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What's up

Posted by ESC on November 19, 2003

In Reply to: What's up posted by tuwana on November 19, 2003

: Do anyone know where this slang word originated from?

I don't know. But it's old.

A book on youth slang places "What's up?" in the 1970s and 80s section. But Bugs Bunny was saying "Eh . . . what's up, Doc?" before that. One site says Mel Blanc said that line for Bugs in 1940.

While we are pondering that, here are some variations:

One source has "Wassup?" under a section on rap in the 1980s and early 1990s. "Variations on 'what's up' were popular, including 'S'up?,' 'Wassup?,' and 'Wassup money?.'" From "Speaking Freely: A Guided Tour of American English from Plymouth Rock to Silicon Valley" by Stuart Berg Flexner and Anne H. Soukhanov (Oxford University Press, New York, 1997).

Another source:
"Whass hapnin? - A greeting pattern, 'What's happening?' meaning, Hello, how are you? 'Whassup?' and 'What up?' are variations on this older pattern.
Whassup? - 1) 'What's up?' Also 'Sup?' 'What up?' See also 'Whass hapnin'? 2) In Los Angeles gang usage, a generic pass word.
Whassup with that? - .an expression requesting clarity or information on something.
What up? - As a greeting pattern, becoming more frequent as 'Whassup?' crosses over. 'What's up' becomes 'What up' as a result of an AAE (African American English) pronunciation rule." From "Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Hood to the Amen Corner" by Geneva Smitherman (Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, N.Y., 1994)