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Idiom: Ta

Definition and history of the word "ta"

It might surprise you to learn that “Ta!” as a shortening of “Thanks” is Georgian in origin, late 18th century.

While the usage was likely earlier, it’s first written recording is 1772. It began as a popular nursery word nurses and governesses would use with children to help them more easily learn to express gratitude since “Ta!” was much easier for them to say than “Thank you!” at least in those early ages. The popularity spread from there.

Popularity lasted until about 1830 when it dropped and did not resurface until the 1980s when it again rose in usage. It continues to rise in popularity now, although only fractionally compared to its Georgian usage, which was in the 12 millions usage frequency, whereas now it is only in the 4 millions usage frequency.

Currently, it is the most used way to express gratitude in Northern England, while “Cheers” is more popular further south. The words are used throughout the country and beyond, not necessarily regional, but there is a noticeable frequency of one over the other. Now, the more important question for the anthropologists is if Ta users prefer cream before jam.

Ta graphic used in the post is from a greeting card designed by the Etsy shop meandtheeshop.

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