I'll say!

What does that mean? I realize it indicates you are in strong agreement. “Dude, did you see Fred’s hair cut, isn’t that the worst?” “I’ll say!” But how does it mean that? It seems even odder if you drop the contraction:

“Beck had a bad, bad, bad day.” “I will say!”


I’ll say!!
If you only knew!

It’s an idiom. They often don’t make sense.

Take “Giving the cold shoulder.” Rarely does ignoring someone involve a temperature change to a body part.

Sometimes you get strings of such things:

“It’s raining cats and dogs.”
“I’ll say.”
“Now you’re talking.”

Trying to parse such things literally is a problem when learning a new language.

I wonder if it’s akin to ‘I say, young man!’? A person trying get another persons attention.
(I’m just thinking aloud, be nice, I’ve had a rough morning)

Emphasis added? Like some sort of verbal for of bold?

I’ve always assumed it meant you believe in the statement strongly enough to be willing to go on the record, as it were.

It’s exactly the same as the more current slang term “Word!” It means “I agree so strongly that I would be willing to repeat what you said myself.” In other words, “I would say the same thing, with emphasis!”

“It sure is raining hard today”
[Other person thinking] I agree, in fact I will say the same thing with strong emphasis.
[Other person speaking idiomatically]: “I’ll say!”

English also has the similar idioms “You said it!” and “You can say that again!” which also indicate agreement but don’t make a lot of literal sense. According to Etymology Online the former dates from 1919 and the latter from 1942. It doesn’t list “I’ll say” and it’s hard to search for the specific idiomatic usage among a lot of more literal uses of the two words.

I Like that. I wonder how long of a conversation you can have using only idioms.


It’s agreeance. “I’ll say [it is]!”

Let’s see…:

When it rains, it pours.

It’s no more confusing than most, and a lot less confusing than, say, “It’s the bee’s knees” or “23 skidoo!”

A similar local phrase in Wisconsin is “there ya go!” or “you bet!”

It is what it is.

(I have witnessed several “conversations” where people just throw out clichés and idioms one after another just for the fun of it.)

No harm, no foul.

The one I always wondered about was “And how!”

How is that supposed to mean “I agree most emphatically!”?


My word!

By my huckleberry pie, if it sounds out of place maybe it’s because we aren’t in the habit of proclaiming oaths much anymore. If we were oath swearers, instead of just sex and revulsion swearers, “I’ll say” might sound timid.

This idiom originated in the early 1800s. It is said that welcome visitors to a house were served a hot meal but someone who was not welcome was given a cold shoulder of whatever meat was being eaten. The shoulder was known to be the coldest and toughest part of the animal and a much inferior meal.

One of the meanings of “how” is “to a great extent”: “How kind of you;” “How rude!;” “How interesting;” etc. So “And how!” means “and how very much it is.”