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1. Please repeat that, I couldn't hear or didn't understand it. A: "We're going to France this summer." B: "Say what?" A: "France! We're going to France this summer!" B: "Oh, sorry, I thought you said you were going to Fran's, as in my friend Fran from New Orleans."
2. That's ridiculous; that can't be true or correct. A: "John quit his job to be a clown in the circus." B: "Say what? But he was earning, like, $100,000 a year!"
Inf. What did you say?; Please repeat what you said. Sally: Would you like some more salad? Fred: Say what? Sally: Salad? Would you like some more salad? John: Put this one over there. Sue: Say what? John: Never mind, I'll do it.
say ˈwhat?(American English, spoken) used to express surprise at what somebody has just said: ‘He’s getting married.’ ‘Say what?’
interrog. What did you say? The old man held his hand to his ear and said, “Say what?”
Did I hear you correctly? Is that true? This slangy expression, with the emphasis on what, dates from the second half of the twentieth century. Eric Partridge believed it originated in the “ghetto” but did not specify further.