sigh

or le sigh

[sahy]

What does sigh mean?

Sigh. You have to look up sigh? Actually, we don't blame you, as a sigh, an audible exhalation, conveys a broad range of emotions from sadness and disappointment to sarcasm and relief. People frequently write it out online to express such sentiments. 

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Examples of sigh

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Examples of sigh
Sigh boring and shitty Monday
@NASA_agb, October 2018
Sigh. Study finds women who don’t wear makeup are paid less.
Nadia Bokody, SHESAID (headline), May 2016

Where does sigh come from?

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We’ve been sighing long before it was written down, which was at least the 1300s as a noun and a verb. In Middle English literature, we see many sighs in longing for love, for instance, or other worldly woes.

In the 1960s, sigh became slang in South Africa for “complain,” which in its way anticipates the use of sigh in the digital age.

As online writing doesn’t convey tone or nonverbal communication, typing out sigh became particularly useful and common as the internet era took off in the 1990s–2000s. So much so that in the 2000s, le sigh, with le from the French for “the,” became a humorous, exaggerated, romanticized way to show frustration, weariness, or longing.

Who uses sigh?

In digital communication, people write out sigh in commentary on–or reaction to–content, or to mark tone on a post or message. Often, it’s written just as sigh after a remark or on its own. It may also be written as *sigh*, the asterisks acting like stage directions. More internet-hip folks may write le sigh for emphasis or irony.

Internet sigh‘s are as versatile as real-life sighs, and they’ve migrated from social media to web article headlines. They can be issued in complaint, annoyance, or disappointment…

wistful yearning…

…relief, like a whew

…or sarcasm. Aren’t we thorough? Sigh.

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