I’ve been wondering, why do we say PU when something stinks? Just one of those pointless things…
Could be from the word ‘phew’. Then you might ask where ‘phew’ came from…maybe it is onomatopoeic. You scrunch up your nose and go ‘PEEEE–UUUUUU’ or ‘PHEEEEEWIEEEEE, Pooch!! Is that you?’ as my mother used to say. Subsequently, I have developed a complex and have to find a large field to go in.
…and then from ‘phew’ the children broke it down into two syllables stessing the final ‘u’ into ‘YOU’ to cast blame on an often innocent bystander.
This doesn’t answer the question but may help. Pepe Le Pew, Warner Brother’s lovesick french skunk, first appeared in 1945 (1947 was his first credited appearance as P. Le P.). So this dates back to at least 1947. I’m guessing that they didn’t “invent” the Pew part of his name- they just took it from the vernacular of the time.
My guess? Phew = Pew = P.U.
No evidence for this though.
Pepe le Pew the origin of “phew”, “peyoo”, and “PU”? Tell me another one. Suffice it to say that the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary dates “phew” back to 1604.
Cause it takes too long to say anything else.
Are you asking about USA? What about in france? germany? must not be the same, so anyone know about those?
In sign language, we don’t say Phew. We use our hands to describe a most offensive odor and point where it probably comes from.
I just checked with a native here in Japan–they do not have anything similar, just a direct ‘kusai’ which means ‘smelly’. A littleside note: they also use ‘kusai’ in the same sense that we use ‘stinks’ or ‘fishy’ to describe something suspicious or dubious. Ano hito wa kusai=There’s something fishy about that guy.
How about pretty unsavory