New in the Glossary of Confusing Words: What's Up
Today's word: What's up?
When someone asks you "what's up?," they are asking you what's going on in your life, either in general or at that specific moment. It's pretty informal, and not to be used in business situations.
There are two basic ways "what's up?" is used in conversation:
1) As a very informal pleasantry. In this case, it would be the equivalent of "what's new?" or even "how are you?" and is asking whether anything is going on in your life.
A typical online chat could start something like this (I've had this exact conversation many times):
"Hey. What's up?"
"Not much. You?"
"Not too much. How are things?"
2) To find out what someone is doing or what they need at that moment. This would be the equivalent of either "what are you doing?," "what's happening?" or "can I help you?"
"Hey, I have a question."
"I was wondering if..."
"You seem sort of sad."
"Yeah, I am."
Here are a few famous uses of the phrase "what's up?" in American pop culture:
What's Up by Four Non Blondes
Wazzup Budweiser commercial
The Roxbury guys from Saturday Night Live
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