Or Should That Be, “Whddya Know?!?”

“What do you know?!” might very well be the Swiss Army knife of expressions.

I count no fewer than five different meanings:

#1. What do you know about something nefarious; accusatory.

Police to burglary suspect: “a Rolex watch is missing from the hotel room; what do you know [about it]?”

#2. “I’ll be [dam*ned]!” (sometimes preceded by “Well!,” and substituting “whaddya” for “what do you”). Often uttered to one’s self, in a disbelieving or stunned tone:

News headline: “Kim Kardashian just won the Nobel prize for literature.”
Reader: “Well, whaddya know?!?”

#3. Disqualifying, usually deployed when someone is losing an argument badly.  Often uttered defiantly or disparagingly, with “you” emphasized:

Parent: “High school dropouts seldom find jobs that pay more than $1 million a year.”
Child: “What do you know??”  But see, “Kim Kardashian” (or should be that be “butt?”).

#4. Greeting.

Uttered enthusiastically (and declaratively, vs. inquisitively); popular amongst Baby Boomer (or older) men.

“What do you know!!” See also, “How’s it going?” and “How’s tricks?”

#5. Evaluative; literal.

Job interviewer to job candidate: “What do you know [about fill in the blank]?”

Example: “What do you know about transductive quantum mechanics?” (sound impressive? I made that up 🙂 ).

See also, “The Many Guises of ‘Hot Dog’“; and “Which “Done” Did They Mean??”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

Leave a Reply