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  1. #1
    FATE91 is offline Newbie
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    what the heck?

    Hello! I'm a student. Could you tell me the meaning of the expression what the heck? Does it mean just the same as what the hell?

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: what the heck?

    Quote Originally Posted by FATE91 View Post
    Hello! I'm a student. Could you tell me the meaning of the expression what the heck? Does it mean just the same as what the hell?
    Yes, I believe that in some places, using "hell" in an expression is deemed offensive religiously, or perhaps even blasphemous, so the word "heck" is sometimes to used to replace it, without the saying sounding too different.

  3. #3
    Ouisch's Avatar
    Ouisch is offline Key Member
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    Re: what the heck?

    Yes, "what the heck" is the polite way of saying "what the hell." Even though "hell" has become much more common in everyday vernacular these days, it is still technically a curse word, and there are some folks who just won't say it.

  4. #4
    bertietheblue is offline Senior Member
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    Re: what the heck?

    You can also use another 4-letter word beginning with 'F' which means exactly the same here but is extremely vulgar. Still, when I see a politician blathering on on the TV I often hear myself cursing, "What the **** is he talking about!"

  5. #5
    FATE91 is offline Newbie
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    Re: what the heck?

    Does this expression also mean to do sth reluctantly with understanding that there is no way to change a situation(for e.g.What the heck, I'll do as you say)?

  6. #6
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: what the heck?

    Quote Originally Posted by FATE91 View Post
    Does this expression also mean to do sth reluctantly with understanding that there is no way to change a situation(for e.g.What the heck, I'll do as you say)?
    I don't think so. I've always understood this as an elided way of asking a rhetorical question: [in this case] 'What the heck [is the point of wasting any more time/effort in arguing]?'. But that isn't the only possible implied question - 'What the heck...?' means different things depending on the different possible implications: the most obvious implied question is 'What the heck ... [is going on here]?'

    b

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