You’re telling me! 
Posted: 03 January 2014 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  2448
Joined  2007-01-30

Common on both sides of the pond, of course. OED’s earliest cite is the title of a Gus Kahn song in 1932 but I’m sure the usage could be predated easily. Here’s what I find mildly interesting though. I watch a lot of 30s US movies, especially pre-code. The phrase crops up frequently in these films but almost without fail it’s spoken as an interrogatory, with a slight stress on the me: You’re telling me?

I’m not reading too much into this but as I say I did find it mildly interesting. I always hear it as an exclamation now and none of the OED cites illustrate the interrogatory usage.

Posted: 03 January 2014 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  3020
Joined  2007-01-31

Even without that evidence, I would have assumed (dangerous, I know) that it started out as an ironic rhetorical question ("You’re telling me [who knows this perfectly well already]?") before evolving into an affirmative exclamation of agreement.  It seems the only way of making sense of the expression.  But it’s good to know that the history of usage supports this.

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