What Do You Say?: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
September 22, 2023

Have you ever been in a situation where someone was trying to get your opinion or agreement on something? Chances are they've asked, "What do you say?" This expression is a commonly used idiom that seeks an individual's opinion, agreement, or response to a proposal. It's gauging someone's thoughts or feelings on a particular matter.

In short:

"What do you say?" is a common phrase inviting someone for viewpoint, sentiment or feedback on a subject

What Does "What Do You Say?" Mean?

At its core, this idiom seeks an individual's input. Whether you're being asked to decide or give an opinion, this phrase pops up frequently.

Let's dive into its core meanings and usage:

  • It can be a request for someone's opinion on a topic.
  • Often, it's a way of seeking agreement or consensus.
  • It can be a gentle nudge or encouragement for someone to decide.
  • It might also be used playfully, especially with children, as in "What do you say when you want something?" expecting the answer "Please."

Where Does "What Do You Say?" Come From?

The origin of "What do you say?" isn't firmly rooted in a single historical event or piece of literature. However, its foundation is tied to the natural evolution of the English language and its conversational nuances.

Historically, polite society always emphasized manners and proper decorum. Asking someone's opinion was seen as a sign of respect and courtesy.

Historical Usage

The idiom gained popularity in literature and public discourse in the 19th and 20th centuries. However, it's hard to pinpoint its first usage. But it has been a constant in conversations, indicating its universal appeal.

10 Examples of "What Do You Say?" in Sentences

Understanding how to use an idiom is crucial. Here are some ways "What do you say?" can be incorporated into sentences:

  • I've made my case for the new project proposal; what do you say?
  • They're offering us a great deal on the new software. So, what do you say?
  • You've been quiet tonight; what do you say about joining us for a dance?
  • I think Italian food sounds great for dinner. What do you say?
  • Instead of manually brainstorming, what do you say we surf the net for ideas?
  • It's been ages since we caught up. Coffee tomorrow, what do you say?
  • We've been discussing this project for a while now. What do you say we put a pin in it and revisit it next week?
  • I asked her if she wanted to grab a coffee, and she replied, "Maybe some other time. What do you say?"
  • I know I missed our last meet-up, so what do you saymake it up with a special dinner tomorrow night?
  • The kids pleaded, "Can we go to the amusement park, Mom? What do you say?"

Examples of "What Do You Say?" in Pop Culture

  • In the TV series "Friends," Joey often uses a variation: "How you doin'?", seeking a response.
  • "So What Do You Say?" is a song by Filter, illustrating the idiom's influence in music.

Other/Different Ways to Say "What Do You Say?"

There are various ways to convey the sentiment of "what do you say?" Here are a few:

  • What are your thoughts?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • What's your take?
  • Do you agree?
  • Your opinion?
  • Whaddya say

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "What Do You Say?"

  • Is "What do you say?" formal or informal?

It's generally informal but can be used in both casual and formal settings depending on tone and context.

  • Can "What do you say?" be considered rude?

Typically, no. However, tone, context, and cultural differences can play a role in how it's perceived.

  • Is it a modern idiom?

It's been in use for a long time and is well-established in English conversations.

  • Why is it called an idiom?

An idiom is a phrase whose meaning isn't deducible from the individual words. "What do you say?" is idiomatic because its meaning isn't just about asking what someone is saying, but seeking their opinion or agreement.

  • How is "What do you say?" different from "What are you saying?"

"What are you saying?" is more literal, asking someone to clarify their statement. "What do you say?" seeks an opinion or agreement.

  • Is it common in British English?

Yes, it's used in both American and British English, among other dialects.

  • Can it be used to ask for a favor?

Indirectly, yes. It can nudge someone to decide favorably for the person asking.

  • Does it always require a response?

Most of the time, yes. It seeks feedback, opinion, or a decision.

  • What emotion does it convey?

It's neutral but can express curiosity, eagerness, or anticipation based on context.

  • Are there humorous ways to use it?

Yes, especially when suggesting something unexpected or playful.

Final Thoughts About "What Do You Say?"

What do you say?" is a versatile expression often used to seek agreement, confirmation, or a response. It can be a friendly invitation to do something together, a polite way to ask for a favor or gauge someone's opinion. It's common in casual and formal settings, making it a valuable phrase to have in one's communication toolbox.

Here's a quick wrap-up:

  • "What do you say?" is a versatile idiom, finding its place in daily conversations, literature, and pop culture.
  • While it primarily seeks an opinion or agreement, it can also be used playfully, especially with children.
  • Awareness of its origins and various contexts helps us use it effectively and understand its nuances.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Copyright © 2024 - U.S. Dictionary
Privacy Policy