Arts & Culture

Meet the ‘Seinfeld’ Writer Who Popularized the Phrase “Yada Yada”

Peter Mehlman, we are forever in your debt. Read More

By / July 2, 2014

Ever wondered where the iconic Seinfeld phrases ‘yada yada,’ ‘shrinkage,’ and ‘double-dip’ originated? I mean, can you believe there was a time when ‘double dip’ wasn’t part of America’s vernacular? How did grumpy couples passive-aggressively chastise each other at parties before the concept entered our cultural consciousness? (The Jews have actually been double dipping for centuries (see: Passover), but I guess the word ‘matbilin’ doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so easily.)

Anyway, wonder no more! The answers to those questions (OK, some of them) can be found in Vulture’s fascinating interview with Seinfeld writer and producer Peter Mehlman, the man who coined the phrases ‘yada yada’ and ‘double dip,’ among others. Apparently he once heard ‘yada yada’ used by the editor of a women’s magazine (heyyy ladies!), then decided to adopt it as a catch-all term for things you can’t be bothered explaining:

… A couple of times she used the words yada yada and I don’t think I had even heard anyone say it after. And I don’t know why, but it just popped back into my mind. At first, I just thought of it as some little quirk that I could throw in, but then all of a sudden, I started thinking of all of the things you could just gloss over using yada yada.

Seriously, what a goddamned gift to the world. To Mehlman’s surprise, the popularity of ‘yada yada’ quickly usurped ‘anti-dentite,’ which was his personal favorite: “I love when Kramer goes, ‘You’re a rabid anti-dentite!’ I really liked that one more than ‘yada yada.’”

Alas, an ironic professional slur which pokes fun at Jews’ preoccupation with anti-Semitism is no match for a phrase which can mean anything from “we had sex” to “my fiancée died licking our wedding invitation envelopes.”

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