This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
... Not! is a grammatical construction in the English language used as a function word to make negative a group of words or a word. It became a sardonic catchphrase in North America and elsewhere in the 1990s. A declarative statement is made, followed by a pause, and then an emphatic "not!" adverb is postfixed. The result is a surprise negation of the original declarative statement.
According to the above, the phrase, "He is a nice guy... not!" is synonymous to "He is not a nice guy". Whereas the latter structure is a neutral observation, the former expresses rather an annoyance, and is most often used jocularly.
One of the earliest uses was in the Princeton Tiger (March 30, 1893) 103: "An Historical Parallel-- Not." In 1905, it was used in the comic strip Dream of the Rarebit Fiend by Winsor McCay. A 1918 instance was “I am darn sorry not to be able to help you out with the News Letter, but in me you have a fund of information—NOT.”
The "Not!" catchphrase was the basis of a scene in the 2006 movie Borat where a lecturer in humour attempted to explain the grammatical construction to Borat with limited success.
- Privative, a particle that inverts the meaning of the word stem to which it is affixed.
- "Definition of NOT".
- Telluride (April 10, 1918). "Letter from W. D. Whitney, Yale Reserve Officers' Training Corps, New Haven, Conn., March 13, 1918" (PDF). Telluride News Letter. 4:8: 12. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
- Postfix Not! in English
- "1992 Words of the Year". American Dialect Society. January 13, 1993. Archived from the original on June 15, 2006.
- Jesse T. Sheidlower; Jonathan E. Lighter (Summer 1993). "A Recent Coinage (Not!)". American Speech. 68 (2): 213–218. doi:10.2307/455678. JSTOR 455678.
- Safire, William (March 8, 1992). "On Language; Not!". The New York Times Magazine. p. 20.