Gobsmacked? Stunning revelations about this popular word

From New York Times columns to your friends’ texts and Facebook posts, the term has found its way into all sorts of contexts.

Have you ever been gobsmacked?

If so, it’s probably happened fairly recently. The term has gained popularity of late, and though it may seem merely the flavor of the month, it’s been around for a while.

The venerable Oxford Dictionary puts its origin in the 1980s.

What does it mean, though? Here’s what the Oxford Dictionary offers on that front.


British informal

utterly astonished; astounded: the locals were gobsmacked when us lot trooped in

I particularly like the ultra-slangy “us lot” as a subject; it gives it that gritty Londoner feel.


So, what’s its etymology? (That is, how did it come to be?)

Well, if you know that “gob” is British slang for “mouth,” you’re most of the way there.

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