phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

What cheer!

Posted by Masakim on July 21, 2003

In Reply to: P. P.S. posted by Kit on July 21, 2003

: : : : What does "wotcher" mean? One of the characters in the new Harry Potter book keeps saying it. I am reading the American translation, but they did not translate that word. Thanks...

: : : It is simply a greeting, similar to 'Hello' or 'Hi', but more colloquial. You'd have to get the origin from someone else more versed in the subject. Probably derived by simplifying and amalgamating "what you up to?" into one word.

: : P.s. I wasn't aware Harry Potter needed translating!!!

: P.p.s. "Wotcher" Brit. Slang - a form of casual greeting (corruption of "what cheer"). Also can be spelt "Wotcha"

what cheer! In C.20 often rendered _watcher_ or _wotcher_, and thought of as mainly Cockney, it is a greeting going back early C.18, if not earlier. James Isham uses it in _Observations and Notes_, 1743 (Hudson's Bay Record Soc., XII, 54: Leechman). _EDD_ notes it as Yorkshire dial., ca. 1860. 'The universal greeting of labourers and countrymen' (David Garnett, _New Statesman & Nation_, 20 Feb. 1937). P.B.: but Garnett's remark is a generalisation, and certainly not true of, e.g., that large stretch of the East Midlands where _Ey-oop!_ is the popular greeting.
From A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, 8th ed. by Eric Partridge & Paul Beale