That Sucks: Definition, Meaning And Origin

Last Updated on
June 16, 2023

The phrase "that sucks" is a popular colloquial expression that conveys disappointment, frustration, or empathy for a negative situation. It's a way of acknowledging that a situation is undesirable or difficult.

In short:

"That sucks" is a colloquial phrase used to express empathy towards or dissatisfaction with an unfavorable situation.

What Does "That Sucks" Mean?

The phrase "that sucks" is a casual way of expressing annoyance, irritation, or disappointment with a person, thing, or situation. It suggests that something is unpleasant, unlucky, unfair, or undesirable. However, it is generally used in a lighthearted, informal manner rather than to convey deep anguish or despair.

Here are the main ways it's used:

  • To express annoyance at an inconvenient situation or circumstance.
  • To convey frustration with a person, thing, or event that didn't meet expectations.
  • As a way of commiserating when something unfortunate happens to a friend or acquaintance.
  • In a teasing or ironic manner when something minor goes wrong or doesn't work out as planned.

Where Does "That Sucks" Come From?

The phrase "that sucks" has its roots in American English slang from the 20th century. It's an offshoot of older slang where "suck" was used as a term of derision or insult. Later on, it evolved into a more general expression of dissatisfaction or empathy for an unfortunate situation.

10 Examples of "That Sucks" in Sentences

Here are some examples of the idiom in use:

  • I know there's nothing new under the sun, and that really sucks when you're trying to innovate.
  • That sucks that the game was rained out, but we'll try again next week.
  • When you're feeling blue, it sucks and can make even simple tasks seem difficult.
  • When he mentioned how his laptop crashed, I knew that sucked for him, considering his deadline.
  •  When you're trying to be serious, but you're the butt of the joke. That sucks!
  • When she heard about the sudden change of plans, she just said, "That sucks," and moved on.
  • When you swipe right on someone attractive only to find out they didn't do the same - that sucks!
  • When my friend told me about his tough day at work, I told him that it sucks, offering him a sympathetic ear.
  • It's important to remember just because you say, "That sucks," it doesn't always mean you can solve the problem.
  • It sucks that misery loves company, but it's often true that people bond over shared troubles.

Examples of "That Sucks" in Pop Culture

The phrase "that sucks" is quite prevalent in pop culture, often used in dialogue to express frustration or sympathy.

Let's explore some instances:

  • A quote from the book "Be That As It May: Don't Worry About Things You Can't Change" by Joseph Mahmough: "In school, everybody is younger, and that sucks, mainly because of maturity and being critical of everything and anything that is a deviant from the norm."
  • In the animated movie "Beavis and Butt-Head Do America" (1996), Butt-head tells Beavis, "This sucks more than anything that's ever sucked before."
  • The song "That Sucks" by Jack Kays, released in 2023, is a reflection on the struggles of everyday life, the feeling of things going wrong, and a sense of frustration with the world.

Other/Different Ways to Say "That Sucks"

There are numerous alternative expressions that convey a similar meaning to "that sucks."

Here are some of them:

  • That's unfortunate
  • That's too bad
  • That's a bummer
  • That's disappointing
  • That's a pity

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "That Sucks":

  • What does "that sucks" mean?

"That sucks" is an idiom that expresses disappointment, frustration, or sympathy for an unfavorable situation.

  • How can I use "that sucks" in a sentence?

You can use "that sucks" to express dissatisfaction or empathy. For example, "I heard you didn't get the promotion, that sucks."

  • Where does the idiom "that sucks" come from?

"That sucks" is a phrase that evolved from 20th century American slang, where "suck" was used to indicate something inferior or disappointing.

  • Is "that sucks" a rude phrase?

While it's casual and somewhat informal, "that sucks" is not generally considered rude. However, its appropriateness depends on the situation and cultural context.

  • Can you use it in formal situations?

Typically, "that sucks" is reserved for more casual or informal situations. In formal settings, phrases like "that's unfortunate" or "that's disappointing" are more appropriate.

  • Is "that sucks" an American idiom?

Yes, "that sucks" originated in American English and is most commonly used in the United States, although it's understood in other English-speaking countries as well.

  • Is using "that sucks" in academic or professional writing okay?

"That sucks" is informal and is generally not used in academic or professional writing. Opt for more formal phrases like "that's unfortunate" or "that's disappointing".

  • Can you use it to express empathy?

Yes, "that sucks" is often used to express empathy or sympathy for someone else's unfavorable situation.

  • Is "that sucks" a universally understood phrase?

While "that sucks" is widely understood in English-speaking countries, it might not be as easily understood in non-English speaking countries due to cultural differences in idioms and expressions.

  • Can "that sucks" be used to express extreme disappointment?

Yes, "that sucks" can be used to express a range of disappointment, from minor to significant. However, in the case of severe disappointment, stronger expressions might be more fitting.

Final Thoughts About "That Sucks"

The idiom "that sucks" expresses negative emotions toward a particular situation or event. You can use it to express disappointment, frustration, or even anger. People often use this slang phrase in casual conversations, both in person and online.

Here's a quick recap:

  • The phrase "that sucks" is used to express disappointment or frustration.
  • While casual and informal, "that sucks" is not typically considered rude. However, its appropriateness depends on the situation and cultural context.
  • It's best to avoid using "that sucks" in formal, academic, or professional settings, where more formal expressions would be more appropriate.

Whether it's to show empathy for a friend's unfortunate situation or to express your own disappointment, "that sucks" is a useful idiom in the informal English language.

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