long time no see

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Unknown. Attested US 1901,[1] presented as pidgin English by a Native American. Possibly a calque of Chinese Mandarin trad. 好久不見, simpl. 好久不见 (pinyin: hǎojiǔbújiàn), comparable to no can do or chop-chop – if so, most likely US Chinatown origin, alternatively British Far East such as Hong Kong.[2] Alternatively, native American origin, or native coinage as pidgin, particularly in cinematic portrayals of native Americans;[2] compare language used by Tonto (1930s).

Interjection[edit]

long time no see

  1. (idiomatic) I haven't seen you for a long time.
    Dave! Long time no see! How’s Boston been treating you?
    • 1901, W. F. Drannan Thirty-One Years on the Plains and in the Mountains:
      Good morning. Long time no see you.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1884-1928, and First Supplement, 1933
  2. 2.0 2.1 Partridge, Eric, and Beale, Paul (2002). A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, p. 1386. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-29189-5, ISBN 978-0-415-29189-7.