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Translation Tuesday: Tarnation

November 29, 2011

Happy last full week of classes in University land! This means that everyone around me… students, faculty and staff are ALL stressed out as we count down until the time that grades are turned in and the students depart the campus in a mass exodus for the winter holidays (and I can then find prime parking spots). As we count down to this time, student sometimes do things in their stress that make many of exclaim the topic of today’s Translation Tuesday: Tarnation! As in what in tarnation have they done now.

I don’t actually use it that often, I usually just say, “what the heck?” but I occasionally will exclaim, “what in tarnation!” It is really just a way to express shock, or dismay… really it is an expression to express disbelief.  Examples:

  • “What in tarnation have they done now?!”
  • “He said what? What in tarnation is THAT supposed to mean?”

And the list goes on. I mean really, TARNATION, it is just a fun word. And you really don’t hear it all the time. Even living in the South, I hear it, but I don’t hear it every week. It’s fun and distinctive. Go ahead, expand your vocabulary and give it a try.

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