Gobsmacked – What even?

I was taking the tube to an event that night. It was a 3 minute wait.

I like to walk up and down the platform and read the adds for entertainment. That night, a Bose add caught my eye.

It wasn’t  the sleek speakers and promising discount code that made me stop. It was a word. A word I never heard before. A word that I simply couldn’t explain to myself.


What even does that mean?

As a non-native English speaker I have come across a couple of these words. But do natives stop and wonder: Gobsmacking…what a strange word…how did someone come up with that?

The explanation kind of makes sense. The word ‘gobsmacked’ means “utterly astonished; astounded”.

More interestingly, it came about in the 1980s as a very informal word of British slang. Putting together ‘gob’ and ‘smack’, it is a reference to clapping your hand to your mouth in astonishment. Or being shocked by a blow to the mouth.

I prefer the first image. It makes sense.

When I saw the add, I was gobsmacked that I didn’t know the word. Or was I flabbergasted…?



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