Where and when did this phrase come from? I think I first started hearing it around 2005 from co-workers in their mid-20s. There are some references to it being in Mean Girls (2004) which is probably what boosted it to prominence.
I guess I’m late to the party. I never really noticed it until the Scrubs episode regarding Jack’s baptism.
I’ve heard it a lot, and I’m pretty sure it’s pre-2004. I once had a teacher that would say “right” after just about every sentence in a sort of “Do you follow?” sense. “Plato said we have souls of metal, right, and each person had one of three metals, right? So the republic needs to sort them all out, right, and give them separate jobs, right…”
That’s almost as annoying as someone I knew, who preceded everything with “obviously” . . . implying that if you didn’t already know it, you were an idiot.
Jimmy Smits’ character on NYPD Blue would say “yeah, huh?” with the same inflection, and I think the meaning is the same.
I have been hearing it more frequently than I would like since about 1980.
A group of my friends on another site had a habit of using “i no rite” or similar intentional misspellings in order to mock the phrase, and this was probably no later than 2004 or 2005, so it must have already been an established phrase for us to make fun of it. I’m guessing it’s just a combination of the existing English tag question markers of “you know” and “right.”
Here’s a Usenet posting of “I know, right?” dating to 1999. My gut is telling me it’s a much older phrase – I could swear using it in the 90s, but I may be mixing current slang with old memories, so I don’t know for sure.
edit: And Here’s an “I know, rite” on Usenet from almost the exact same timeframe (late 1999).
In the UK, I’ve heard it all my life and I’m 23.
Wasn’t it used ironically in Zoolander by one of the male models to show that he was a valley boy hiimbo?
A more pertinent question would be “How can I get my beloved girlfriend to cease employing this phrase for a multitude of responses without freaking out?”