How Do You Define 'Meh'?

Here's what people really mean when they type out this strange word

"Meh" is a word that's used to communicate indifference.

Some call it the verbal equivalent of a shrug. Since a person can't exactly shrug their shoulders over text or online chat, they resort to saying "meh" instead.

How 'Meh' Is Used

When somebody says "meh" in a text or anywhere online in response to a message, what they typically mean is, "I simply don't care enough about this to decide how to react to it." Kind of harsh, but it's the truth.

A "meh" text on a phone

People use "meh" when they reply to questions, or in situations where they think they should express their feelings (but can't). In questions where the expectation is a yes/no answer, "meh" is often interpreted as a no simply because it's too passive to be interpreted positively.

In some cases, a person might say "meh" due to a lack of information rather than a genuine lack of interest. After all, if someone doesn't have all the facts about a particular problem or situation, they can't base their feelings on much of anything to form an opinion.

Examples of How 'Meh' Is Used

Here are a few ways the word "meh" might show up in casual conversation and/or on social media:

Example 1

Friend #1: "Hey want to go to the movies this weekend?"

Friend #2: "Meh... maybe if I can find the free pass I have lying around here somewhere."

Friend #1: "OK. How about bowling instead?"

Friend #2: "Yeah that sounds like fun"

In the first example, Friend #2 responds with "meh" to a question asked by Friend #1. Friend #1 interprets their answer as more of a negative rather than a positive.

Example 2

Facebook status update: "Thought about actually hitting the gym tonight, but meh, it's already 9 p.m. and I've got a lot of work to do on this never-ending essay. Good excuse not to work out, right?"

In this second example, a Facebook user says "meh" in a status update to express their feelings about going to the gym. The use of "meh" is an expression of indifference given their current circumstances.

Example 3

Friend #1: "Hey! How are you? Long time no talk!"

Friend #2: "Hey, yea long time! :) Life is kinda meh right now but not complaining!!"

In the final example above, Friend #2 does something different by using "meh" as an adjective. Instead of using an adjective like "boring" or "uninteresting," they use the word "meh" to describe their current feelings about the state of their life.

You can also use the acronym WTV, which stands for "whatever," in place of "meh" sometimes.

When You Should (Or Shouldn't) Say 'Meh'

"Meh" is a word that should be saved for casual conversations only with people you know relatively well. Millennials and young kids are also more likely to embrace the slang word, so expect them to use it and recognize it perhaps more than some Baby Boomers or older people who use technology to communicate.

Keep in mind the use of "meh" can cause a conversation to fall off track almost instantly. "Meh" is not a real word and therefore isn't always interpreted as a clear reaction, so the person you're texting or chatting with could be left confused about what you really mean and where you actually stand.