What Say You?: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
October 10, 2023

The idiom "What say you?" is often used to ask someone's opinion or to solicit feedback. It's a way of saying, "What do you think?" or "How do you feel about this?"

In short:

"What say you?" is an idiom that essentially means "What's your opinion?" or "How do you feel about this?"

What Does "What Say You?" Mean?

Let's dive deeper into the meaning and nuances of this intriguing phrase.

  • At its core, "what say you?" is a request for someone's thoughts or feedback.
  • It can be used formally or informally, depending on the context and tone.
  • This idiom has slight variations, like "What Do You Say?" and "What's Your Say?" Both convey a similar sentiment, asking for an opinion or response.

Where Does "What Say You?" Come From?

Origin stories of idioms can sometimes be as intriguing as the idioms themselves. Let's explore the roots of the phrase in question.

Historical Usage

While it's challenging to pin down the exact origin of "what say you?", it's believed to have been used in Old English. This means the phrase has been part of the English lexicon for centuries!

"What say you, good people?"

– excerpt from an old English literature piece.

This idiom was frequently used in literature and legal proceedings, signifying the importance of opinions and judgments.

10 Examples of "What Say You?" in Sentences

Understanding an idiom is made easier when we see it in various contexts. Here are ten examples, each highlighting the idiom in a unique way:

  • Given the tried and tested methods we've used in the past, what say you about implementing them again for this project?
  • I've shared my perspective on the matter; what say you?
  • We've always respected your opinions, so what say you now?
  • What say you about this new policy, Emma?
  • The team has made its choice. Mark, what say you?
  • Lean back and think it over, then let us know. What say you?
  • If we decide to move forward with this plan, what say you?
  • Ease into the conversation and then ask her, what say you?
  • It's better than nothing. But, what say you?
  • We've circled in on this topic multiple times. Now, what say you?

These examples show how versatile the phrase is and how you can adapt it to different situations and tones.

Examples of "What Say You?" in Pop Culture

Idioms often find their way into popular culture, enhancing content with their unique charm. Here's how "what say you?" has made its mark:

  • The TV show "Judge Judy" often features the judge asking participants, "what say you?" when seeking an explanation.
  • In the film "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, " Gandalf asks Saruman, "what say you?"
  • The podcast "What Say You?" by comedians Brian Quinn and Sal Vulcano delves into humorous debates and discussions.
  • Song lyrics often incorporate the phrase to invoke feelings of curiosity or to prompt a reaction, such as in the line, "what say you?" in a country song by Travis Tritt.
  • Popular game shows have used "what say you?" to prompt contestants to reveal their answers or make decisions.

These instances show that the phrase remains relevant and widely recognized, even in modern pop culture.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say “What Say You?"

While this idiom has its unique charm, several other expressions in English convey a similar sentiment.

Here's a look at some of them:

  • What's your take on this?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • Any thoughts?
  • Where do you stand on this?
  • What's your viewpoint?

10 Frequently Asked Questions About “What Say You?”:

  • What is the meaning of "what say you?"?

The phrase "what say you?" is an idiom that essentially means "What's your opinion?" or "How do you feel about this?". It's used to solicit feedback or thoughts from someone.

  • How old is this phrase?

The exact origin is unclear, but it's believed to have roots in Old English, making it centuries old.

  • Where do people use it most commonly?

"What say you?" has been used in various contexts from literature to legal proceedings, and it's also prevalent in pop culture.

  • Is the term formal or informal?

It can be both. Depending on the tone and context, it can be used in formal settings like courtrooms or casual conversations among friends.

  • Do people consider it old-fashioned?

While the term has historic roots, it still maintains relevance today, especially in pop culture. So, it's both classic and contemporary.

  • Is "what do you say?" the same as "what say you?"?

Both phrases are related and can often be used interchangeably. However, "what do you say?" is more direct, while "what say you?" has a slightly more formal or poetic touch.

  • How should one respond to this idiom?

Responses can range from sharing your opinion on the matter, agreeing or disagreeing, or expressing uncertainty.

  • Does it have equivalents in other languages?

Many languages have their own ways of asking for opinions or feedback. However, the exact phrasing and cultural nuances will vary.

  • Is "what say you?" a question or a statement?

It's a question. It's asking for an opinion or feedback.

  • Is the phrase used in written form?

Absolutely. It can be used in both spoken and written English, from literature to emails and more.

Final Thoughts About “What Say You?”

The idiom "what say you?" serves as a testament to the richness and timelessness of the English language.

  • Its origins, deeply rooted in history and its continued relevance in contemporary culture, showcase the enduring nature of idiomatic expressions.
  • Such phrases convey meanings and connect us to the past and the diverse tapestry of language evolution.

In a rapidly changing world, idioms like "what say you?" remind us of the importance of preserving linguistic heritage while adapting to modern communication nuances. The next time you hear or use this phrase, take a moment to appreciate its journey through time and the depth it brings to the conversation.

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