Community Web Version Now Available
Hanji
Gag me with a spoon. I heard the phrase, "Gag me with a spoon’ on the Netflix show, The Stranger Things. I googled it and I think I got the meaning. It means 'disgusting'. Then I have a question. The sean on the show is that when a girl saw porn magazines in the drawer in her brother's room. Does it mean that the magazines gag her with a spoon? I want to know how to use 'gag'. Because I thought 'gag' meant comedy or joke. And is it a common phrase still now? Because the show was about in 1985, the old days. Thank you very much.
Jul 11, 2019 2:10 PM
8
0
Answers · 8
A longer answer: "Gag" has 3 meanings- 1.A joke or prank (noun) ex. "I'm not really moving to Norway, that was just a gag." 2.To silence or make silent (verb) ex. "Hurry gag him before he calls the police." 3.To choke or cough (verb) ex. "He started gagging because he tried to drink a bottle of water too fast." This is the reaction many people have to disgusting things ("The smell was so bad I started gagging") "Gag me with a spoon" is more the 3rd definition I think. "Gag me with a spoon" literally means "put a spoon in my mouth to make me gag (cough)." You often start gagging (coughing) when you smell or see something disgusting. For example, if you see a rotting animal on the road it may be so disgusting you start gagging (coughing, choking). So the phrase "Gag me with a spoon" is trying to say "I'm not actually gagging but this thing is so disgusting you need to make me start gagging to show my disgust." It is used ironically like when someone shows you an ugly high school photo of yourself not when you're looking at photos of holocaust victims. In summary, use "Gag me with a spoon" where you would say "That's disgusting." As is often the case with "sayings" or "phrases" it doesn't work in different grammatical cases. So I've never heard anyone say "magazines gag her with a spoon." Instead say "the magazines disgust(ed) her." But when you see something disgusting you can say "that's disgusting" or "gag me with a spoon." I don't think it's a common phrase now but maybe some places it is. Usually when people use gag they're talking about definition #2 or #3
July 11, 2019
Angela, thank you very much for your detailed and useful comment. Now I understand clearly and I can imagine the situation. It's very amusing to hear from the person who used the phrase in real in the '80s. It's interesting that more girls say the phrase than boys. So, Angela, your teenager life was in the '80s just like the show, The Stranger Things. I, somehow, got to be more familiar with you. My age is not so far from you. :) Maybe, Michael in here too. It's very nice to see you again, Angela! Thank you very much.
July 12, 2019
It means "gross." "Gag me" and "gag me with a spoon" were teenage slang during the 80s (I was a teenager during the 80s. The old days. :) ) "Gag me" meant that something was gross or disgusting. We would often say that while pretending to stick a finger down our throats to show that the thing was so gross that it made us want to throw up. "Gag me with a spoon" was an intensifier. It would be used if something was really, really gross. Two other things: 1. This was associated with a certain subculture of American teenagers - so not everyone would say this. It was something that girls said more than boys. It was also something that was associated with "valley girls." I don't think I ever heard anyone who was actually an adult ever say "gag me." 2. The phrase is somewhere between ridiculous and stupid. We knew how ridiculous and silly it sounded while we were saying it - it's one of the reasons that we said it. We'd use an over-exaggerated tone. (Teenagers are like that some times). ------ So the only way you would ever use that phrase is if you were to get a time machine, head back to the mid-80s, become a teenager, and start spending your free time with other teenagers in malls. That's ... unlikely... but if it does happen, you're ready.
July 11, 2019
Thank you :) Yes, it's an American usage - it's way beyond my range, I'm afraid, to try to explain how it came about. And I've never heard it before you posted it today :)
July 11, 2019
By the way, I like your picture, Michael.
July 11, 2019
Show More
Hanji
Language Skills
English, Japanese
Learning Language
English