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Hi, remember me, Erik Johansen from a couple of years ago? I thought I'd pop my head round the door so to speak.
Anyway, been mulling over what an odd language English can be. An example is the word "sunshine", which you would think one would use as an endearment to a loved one but which- in the UK anyway- is nearly always used as a prelude to a threat: "Watch it, sunshine, or I'll sort you out!" "Look here, sunshine, you wanting a smack in the mouth?"
How the hell did that come about?
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Welcome back, Erik.

Correct me, my American compatriots, if I am wrong (and...believe me, they love to correct me!), but I've mostly seen it used in the positive sense, such as in the movie "Little Miss Sunshine."
 
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Not in the UK, Kalleh! Wink

Although occasionally used positively, usually it's used as part of a threat, as Erik says. A similar usage is "Sunny (or Sonny) Jim". I've no idea why. Slang is notoriously difficult to find origins for, partly because it's rarely written down until it's become fairly common usage.

According to Wikipedia "By the 1920s, "Sunny Jim" had become a popular sobriquet for someone who is being grumpy." I suppose that might have some connection.

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Closest I've ever heard is "Stick it where the sun don't shine."


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I suspect that it's precisely because it sounds as if it ough to be a term of endearment that it's used this way. (And it is almost universally negative in UK use - calling someone Little Miss Sunshine would be tantamount to saying "you really are a horrible grumpy little girl)

It strikes me as being in the same mould as "wicked" for "very good".
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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quote:
Closest I've ever heard is "Stick it where the sun don't shine."
Yes, I've heard that, too. But in terms of calling someone "sunshine," I think it's generally used in the positive sense here. I'd like to hear from more Americans, though.
 
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Yes, it does make sense that it is being used to infer that someone is actually a miserable git! Still, it still sounds rather odd to me. If you were trying to threaten someone into submission I can think of better words to use than sunshine!
 
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Tonight I heard Stevie Wonder singing "You are the Sunshine of my Life" and I thought of this thread. Maybe that's why I could never think of "sunshine" as a bad word.
 
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