“I’m just saying”

“I’m just saying”

by nancyfriedman •  October 28, 2006

I’m interested in the origins of “I’m just saying” used postpositively. (Also its variant: “I’m not saying, I’m just saying.”) An example: “Have you ever noticed how many people end statements with qualifiers? I’m just saying.” It seems to be an update of “With all due respect,” or perhaps something I’m not thinking of. Is it an East Coast expression? I’m from California and have never heard it in speech, but have noticed it frequently in blog titles and posts.


Ben C says

October 29, 2006, 7:54pm

East Coast guy here, and I hear it in speech all the time. Tends to be used as, “I’m not claiming it’s absolutely true; I’m just saying what I think.” But often its intent is the opposite: “Since what I just said is so obviously true I can concede that it might not be true, thereby showing just how true it really is.”


CeiSerith says

November 1, 2006, 11:37am

I hear it particularly often in Jewish humor. Perhaps it’s from Yiddish?

porsche says

November 1, 2006, 12:15pm

I hope I’m not misinterpreting this, but, everyone, Nancy is not asking about the general expression “I’m just saying.” She’s specifically asking about the use of the expression postpositively, i.e., tacked onto the end of a sentence.


Ben C says

November 1, 2006, 8:25pm

Yes, porsche, that’s how I intended my comments. Let’s use an example. Co-workers are discussing a man in their office who they suspect of cheating on his wife. Saying “I’m just saying, he left left his wedding ring at home last night” IS subtlely different than saying, “He left his wedding ring at home last night. I’m just saying.” The latter, in what I’ve heard around me, does more toward implying inappropriate intentions on the part of the man.


Felicia says

November 2, 2006, 8:09pm

My favorite is, “Alls I’m sayin’ is”. It’s definitely a derivative of, “I’m just saying.” I’m just saying is something that comes up in daily conversation. It’s used exactly has Ben C. showed in his example. It very subtly changes a statement, but does so all the same.


j says

November 5, 2006, 9:28pm

Agree w/ Ben C. I interpret, “All I’m saying” as a statement intentionally devoid of supporting detail and background information so that it will either imply scandal and/or spur another party into saying what the “All I’m saying” originator was thinking.

Along that line, I suppose, “All I’m saying” is a tool of the sh1t stirrer.


Mike W. says

November 19, 2006, 8:04am

I disagree with Ben C.’s interpretation. I don’t think it implies more innappropriate intentions. It just implies hearsay and uncertainty and that the speaker doesn’t take responsibilty for what results may come of informing other people since he, himself is not even 100% certain. I think it’s a substitute for saying “it’s possible but not concrete.”


p says

November 19, 2006, 12:00pm

I think I agree with Mike’s interpretation. I have also heard it used to mean something like “Don’t read more into this. Take it at face value. Don’t infer anything beyond what I have actually said.” I have frequently heard it used after a discussion escalates into an argument when someone misunderstood something. I Have never heard “all I’m saying” in a context that implies something scandalous. I have also never heard it used postpositively at all, and couldn’t begin to imagine how that would change the meaning. As for “All’s I’m sayin’ is”, I really couldn’t imagine anyone ending a sentence that way, and certainly never heard it used that way either.


porsche says

November 19, 2006, 12:01pm

oops, “p” is me.


AO says

December 7, 2006, 12:14am

I’m sorry I’m sorry, this isn’t paininthejapanese.com, but, I am living in Japan at the moment without a full comprehension of the language, so I notice this sort of stuff more (maybe when it’s not your native language and you don’t really understand all of it, the fillers and sentence trailers that you can recognize stand out more). People here end their sentences with “ke do” (but) or “no de…” (so…), or “toki ni” (at that time), or “sou iu koto de” (so to speak) all the time. Usually, these sentence trailers do nothing to the meaning of the sentence even though they do by themselves have meaning. Maybe “I’m just saying” used postpositively works similarly. The expression does have meaning, but what does it actually add to the point you’re trying to convey? Maybe it is sometimes used for a purpose, but maybe it is often also just a linguistic tick.


cybermaniac says

December 11, 2006, 12:35pm

I have to agree with Ben C’s comment. I have a friend that uses this as part of his daily vocabulary.

This is a phrase which has a two part effect: 1) to deflect what would be a strong disgust/disagreement with that person’s argument and 2)inserting the mere placeholder of a possibility that the argument is valid (though hollow).

I really hate that term. It’s really an attempt to make an end run an extremely weak argument to make the declarant’s point good in the face of overwhelming impeaching evidence or argument. The person using this term doesn’t have to or want to invest any amount critical thinking skills and logic to support their position.

I’d be dismissive of that type of person as being an academically dishonest cretin.


Cali girl says

December 11, 2006, 8:21pm

I’m also a California native, yet hear it all the time. Assuming of course it is a regional thing (I’m specifically in Los Angeles) I think it is another slang saying that my generation has put being statements, so as to not offend anyone, or to place emphasis on the fact that it is an opinion being stated. Stating “I’m just saying” at the end is a sort of deflection of rebuttals before they happen. I doubt it has anything to do with location.


Ridethgus says

January 6, 2007, 10:49pm

im from vancouver, just north of cali and washington and i hear all the time. im only fifteen and ive always that it was just said in casual talks about nothing. i guess its just a random comment that really isnt sposed to be taken seriously.


opus_125 says

January 12, 2007, 5:56pm

I’m inclined to believe that the general use of the postpositive “I’m just saying” is meant to excuse having said something impolite or inappropriate. It seems akin to the prepositive use of “I’m not a racist but…,” just before the expression of an altogether racist sentiment.


W.F. says

January 31, 2007, 11:54pm

Hmm, everytime I or my friends say “I’m just sayin'” we’re usually pointing out a truth or opinion that most people don’t want to hear or are afraid to say aloud. But at the same time, we’re hoping they don’t get offended or throw a fit. Most often though, it’s said after something fairly humorous, leaving the listener to their own conclusion.


uncle harv says

May 11, 2007, 11:25am

I’m an old geezer (48) and am typecast as the guy in the office who says, “I’m not sayin’. I’m just sayin” I don’t know where I scooped it from. It erupts from my mouth when I make an editorial comment about something or someone and don’t want to be held responsible for the consequences of my comments.


Victor says

June 22, 2007, 8:49pm

It’s a cop out: a trial balloon. I won’t speak from conviction because I don’t want to offend anyone and I really don’t have convictions. Those are too damn dangerous’ someone might not like me. But there again, I’m just saying…


Jay says

July 7, 2007, 3:16pm

Hmmm. I came here looking for the origin of “I’m just sayin’ ‘izall”. I thought for sure it came from a movie or similar pop culture content. I think I’ve learned that its a specific variation of a (unknown) regional expression. I’m in Ottawa Canada & here we use as an after statement” it when we’ve inadvertantly caused an argument or controversy (how Canadian eh).


Wolf says

July 10, 2007, 6:37pm

My first exposure to the phrase was an episode of The Simpsons. After a particularly disappointing road trip, one character says, “This never would have happened if we’d gone to Macon, Georgia.” When the other characters give him “the stare”, he responds with “I’m just sayin’, is all.”

Apparently I picked up the phrase, and now am known for it myself.


wholeglor says

August 17, 2007, 2:38pm

It means, “Don’t blame the messenger, but let’s agree the truth if it is obvious.”

Anonymous says

August 17, 2007, 5:43pm

I think it can be used as a way of distancing oneself; a way of asserting something while at the same time claiming that it’s not necessarily one’s own opinion, perhaps to avoid offense. Say, something like “I’m just saying, If you paint your car purple, some people might think you’re a bit weird.” Translation: You’re my friend. I’ll support you no matter what you do. I don’t think you’re weird, but you might want to reconsider your aesthetic choices a bit. Alternate translation: You’re my friend, but if you do this everyone, me included, will think you’re friggin’ nuts. I’m trying to warn you diplomatically so we can both save face.


swharr says

December 29, 2007, 8:38pm

I made it up. It is from New England.


Andrew says

February 12, 2008, 11:32am

I could be mistaken but I swear Eddie Murphy referenced the expression “I’m just saying” in one of his early comedy routines (perhaps Raw or Delirious) from the 80s.

Ever since then I’ve been using that expression. His point was that you can diffuse tension or turn around the meaning by saying “I’m just saying” or by repeating the offensive remark.

Example 1:

“You’re ugly!”
“What?! Who you callin’ ugly?!”
“Relax! I’m just saying you’re ugly.”
“Um, okay.”

Example 2:

“You’re ugly!”
“What? Who you callin’ ugly?!”
“You’re not UGLY ugly, you’re just ugly.”
“Um, okay.”

So Eddie Murphy surely didn’t come up with the expression, but 30-somethings like me probably learned it from him and help spread the expression.


Kenn says

March 19, 2008, 9:02am

I remember comedian Paul Reiser do a stand-up bit back in the ’80s using the expression. I can’t recall the entire bit verbatum, but I think he went on with “I’m not saying you’re fat, I’m just sayin’. I don’t think it or even mean it, I’m just sayin’ it.”


Anonymous says

March 19, 2008, 9:45am

Andrew, I’m a little confused by your examples. Nowhere do they actually include “I’m just saying”.

Anonymous says

March 19, 2008, 9:46am

Oops, I guess one does, if not the other.


Paula says

August 28, 2008, 1:42pm

I started hearing this used on forums a lot in the past year. For some reason, I LIKE it!

pophop says

November 9, 2008, 1:19pm

My take is that it is a rhetorical device that has come to the fore as a result of political blogging and that its similar to “I’m just asking”.

The speaker is being intentionally, sarcastically coy.

As in: “I’m not sure of her poltical background, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t own any bras. I’m just saying!”

I’ve heard it used that way both by left and right wing commentators.

“I’m not sure if those Obama people smoke dope, but do seem to giggle a lot after lunch. I’m just saying!”


j says

November 11, 2008, 9:56pm

“all i’m saying” just means that the person is summarizing whatever he/she just said previous in one final climatic statement. So all i’m saying is stop overanalyzing it.

Anonymous says

November 24, 2008, 10:30pm

i think it’s a way of saying something to someone w/o saying it. the substance of what youre trying to point out to the other person is omitted but s/he stills gets the drift, as in:

im not sayin’ youre …

… putting on too much weight …
… drinking too much …
… spending too much money on …

… im just sayin’ …

the words go unspoken but the point gets hopefully ‘heard’

y’know … im not sayin’ … im just sayin’


Anonymous21 says

November 28, 2008, 11:23am

I thought I remembered a Seinfeld episode where Jerry gets into this analysis of the phrase where he points out that you can say just about anything negative or critical to another person as long as you follow it with “I’m just saying ….” If they protest further, you can defend your criticism by telling them, “I’m NOT ‘saying’ … But I AM saying….” As always, Seinfeld makes the point that it is part of the new mindless gobbledygook that dribbles from the mouths of people nowadays.

It works like this:

You: Wow. Your ——- really stinks.

Her: What? What are you saying.

You: I’m just saying that your ——- really stinks.

Her: I’m not sure I like you saying that to me. That hurts my feelings.

You: No. No. I’m NOT “SAYING,” … But I AM saying … that, um, your ——- really stinks.

Her: Oh. Um. Okay.


Rick55 says

December 9, 2008, 11:18am

Hmmm… I just thought that I would GOOGLE this phrase and see what I come up with. I was looking for the origin of the phrase: “I’m just saying!” It has struck me as in general usage (as pointed out in other posts) for the past 4 or 5 years. But maybe it has been longer. If Jerry Seinfeld did a skit on it I wonder if its origins are on the East Coast. Here I am on the West Coast (Wet Coast) of Canada.
Thanks, everyone, for the comments.


Scott says

January 9, 2009, 9:09am

I hear it mostly with the under 30 age groups.

It is used as a statement qualifier for situations where someone doesn’t have the backbone to take responsibility for the words coming out of their mouth.

The phrase is often tacked on to the end of a statement in an attempt shift the ownership of the words from the speaker/writer to some nebulous party out there somewhere.


John says

January 21, 2009, 7:51pm

I use it comical situations. It can add more punch to the punch line. I tend not to use it in every day speech and certainly not in more serious conversations.


TB says

February 3, 2009, 10:38am

I agree with John. It’s used to be coy; tongue in cheek, as a capstone disclaimer.

And, yeah, very Jerry Seinfeld along the lines of, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”


hillary, Chicago says

February 24, 2009, 8:20pm

I’ve lived in NYC, Charleston, SC, Chicago and Berkeley, CA…I started hearing it in Berkeley a few years ago actually but now hear it everywhere. I often use the phrase or hear it–especially at work in my design meetings or when someone has a hunch or opposing idea.

Smitty says

March 17, 2009, 12:46pm

“I’m just saying” is used to wonderful effect in the play Rabbit Hole which tells the story of ordinary people in the midst of life changes and tragedies. I saw an excellent production back in the fall and obviously the clause and its useage in the play have lingered. I’ve enjoyed reading about this clause. Thanks to everyone!

brian.wren.ctr says

May 14, 2009, 4:16pm

I have always taken this to assure that the statement that precedes it is not intended to begin a discussion for the purposes of trying to decide whether it is true, etc., but is intended just to sort of post your opinion.

“That shirt doesn’t really go with those pants… I’m just sayin’…” (In my mind’s eye, this statement is delivered with shrugged shoulders and hands turned palms toward the recipient, fingers up, a posture of “I’m not looking for a fight.”)

Without the latter statment, this would be an invitation to discuss it. But with the latter, it is more a piece of information for the recipient to do with as he wills–take it or leave it.

Or, if Sue says to Bob, “My boyfriend thinks I talk too much.” Then he says, “You do talk a lot… I’m just saying…”

This provides Sue with input that she talks a lot (in a neutral way–neither good nor bad). But Bob is NOT saying, “…and it bothers me, too.” He isn’t taking up the boyfriend’s fight as a proxy, nor is he opening a battle front of his own–he doesn’t really care how much Sue talks. But he cares for Sue, so he provides her with his opinion, though making it clear that she can do with the info whatever she likes.

There are other appendages that can be used to modify statements in a way that is amusing, ways that make speech more fun to engage in, such as “so to speak…”


jonogolding says

June 30, 2009, 11:07am

I agree with Ben C and I find Mike W’s interpretation to be bizarre. Are you a native English speaker, Mike? Your inability to pick up on the nuances of this construction indicates otherwise, as does your seeming inability to hear the implied inflection in your head. You must have a difficult time getting jokes. I’m just saying…


precisn says

September 2, 2009, 2:23am

I first saw this phrase this summer, used by a friend on Facebook. Basically she uses it in place of “for what it’s worth.” Usually it follows something said tongue-in-check with a bit of a smirky grin implied.


bjhagerman says

September 2, 2009, 5:30pm

The way I see it, there are two goals to ending your statement with, “I’m just saying.” As stated above, it implies something, leading the listener to think a certain way. At the same time, it absolves the speaker of responsibility for whatever conclusion the listener may come to as a result.
Used in that way, it means: “I don’t mean anything by it, but you’re certainly welcome, and encouraged, to draw your own conclusions.”
Of course, none of this actually answers the posed question of the phrase’s origins.


lansingeverett says

September 12, 2009, 4:19pm

Interesting. This came up twice in e-mails recently (here on the East Coast) and I wasn’t sure how to interpret it.

In one case, I sent a group e-mail reminding everyone about a deadline from the previous day (I’m the project manager). In a group of 8, only 3 of us had met the deadline. In my reminder, I didn’t mention anybody by name, not even myself — I asked everyone who hadn’t made the deadline to please get their stuff in ASAP. I got kind of a hissy note from one of those who did make the deadline, saying: “It hurts my feelings to be lumped in with all these slackers who can’t get their work done on time. Just sayin’.” I’m still not sure what to make of it.


piantanida31 says

September 30, 2009, 7:26pm

Comically, I just asked my co-worker, who used the phrase “I’m just saying” postpositively, if she were quoting a movie. I hear this phrase all the time now. Hailing from New Jersey, I realize it may be common back east, but in Idaho, where I now reside, it has suddenly crept into common usage.


janishta.magis says

October 15, 2009, 1:52pm

I actually found this blog while googling the exact definition of the term “just saying,” but here’s my two cents. I generally use it as a sort of disclaimer, a verbal ‘throwing up the hands in innocence’ if you will. I use it after a joke or tease directed at a friend. On one hand it’s a disclaimer, but it’s also a way to let them know it *was* a joke, and not an actual mean-spirited comment.


tobomori08 says

October 22, 2009, 5:11pm

Along with many others, I found this page while googling the origin of the phrase.

I had assumed it was another sitcom catchphrase, and was surprised to see the original question asked 3 years ago. Perhaps it’s built slowly, or I keep my head in the sand (no television, avoid magazines, etc.).

Unfortunately it’s one of those expressions that causes me to sigh and roll my eyes. It’s a useless piece of meaningless speech, an attempt at being humorous without actually including humor. When I think of the possibilities we have with our individualism, our freedom of speech and relatively decent education, I’m left wondering why people continually strive to sound like everyone else, repeat catchphrases and drag in references when they want to seem funny.

The funniest people I know aren’t the ones who quote and pass on funny things they’ve heard and seen elsewhere. The funny people are intellectual, original and imaginative. Following your words with “…just sayin” is the exact opposite.


faerywitch says

October 27, 2009, 5:49am

My son uses “Im just saying” as a way to wind me up in a disagreement and I thought this was just an argumentative child thing until a new woman started at work who also uses it to provoke an arguement…the thing is everytime she says it I just see a stroppy teenager and feel the urge to send her to her room :)


gfabe says

November 17, 2009, 10:44am

Over 50 years ago, Col. John R. Stingo, The Honest Rainmaker, told the story of “the White Robin Authenticity setup.” Rumors of the unique bird’s appearance in South Jersey began a betting frenzy among the New York gambling crowd. Finally, after observers from both sides made the trip and a photo was taken in evidence, all bets were paid off. Turns out, though, the original rumor-monger’s brother had done “a little Rembrandting on the good horse Ahmadoun” a decade before. Col. Stingo explains:

“Made this Ahmaudon look like a certain $1500 Claimer entered in a race that same afternoon. The conspirators got the Price and they reaped the harvest. Without customary Easel or Pastel, somebody could have done as neat a Job on White Robin.
I’m only Saying, that’s all.”

[From Stingo’s column, Yea Verily, March 3, 1945 in the Enquirer, according to A.J.
Liebling in The Jollity Building, The Library of America edition, p. 479.]


loosepayyan says

November 23, 2009, 11:40pm

so many comments… I’m just saying…


lewslair says

December 14, 2009, 7:51pm

I’ve always considered the postpositive “I’m just saying” to be analogous to speaking loudly to non-English speakers to make them understand. To me, the expression translates to “I see I haven’t convinced you yet, so I’ll just restate my conclusion without anything further to support it. There–now don’t you agree???”


soccerfoot14 says

December 19, 2009, 12:11am

This is like my favorite saying… “I’m not saying, I’m just saying” LOL we always say it at work… I work at a big box retail store and we must say this like a million times during our weekly manager meeting. I love it, we have a blast! It’s just fun to say!


ps60s says

December 20, 2009, 5:01am

That phrase — which I like, too, in moderation — sounds as if it comes from Jewish comedians of the 1930s and 1940s, possibly from Yiddish theater and drama of the era, or possibly the stereotype of the Jewish mama, the zenta, who is usually a nagger: nags her husband, her children, her sister in Brooklyn. For example:

“I’m not saying marry a rich boy, Rachel, but it’s just as easy to fall in love with someone rich as it is with someone poor. I’m just saying .. ”

The rich, earthy, usually wise resonances of colloquial Jewish American speech seem to come across in this phrase. It’s subtler and often more persuasive than saying, “Now listen, I’m not ordering you, but .. ” or “I’m not telling you what to do, but .. ”

Maybe the famous “Molly Goldberg” said it on her radio program or “Mrs.Nussbaum”, or Hermoine Gingold, or someone like that. That’s my guess.


porsche says

December 20, 2009, 9:17pm

Roger, maybe it was just a typo, but I think you mean yenta, not zenta.


ps60s says

December 20, 2009, 9:54pm

Thank you, yes. It was both a typo and an absent-minded error. Thanks for correcting me.


ronbo417 says

January 15, 2010, 2:02pm

Thanks for the info.
Can you recall who said…”good night Mrs. ????? wherever you are”
Was in Jimmy Durante or Red Skelton??


douglas.bryant says

January 15, 2010, 4:11pm

“Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are” was Jimmy Durante’s radio sign-off.


OPisafaggot says

February 19, 2010, 12:14pm

OP is a faggot!! I’m just sayin’..


justme says

March 24, 2010, 12:27pm

It means,”take it as you wish and I don´t want to discuss about it.”
That´s my understanging, I´m just saying.

justme says

March 24, 2010, 12:28pm


That´s my understanding, I´m just saying.

cjs7767 says

April 25, 2010, 7:55pm

I’ve noticed “Just sayin.” getting used more often at the end of posts on message boards. Think some people like to use it as ‘their’ trademark/signature line. Also think some people use it to soften whatever has just been said; reminds me of “just kidding” when both parties know the person was serious.

I find it grating and not at all cute, but that is the case with most phrases that get grossly overused in speech and/or on line. There are a few things I’d like to see retired; if just LOL and OMG would go away, that would be great.

Just sayin.


paravinda says

April 26, 2010, 1:45pm

Perhaps in 2006 when this was posted, the saying was “I’m just saying.” By now it has become “just sayin” and appears on national TV, in ads, and even on CNN as Jon Stewart famously pointed out:
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-august-18… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/19/jon-st…

Used effectively, it allows one to say something bold or raise an uncomfortable question while assuring the listener that one does not mean to offend or pick a fight. In a more subtle usage, one tags this phrase to the end of a sentence in order to alert the listener that one has in fact said something controversial (“fighting words”), which might not have been evident from the statement alone. For example: “If we repair the levy this area will be able to withstand a hurricane. Just sayin.”

Overused, it is yet another way to refrain from stating your view with conviction, just like the annoying habit of intoning statements as questions and demanding reassurance for every word and phrase before expressing a thought.


line.of.trees says

April 28, 2010, 9:58pm


Ending sentences with lots of words to cushion your statement is definitely a big thing in Japanese, especially among girls, who were the majority of my conversation partners when I lived there. Sometimes half the words in someone’s conversation will be those sorts of cushion or apology words (especially “nandakedo” used without a particular meaning, such as in “moshimoshi, Emirii dakedo, ano..”, where you’re basically apologising for being yourself). Equivalents of “um” (“anou”, especially “saa” where I was) also take up a lot of Japanese speech. It helped me a lot because it gave me time to understand the useful information in between, but it also makes people seem overly apologetic to my ears. I’m not sure where “toki ni” fits in though – it’s usually used in the middle of a sentence, no?
I guess “Just sayin'” is kind of apologetic as well, but I always thought of it as making yourself sound more innocent, especially if it follows some kind of biting comment or teasing remark.

paravinda says

April 29, 2010, 11:46am

Yes, Emily, what you said:
“I always thought of it as making yourself sound more innocent, especially if it follows some kind of biting comment or teasing remark.”

But there is also the “protest too much” inflection with which one can say “just sayin” You (seem to) step back from what you said only to draw the other person closer to its truth.

“What if we didn’t have ice cream for desert? Just sayin.”
“What if we don’t go 75 miles an hour? Just sayin.”


tonalities says

April 29, 2010, 11:16pm

IMHO it’s just a trend, a fad running itself around contemporary American speech. It reminds me a little of the overuse of the word “awesome” to describe just about anything positive. It also reminds me of the little bit Billy Crystal used to do imitating Ricardo Montelban on SNL with his line, “You Look Marvelous”. That went around and everybody was saying that for a few months 20 years ago and then it died out. People pick up on stuff like that and it becomes the thing to say for a while. I’m just sayin’… (It IS fun to say!)

billfromburtt says

May 28, 2010, 10:52am

This saying is widely used in the state of Michigan and seems to be
getting more popular with the rest of the world! The saying is the
equivalent of the old New York saying- “forget about it!” It was
first originally invented and used by the underground comic
sensation BILLY KLEIN of BURT, MICHIGAN, USA. He loves others to
use it in their everyday conversations, but definitely wants
everyone to know it was him that started saying it and using it
in his shows!!

kgbmang says

May 28, 2010, 4:16pm

funny use of it here…



n1px says

June 13, 2010, 5:45pm

I am from Northern Maine (Aroostook County) and that is a favorite statement here. I am think here it has four meanings. 1. The statement is in my opinion. 2. My opinion is all that matters . 3. Pointing things out that are mostly obvious to another person. 4. “getting the last/final word in” comes to mind as well.

lollielott says

June 16, 2010, 2:05pm

I know this isn’t a very constructive comment, and doesn’t add a lot to this discussion, but I HATE the expression: “Just sayin’.” Why did everyone start to use it, all of a sudden? Was it something in the collective linguistic unconscious???


alumfsu says

July 13, 2010, 7:45am

I needed to know what some people were talking about when they used this phrase (as each had a different definition of what the phrase means to them), so I looked it up in the urban dictionary.

Urban Dictionary: just saying
Just saying: a phrase used to indicate that we refuse to defend a claim we’ve made—in other words, that we refuse to offer reasons that what we’ve said is true.

paravinda says

July 13, 2010, 9:25am

Jan, I think “refuse” is to strong. One declines to elaborate or defend because
1) one wishes to avoid picking a fight. Sometimes the phrase “just saying,” by suggesting that one is avoiding a fight, introduces a sense of contentiousness which was not there before
2) one is not vehement about the statement. One just wants the other to consider. Underlying this is the suggestion that the other persons resistance itself indicates that it may have some truth to it.

– Could he just be trying to get your attention?
– No!
– Just saying.

joleebobertz says

July 14, 2010, 12:45pm

Read the Urban Dictionary online, I’m just saying.


alumfsu says

July 14, 2010, 4:52pm

Thank you Jo! :)

shaunc says

July 14, 2010, 6:10pm

I think that “I’m just saying” is a passive-aggressive phrase. You have stated your opinion and you feel unsure or defensive about it. It comes across as a desperate plea to avoid giving offence. “With all due respect” was mentioned – when some prefaces a comment “with all due respect”, you are about to be insulted, criticised or belittled!


alumfsu says

July 14, 2010, 8:04pm

Again, I was just gave the Urban Dictionary definition. Any other definition or opinion is nothing more than someone’s personal opinion. You’ll have to take it up with the Urban Dictionary as they are the definition experts, not me.


alumfsu says

July 14, 2010, 8:09pm

strike the “was” LOL :)

douglas.bryant says

July 14, 2010, 8:18pm

The Urban Dictionary website says:

“All the definitions on Urban Dictionary were written by people just like you.”

Which is to say: not by “definition experts.”

alumfsu says

July 15, 2010, 5:21am

Douglass, I’m not here to argue. I stated a simple fact. The definitions in UD are aprroved by a majority, just like any other acceptable law or definition is. Let it go.

paravinda says

July 15, 2010, 11:06am

Jan, I think “I am not here to argue” is also an implied meaning of “just saying.”

Also wanted to share an apt usage of the phrase that I spotted in a comment to the article on Gravity in the New York Times:



alumfsu says

July 15, 2010, 11:41am

And Aravinda, you have every right to feel that way. It has nothing to do with the original topic, but you still have the right say it. Let it go, you will feel much better.

porsche says

July 15, 2010, 4:36pm

Jan, are you suggesting that the Urban Dictionary is an irrefutable source of English usage? I think what several people are trying to point out to you is that the Urban Dictionary (by their own admission) is just a big open blog where anybody can post whatever they want.


alumfsu says

July 15, 2010, 6:42pm

porsche, if you have read and understand my original post you would know the answer to this. To fill you in, I simply supplied a viable definition to “just saying”, the best and most correct one in fact, and apparently there are some who were reading more into it than the simple answer. Some are picking at things that have nothing to do with the original post and cannot be reeled back in. Again, I am NOT “suggesting anything or giving any personal opinions. I simply offered a great reference to help. I am not here to debate anyone. Many are just jumping in without understanding, and picking apart the last post & specific words; and asking questions that are off the topic. They have not even seen the big picture, just one post or reply. That is all.


douglas.bryant says

July 16, 2010, 9:12am

As one who is “not here to argue,” Jan, you argue quite a lot. Your “viable definition” to “just saying” is simply a crib from a mob-based website, where “best and most correct” is defined by random opinion, not knowledge. Trust me, Porsche has read and understood your original post:

“I needed to know what some people were talking about when they used this phrase (as each had a different definition of what the phrase means to them), so I looked it up in the urban dictionary.

Urban Dictionary: just saying?Just saying: a phrase used to indicate that we refuse to defend a claim we’ve made—in other words, that we refuse to offer reasons that what we’ve said is true.”

Here are some current definitions for “just saying,” taken from today’s Urban Dictionary:

“A phrase that is used when someone is offended by something you said. This phrase then removes all the offensiveness of the previous statement, making it all good.”

“Response when your motive for saying something is questioned and you a) had no motive or b) do not want to reveal your motive.”

“Response when one has been proven wrong but is not humble enough to admit being incorrect or cannot settle with the other person’s statement.”

Rather a wide field of opinion. Hardly definitive.

This here site tends to be argumentative. People hereabouts “offer reasons that what we’ve said is true.” Have you an opinion of your own?—I’m just saying.

alumfsu says

July 16, 2010, 12:33pm

Ha Ha Ha, That is all, Douglas, That is all. Have a great day!

douglas.bryant says

July 17, 2010, 8:35am

Same to you, Jan.


06w125 says

July 17, 2010, 9:12pm

For fuck sake!
I’m just saying

lloydedwards says

July 20, 2010, 11:11am

Looking back at the original question about “I’m just saying”, it was about the origin, not the meanings. Douglas seems to have a handle on the possible meanings, but not on the origin. Several people have explained what they and their friends mean, but not the origin. I envision some Brooklyn punk (or perhaps it was Ben in New England) making an offensive statement and pissing off some tough guy, who says, “Oh yea? I ought to kick your ass.” To which the punk (or Ben) says “I’m just say’n”, as he backs off while holding up both hands. It diffuses the situation and he learns to use it at the end of any insult he makes. It may have evolved from the statement, “I’m just asking.” That also comes from some punk who ask girls if they will go to bed with them and when they get insulted, he tries to laugh it off with, “I’m just asking.”
I don’t know the origin either, I’m just say’n.

billfromburtt says

July 21, 2010, 1:20pm

i already went over who started it!! It was in my earlier post! the underground comic BILLY KLEIN first started this saying!!



vaolevslogomachy says

August 10, 2010, 7:01pm

I hope this clears it up.

Did anyone even read what was asked for in the original question? You all are idiots, Im just sayin, ya know?

nontechietalk says

August 20, 2010, 5:08pm

I use it synonymously with “I’m just throwing it out there.” In other words, after saying something that might be considered offensive or controversial, yet also reasonable/logical/understandable, tacking on “I’m just sayin’/I’m just throwing it out there” distances the statement from me personally, so that the topic itself can more easily be discussed for whatever merit there may be in the suggestion.

This intends to a) allow someone to contend the argument without fear of hurting my feelings, since I’ve already offered the distance; and b) allows me to have even made the statement without fear of reprisal because, hey, it’s not how I might actually see it, it’s just an idea for your consideration.

Reminds me of Chris Rock summarizing OJ’s position with “now, I’m not saying he did it…BUT I UNDERSTAND.”

As an example, the continuing tensions between N. Korea and S. Korea prompts me to compare N. Korean Twitter huffing and puffing to that of a schoolyard bully, and you didn’t get a schoolyard bully to pipe down by continuing to hand over your lunch money….I’m just sayin’.

nontechietalk says

August 20, 2010, 5:11pm

And yes, I know the OP was looking for the origin.

The earliest reference I saw among the responses was to an Eddie Murphy standup routine, which goes back to the early 80s.

My comment was just adding some colour to the use discussion since I hadn’t seen anyone mention “I’m just throwing it out there”, which is also a not-uncommon phrase.

emailjunk2007 says

September 7, 2010, 11:43pm

Beats the hell out of awesome…I am so sick of hearing that word! Just sayin’


smovadia says

September 16, 2010, 2:31pm

In my area people who use this expression don’t even bother to write or say “I’m just saying”. It is always “jus sayin”. It drives me INSANE!


frankrotiroti says

October 1, 2010, 12:33pm

I’m just saying how I feel, man/ I ain’t one of the Cosby’s I ain’t go to Hill, man


stallionstreet says

October 16, 2010, 11:47pm

”Just saying” ~ a blurb at the end of a stement used by youth today to protect themselves. The once ever popular ”Just joking” was also used at the end of a sentence….when my sons would say something that they thought their father or I would not approve of they would always follow up with a ”just joking”….now that they are older they are using ”Just saying”…in a few years it will be something else…


chrisbolton20 says

October 17, 2010, 5:43pm

Caroline – I agree. “Just saying” seems to be the new “no offence”, as in “no offence but (insert insult here)”.

mklachko says

November 3, 2010, 5:37pm

Looks to me like “I am just saying” is just a way to deliver an insult, spread a rumor, seed a doubt, hurt and pretend to not mean it. I am just saying.

mcshahrazad says

November 25, 2010, 11:30am

I feel as though I’ve heard this in films or TV shows from the 50s… but with an added “that’s all” -“I’m just saying, that’s all!” – in instances where advice or information was being given by someone and a negative reaction was anticipated or sometimes seen by the listener, so then the speaker quickly said that phrase as if to halt the reaction and sort of smooth it over. I distinctly recall it being used on Seinfeld and The Simpsons as well.

Personally, I dislike it’s current usage or over-usage and see it as an insinuation. Whether that be insinuating something is true or false, insinuating that the person can’t be held accountable for what was just said, or suggesting that the reader/listener draw their own conclusions based on the info, it’s all insinuation to me. Insinuations by nature, are indirect statements – to me, a sign of one who may prefer to avoid confrontation/responsibility and not offend anyone. Whether you find this to be a positive or negative trait, is completely subjective, and for me, it’s a case-by-case basis. I’m not big on generalizations and I think the intentions behind speech sometimes don’t match what is being said.

There are those who’ll throw in that kind of thing simply because they picked it up in their vocab. There are others who’s humor is such that “just sayin'” fits in perfectly as a post-punchline to whatever they were attempting to make a joke of. That kind of usage of the phrase makes me think of the old saying “there’s truth in jest.” In finding humor in truth, you risk offending anyone living with that truth.

In reading comments here, it bothers me to think that some feel saying “just sayin” gives the message that “I don’t want to discuss this” or “I’m not trying to fight.” It’s almost like using a silencer (“just sayin”) at the end of a loaded gun (what was said before “just sayin”). If someone is broaches a topic with another, whether light-hearted or serious, that other person shouldn’t feel compelled to not be able to discuss their opinion or thoughts as well. Maybe the fact that a little statement like “just sayin” can be as powerful as to 1) provoke this much interest 2) be believed by some to disable further comment on the subject by the listener/reader 3) be used as frequently as it is 3) understood to have both ill-intended and well-intended meanings; says something about the state of “Freedom of Speech” and maybe even the mentality of a large population in this country. As I said, I see “just sayin” no matter the intent, as a type of insinuation or implication, a way of saying something indirectly. Why would so many feel the need to be this indirect if in fact we felt comfortable, confident and secure with the speech we have the freedom to use, as well as with ourselves and others whom we choose to have conversations with? Is it our fears, whatever they may be, that hold us back from total direct expression of what’s REALLY on our minds? THAT is what I’m saying, and it’s totally up for discussion! =)

ccpcmusic says

November 30, 2010, 5:18pm


funny buy good definitions…


pdxsoapopera says

December 22, 2010, 3:23am

I’m from Oregon and recently noticed that phrase being used a lot, especially on facebook. Not sure where it originated or when, but it seems to be a fad phrase that has become popular by phony types who think it’s cool and hip to say it and that they are cool and hip by using it, but really the opposite is probably true…they are followers with no originality. I may sound a bit harsh and cynical, but just making my point. I hate the over-usage of it and place it among other dreaded fad phrases such as “you go girl.”

To clarify, people will say some random statement that could stand alone as said and then they’ll add “I’m just saying” or “Just saying” after the statement. The statements can range anywhere from “Justin Bieber needs a hair stylist. Just Saying,” to “Obama and FCC sell out on net neutrality. Just saying.”


alumfsu says

December 23, 2010, 3:48pm

Bingo! Those who use this phrase have little capability of independent thought.


elder_pliny says

January 4, 2011, 8:27pm

It’s part of my ever-growing email…composed entirely of internet-non-speak.

So far I’ve got:

“How’s that working out for you? Al Gore invented it. I’m just saying.”


rory.mcnaughton says

January 5, 2011, 6:37pm

I see it first used in a family guy episode, 1999. I don’t see earlier usages (after a quick poke around google results from 1990-2000.



rory.mcnaughton says

January 5, 2011, 6:38pm

(Flashback to Peter in Willy Wonka’s factory)
Wonka: I’ll ask you one more time, are you sure you didn’t eat anything in my factory?
Peter: (appears as a giant blueberry) No.
Wonka: I’m just asking.
Peter: Are you calling me a liar?
Wonka: No, I’m just saying –
Peter: Hey, shut up Wonka! [edit]


321 says

January 14, 2011, 6:04pm

Culling from posts by Rick, “seems to be a fad phrase”; Jan, “little capability of independent thought”; and Pliny “internet-non-speak” I think sums it up.
The post-positive phrase “Just saying” is about as intelligent, insightful, and meaningful as a submarine in the Sahara. I just ignore it and hope it is a short-lived fad.


stphn.brwn says

January 22, 2011, 3:34pm

“Just saying”..I see it as a disclaimer of sorts..A way to not really own what your point is..Non commital..Probably most often used when giving an opinion or taking a guess at something..Also a point of emphasis..

southerngifts4u says

February 17, 2011, 12:56pm

I hoped someone would know the origin of this phrase. I’m just sayin.


cdeluca says

February 18, 2011, 12:05am

I picked up this phrase from the character Paul Reiser played in Mad About You. He said it all the time.

Jason says

March 25, 2011, 9:06am

Basically “I’m just saying” or the more colloquial, I’m just sayin’, is a humorous way of pointing out a flaw in logic, often delivered as a quip or a jab. The intended purpose can be to stop someone from continuing an already illogical argument or statement, or as a way of rebutting the statement once it is completed. When properly delivered, it is a devastatingly witty means of ending an argument that also makes the intended mark rethink their train of thought and provides fodder for any bystanders.

BobR says

March 28, 2011, 10:15pm

If you say something that may be hurtful to someone, or it just may not be well received, you might end with the expression just sayin’ which might be short for “just sayin’ something that needed to be said.”

Cosmac says

April 1, 2011, 5:01am

Wherever it originated, I wish it would go back there, and take along “What Everrr” and the rest of the nails on blackboard, jersey shore, punctuations! I’m NOT just sayinn!

vwmoll says

April 3, 2011, 6:55am

I’ve heard the phrase used postpositvely in a humorous context, teasingly and usually with friends, as WB and others have pointed out. When used in this context it can be amusing, but if overused or mean-spirited it just becomes annoying.


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