deny the insulting intent behind the phrase "just sayin".

Or, there is W.F.:

W.F. (unregistered)
January 31, 2007, 11:54pm
Hmm, everytime I or my friends say "I'm just sayin'" we're usually pointing out a truth or opinion that most people don't want to hear or are afraid to say aloud. But at the same time, we're hoping they don't get offended or throw a fit. Most often though, it's said after something fairly humorous, leaving the listener to their own conclusion."

Translation: We use it when we want to make fun of someone by saying something that we know will hurt their feelings or by pointing out that their position is assinnine, and at the same time we want to make sure they are so thoroughly ridiculed that they have nothing to say. "Leaving the listener to their own conclusion" means that since nothing of substance backs up the insult, there is nothing to argue against.

I absolutely love Vwmoll's idea for a response: "Well try just NOT saying it." Perfect.
Of course, we have to accept that the response might be, "Dude, no offense, I was just sayin." Even apologies can be passive aggressive. It's hard to communicate with people that make a point of not thinking.

Mike K March 10, 2012, 1:31pm

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Gem January 11, 2012, 4:35pm

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In almost all instances that I have seen, this phrase follows a comment which could be critical, controversial, incendiary, or rude. Tacking it on the end of a sentence usually implies, "but don't get defensive," or "I don't want an argument." However, because it withdraws the critic from the critical statement issued, this makes it all the more frustrating to reply to.

SM January 10, 2012, 8:27am

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Adding "just sayin'" the the end of a phrase is passive-aggressive. If you are going to insult someone, own up to it. Pretending that your insult is OK by adding that stupid phrase is not OK. It's lame.

the snick November 19, 2011, 2:49pm

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I agree with you, Frostable, and I've also noticed that the use of this phrase seems to be on the rise (which adds to its obnoxiousness). The response in most situations might well be a gentle , "Well then, how about just NOT saying, then?", in lieu of something more spirited which might get you into trouble!

vwmoll November 6, 2011, 9:38am

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I'm so glad to have come across this conversation! :)

I'm studying to be a high-school teacher and I googled this term after a good friend of mine said (after a few beers), "Look at the facts. Nobody respects teachers anymore. I know you're enthusiastic and all, but you'd be mad to think that your profession has the credibility you'd like it to. You'll be burnt out after 5 years. JUST SAYIN'"

Now, I'd always loathed the phrase (used postpositively) even before this exchange, but this just reinforced my reasons for doing so. It assumes the right to say something without the responsibility of having to be held to account for it.

Besides, what is it to 'just say' something anyway? When you 'say' anything, you lose control of its meaning, inferences etc the moment it leaves your mouth and reaches the ears of your listeners. Most of the time, your listeners will largely understand the phrase as you meant it. However, this is often not the case, and when this happens it's the responsibility of the speaker to further clarify/justify his/her statement - that is, if you want to avoid offence or confusion.

It seems to me that 'just sayin' absolves the speaker from any responsibility to provide such a follow-up. So far as I can see, this can only mean that the speaker is unwilling or unable to explain or justify what was just said. Personally, I think you should keep your mouth shut in this case.

Ah, this was so cathartic :)

Frostable November 4, 2011, 11:07pm

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Well I'm from Estonia and even we use it. It's more like you say smth almost rude in Estonian and add "just saying" to the end. For example "Your hair is a lot prettier when it's washed....juuuuuust sayin' "

"Just sayin' " is the new "No offence"

k November 2, 2011, 9:13am

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These are examples of how I've heard it being used, but more often than not it seems that folks are dropping the "I'm" part and ending the sentence with "just saying".

Married men live longer than single men, but married men are a lot more willing to die...I'm just saying.


Eighty percent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe...just saying.

Del August 4, 2011, 4:04pm

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Best definition at Urban Dictionary is "A phrase that is used when someone is offended by something you said. This phrase then removes all the offensiveness of the previous statement, making it all good.

Charles July 7, 2011, 10:22pm

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I hear those words spoken 50 times a day. "I'm Just Saying", "I'm Just Saying", "I'm Just Saying"... I take it as an insult to my Intelligence, especially when it's said at the end of a convesation. It's like the person saying it is trying to get in the last word and make their point about the conversation a step above yours. It's also like they're trying to put your opinion on the conversation down a notch, so my reply is usually "I know you're just saying, that's why you said it in the first place." and most of the times I get crossed looks from the person... Then I just laugh...

BB July 6, 2011, 11:22am

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just say it.

sony July 2, 2011, 3:04am

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Along with "epic", "just saying" is one of those annoying, overused terms that drive you crazy until they disappear. Finding this discussion has been an "epic" moment for me!
The Seinfeld origin appears to be the best answer. The reason I came here was because I have spotted the phrase in writing, on the internet, far too many times in the last week. It is extremely annoying because the author is not saying anything. They are writing it!

threadhead June 10, 2011, 12:54am

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Wow! All this from a question posted in October 2006. just sayin. I intend to buy tee shirts, coffee mugs, and maybe a rubber wrist band. If they don't exist I may start a company to make them.

Alan May 29, 2011, 5:00pm

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I hate the term! I see it used as a narcissistic way of saying "I'm bragging, or look at me." Example: "sailing through the Straits of Gilbralter."

"T" May 28, 2011, 7:04pm

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I dislike the term; just say what you're saying, and leave it. You don't need to use a scapegoat term and run-on sentence to end your thoughts. I like to reply back with "Just saying what? Finish your sentence."

jwg May 24, 2011, 5:16am

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I Like it. I'm just sayin

Susie May 17, 2011, 5:23pm

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What ever happened to, "If you don't have anything nice to say..." All this seems like to me, is it allows people to say whatever they want, whenever they want and use a phrase like, "Just saying," to seemingly justify the comment. Now, the comment may have grains of truth, some truth, or half of the truth, but if you don't have the whole truth, then don't discuss it with someone who may be offended unless you have the testicular fortitude to be responsible for the words coming out of your mouth. If you're going to say something, say it and don't hide behind words that may confuse, disarm or otherwise discredit your statements. For that is who we are in the end, be proud of what you believe.

Mario May 5, 2011, 2:29pm

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I'm just saying that "i'm just saying" is annoying. I'm just saying.

Daniel April 25, 2011, 8:05am

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I've heard the phrase used postpositvely in a humorous context, teasingly and usually with friends, as WB and others have pointed out. When used in this context it can be amusing, but if overused or mean-spirited it just becomes annoying.

vwmoll April 3, 2011, 6:55am

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Wherever it originated, I wish it would go back there, and take along "What Everrr" and the rest of the nails on blackboard, jersey shore, punctuations! I'm NOT just sayinn!

Cosmac April 1, 2011, 5:01am

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If you say something that may be hurtful to someone, or it just may not be well received, you might end with the expression just sayin' which might be short for "just sayin' something that needed to be said."

BobR March 28, 2011, 10:15pm

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Basically "I'm just saying" or the more colloquial, I'm just sayin', is a humorous way of pointing out a flaw in logic, often delivered as a quip or a jab. The intended purpose can be to stop someone from continuing an already illogical argument or statement, or as a way of rebutting the statement once it is completed. When properly delivered, it is a devastatingly witty means of ending an argument that also makes the intended mark rethink their train of thought and provides fodder for any bystanders.

Jason March 25, 2011, 9:06am

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I picked up this phrase from the character Paul Reiser played in Mad About You. He said it all the time.

cdeluca February 18, 2011, 12:05am

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I hoped someone would know the origin of this phrase. I'm just sayin.

southerngifts4u February 17, 2011, 12:56pm

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"Just saying"..I see it as a disclaimer of sorts..A way to not really own what your point is..Non commital..Probably most often used when giving an opinion or taking a guess at something..Also a point of emphasis..

stphn.brwn January 22, 2011, 3:34pm

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Culling from posts by Rick, "seems to be a fad phrase"; Jan, "little capability of independent thought"; and Pliny "internet-non-speak" I think sums it up.
The post-positive phrase "Just saying" is about as intelligent, insightful, and meaningful as a submarine in the Sahara. I just ignore it and hope it is a short-lived fad.

321 January 14, 2011, 6:04pm

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(Flashback to Peter in Willy Wonka's factory)
Wonka: I'll ask you one more time, are you sure you didn't eat anything in my factory?
Peter: (appears as a giant blueberry) No.
Wonka: I'm just asking.
Peter: Are you calling me a liar?
Wonka: No, I'm just saying -
Peter: Hey, shut up Wonka! [edit]

rory.mcnaughton January 5, 2011, 6:38pm

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I see it first used in a family guy episode, 1999. I don't see earlier usages (after a quick poke around google results from 1990-2000.

rory.mcnaughton January 5, 2011, 6:37pm

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It's part of my ever-growing email...composed entirely of internet-non-speak.

So far I've got:

"How's that working out for you? Al Gore invented it. I'm just saying."

elder_pliny January 4, 2011, 8:27pm

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Bingo! Those who use this phrase have little capability of independent thought.

alumfsu December 23, 2010, 3:48pm

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I'm from Oregon and recently noticed that phrase being used a lot, especially on facebook. Not sure where it originated or when, but it seems to be a fad phrase that has become popular by phony types who think it's cool and hip to say it and that they are cool and hip by using it, but really the opposite is probably true...they are followers with no originality. I may sound a bit harsh and cynical, but just making my point. I hate the over-usage of it and place it among other dreaded fad phrases such as "you go girl."

To clarify, people will say some random statement that could stand alone as said and then they'll add "I'm just saying" or "Just saying" after the statement. The statements can range anywhere from "Justin Bieber needs a hair stylist. Just Saying," to "Obama and FCC sell out on net neutrality. Just saying."

pdxsoapopera December 22, 2010, 3:23am

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ccpcmusic November 30, 2010, 5:18pm

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I feel as though I've heard this in films or TV shows from the 50s... but with an added "that's all" -"I'm just saying, that's all!" - in instances where advice or information was being given by someone and a negative reaction was anticipated or sometimes seen by the listener, so then the speaker quickly said that phrase as if to halt the reaction and sort of smooth it over. I distinctly recall it being used on Seinfeld and The Simpsons as well.

Personally, I dislike it's current usage or over-usage and see it as an insinuation. Whether that be insinuating something is true or false, insinuating that the person can't be held accountable for what was just said, or suggesting that the reader/listener draw their own conclusions based on the info, it's all insinuation to me. Insinuations by nature, are indirect statements - to me, a sign of one who may prefer to avoid confrontation/responsibility and not offend anyone. Whether you find this to be a positive or negative trait, is completely subjective, and for me, it's a case-by-case basis. I'm not big on generalizations and I think the intentions behind speech sometimes don't match what is being said.

There are those who'll throw in that kind of thing simply because they picked it up in their vocab. There are others who's humor is such that "just sayin'" fits in perfectly as a post-punchline to whatever they were attempting to make a joke of. That kind of usage of the phrase makes me think of the old saying "there's truth in jest." In finding humor in truth, you risk offending anyone living with that truth.

In reading comments here, it bothers me to think that some feel saying "just sayin" gives the message that "I don't want to discuss this" or "I'm not trying to fight." It's almost like using a silencer ("just sayin") at the end of a loaded gun (what was said before "just sayin"). If someone is broaches a topic with another, whether light-hearted or serious, that other person shouldn't feel compelled to not be able to discuss their opinion or thoughts as well. Maybe the fact that a little statement like "just sayin" can be as powerful as to 1) provoke this much interest 2) be believed by some to disable further comment on the subject by the listener/reader 3) be used as frequently as it is 3) understood to have both ill-intended and well-intended meanings; says something about the state of "Freedom of Speech" and maybe even the mentality of a large population in this country. As I said, I see "just sayin" no matter the intent, as a type of insinuation or implication, a way of saying something indirectly. Why would so many feel the need to be this indirect if in fact we felt comfortable, confident and secure with the speech we have the freedom to use, as well as with ourselves and others whom we choose to have conversations with? Is it our fears, whatever they may be, that hold us back from total direct expression of what's REALLY on our minds? THAT is what I'm saying, and it's totally up for discussion! =)

mcshahrazad November 25, 2010, 11:30am

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Looks to me like "I am just saying" is just a way to deliver an insult, spread a rumor, seed a doubt, hurt and pretend to not mean it. I am just saying.

mklachko November 3, 2010, 5:37pm

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Caroline - I agree. "Just saying" seems to be the new "no offence", as in "no offence but (insert insult here)".

chrisbolton20 October 17, 2010, 5:43pm

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''Just saying'' ~ a blurb at the end of a stement used by youth today to protect themselves. The once ever popular ''Just joking'' was also used at the end of a sentence....when my sons would say something that they thought their father or I would not approve of they would always follow up with a ''just joking'' that they are older they are using ''Just saying'' a few years it will be something else...

stallionstreet October 16, 2010, 11:47pm

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I'm just saying how I feel, man/ I ain't one of the Cosby's I ain't go to Hill, man

frankrotiroti October 1, 2010, 12:33pm

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In my area people who use this expression don't even bother to write or say "I'm just saying". It is always "jus sayin". It drives me INSANE!

smovadia September 16, 2010, 2:31pm

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Beats the hell out of awesome...I am so sick of hearing that word! Just sayin'

emailjunk2007 September 7, 2010, 11:43pm

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And yes, I know the OP was looking for the origin.

The earliest reference I saw among the responses was to an Eddie Murphy standup routine, which goes back to the early 80s.

My comment was just adding some colour to the use discussion since I hadn't seen anyone mention "I'm just throwing it out there", which is also a not-uncommon phrase.

nontechietalk August 20, 2010, 5:11pm

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I use it synonymously with "I'm just throwing it out there." In other words, after saying something that might be considered offensive or controversial, yet also reasonable/logical/understandable, tacking on "I'm just sayin'/I'm just throwing it out there" distances the statement from me personally, so that the topic itself can more easily be discussed for whatever merit there may be in the suggestion.

This intends to a) allow someone to contend the argument without fear of hurting my feelings, since I've already offered the distance; and b) allows me to have even made the statement without fear of reprisal because, hey, it's not how I might actually see it, it's just an idea for your consideration.

Reminds me of Chris Rock summarizing OJ's position with "now, I'm not saying he did it...BUT I UNDERSTAND."

As an example, the continuing tensions between N. Korea and S. Korea prompts me to compare N. Korean Twitter huffing and puffing to that of a schoolyard bully, and you didn't get a schoolyard bully to pipe down by continuing to hand over your lunch money....I'm just sayin'.

nontechietalk August 20, 2010, 5:08pm

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I hope this clears it up.

Did anyone even read what was asked for in the original question? You all are idiots, Im just sayin, ya know?

vaolevslogomachy August 10, 2010, 7:01pm

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i already went over who started it!! It was in my earlier post! the underground comic BILLY KLEIN first started this saying!!


billfromburtt July 21, 2010, 1:20pm

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Looking back at the original question about "I'm just saying", it was about the origin, not the meanings. Douglas seems to have a handle on the possible meanings, but not on the origin. Several people have explained what they and their friends mean, but not the origin. I envision some Brooklyn punk (or perhaps it was Ben in New England) making an offensive statement and pissing off some tough guy, who says, "Oh yea? I ought to kick your ass." To which the punk (or Ben) says "I'm just say'n", as he backs off while holding up both hands. It diffuses the situation and he learns to use it at the end of any insult he makes. It may have evolved from the statement, "I'm just asking." That also comes from some punk who ask girls if they will go to bed with them and when they get insulted, he tries to laugh it off with, "I'm just asking."
I don't know the origin either, I'm just say'n.

lloydedwards July 20, 2010, 11:11am

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For fuck sake!
I'm just saying

06w125 July 17, 2010, 9:12pm

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Same to you, Jan.

douglas.bryant July 17, 2010, 8:35am

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Ha Ha Ha, That is all, Douglas, That is all. Have a great day!

alumfsu July 16, 2010, 12:33pm

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As one who is "not here to argue," Jan, you argue quite a lot. Your "viable definition" to “just saying” is simply a crib from a mob-based website, where "best and most correct" is defined by random opinion, not knowledge. Trust me, Porsche has read and understood your original post:

"I needed to know what some people were talking about when they used this phrase (as each had a different definition of what the phrase means to them), so I looked it up in the urban dictionary.

Urban Dictionary: just saying?Just saying: a phrase used to indicate that we refuse to defend a claim we’ve made—in other words, that we refuse to offer reasons that what we’ve said is true."

Here are some current definitions for "just saying," taken from today's Urban Dictionary:

"A phrase that is used when someone is offended by something you said. This phrase then removes all the offensiveness of the previous statement, making it all good."

"Response when your motive for saying something is questioned and you a) had no motive or b) do not want to reveal your motive."

"Response when one has been proven wrong but is not humble enough to admit being incorrect or cannot settle with the other person's statement."

Rather a wide field of opinion. Hardly definitive.

This here site tends to be argumentative. People hereabouts "offer reasons that what we’ve said is true." Have you an opinion of your own?—I'm just saying.

douglas.bryant July 16, 2010, 9:12am

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porsche, if you have read and understand my original post you would know the answer to this. To fill you in, I simply supplied a viable definition to "just saying", the best and most correct one in fact, and apparently there are some who were reading more into it than the simple answer. Some are picking at things that have nothing to do with the original post and cannot be reeled back in. Again, I am NOT "suggesting anything or giving any personal opinions. I simply offered a great reference to help. I am not here to debate anyone. Many are just jumping in without understanding, and picking apart the last post & specific words; and asking questions that are off the topic. They have not even seen the big picture, just one post or reply. That is all.

alumfsu July 15, 2010, 6:42pm

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Jan, are you suggesting that the Urban Dictionary is an irrefutable source of English usage? I think what several people are trying to point out to you is that the Urban Dictionary (by their own admission) is just a big open blog where anybody can post whatever they want.

porsche July 15, 2010, 4:36pm

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And Aravinda, you have every right to feel that way. It has nothing to do with the original topic, but you still have the right say it. Let it go, you will feel much better.

alumfsu July 15, 2010, 11:41am

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Jan, I think "I am not here to argue" is also an implied meaning of "just saying."

Also wanted to share an apt usage of the phrase that I spotted in a comment to the article on Gravity in the New York Times:

paravinda July 15, 2010, 11:06am

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Douglass, I'm not here to argue. I stated a simple fact. The definitions in UD are aprroved by a majority, just like any other acceptable law or definition is. Let it go.

alumfsu July 15, 2010, 5:21am

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The Urban Dictionary website says:

"All the definitions on Urban Dictionary were written by people just like you."

Which is to say: not by "definition experts."

douglas.bryant July 14, 2010, 8:18pm

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strike the "was" LOL :)

alumfsu July 14, 2010, 8:09pm

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Yes     No