yada yada

“Yada yada” means boring or empty talk — a modern-day equivalent of ‘blah, blah, blah’ (which is early 20th century).

The phrase is probably influenced by (or perhaps an alteration of) yatter or yatata or yackety-yack, or yaddega; or perhaps derived from the Norwegian expression jada jada which has a similar pronunciation and meaning. “Yatter, yatter” is British (specifically Scots) English for “continuous chatter, rambling and persistent talk.” Another variation is “yadder,” a Cumberland word meaning “to talk incessantly; to chatter.”

And yet another variation is natter, which comes from the northern England dialect gnatter. Earlier, it meant, “nibble away.”

Stackhouse, a question and answer site on the English language, provides (among others) this explanation: “Yada Yada Yada is Yiddish in origin and goes back much further than the 1940s. Yada is the Hebrew word for knowledge Yud-Dalet-Ayin, literally ‘you know that you know that you know,’ meaning I can skip over this part of the story because you already know how it goes.”

The phrase “yadda yadda” was first popularized by the comedian Lenny Bruce in his standup bit Father Flotsky’s Triumph. It gained renewed popularity in the US in the late 1990s on the television show Seinfeld, where it appears as a catchphrase,

Dory Previn released the album Mythical Kings and Iguanas in March 1971, which included the song Yada Yada La Scala:

Yada yada La Scala
yada yada yada yada yada
Let’s stop talking talking talking
wasting precious time
Just a lot of empty noise
that isn’t worth a dime
Words of wonder
words of whether
should we shouldn’t we
be together
Yada yada yada yada yada

That song is the perfect definition of chatter.

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