what's up

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Early instance is at W. Somerset Maugham's play Lady Frederic in 1907:

GERALD
I say, what's up?
LADY FREDERICK
[Starting] I thought you'd be gone. Nothing.[1]

Made popular by the cartoon character Bugs Bunny who used it as early as 1940 as part of his catch phrase “What’s up Doc?”.[2]

Alternative forms[edit]

Phrase[edit]

what’s up?

  1. (idiomatic, colloquial) What are you doing?; what is happening?
  2. (informal) How are you?; how are you feeling?
  3. (idiomatic, colloquial) What’s the matter?
  4. (rhetorical question, colloquial) A casual greeting with a meaning similar to how are you? or nice to meet you.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ W. S. Maugham. Lady Frederick: A Comedy in Three Acts. Chicago: Dramatic Pub. Co., [1912]: p. 28.
  2. ^ What's up Doc by Gary Martin, phrases.org.uk.