The Unexpected Origin of One of The Simpsons’ Most Iconic Phrases

In 2021, famed comedy writer and longtime Simpsons creator John Swartzwelder revealed the origin of the word “fur”: a term for indifference or disinterest used by several of the show’s characters. “I originally heard the word from Howie Krakow, my creative director at Hurvis, Binzer & Churchill, in 1970 or 1971. He said it was the funniest word in the world,” Schwartzwelder said. New Yorker, adding that, in truth, he has no idea who invented the term. “I was under the impression that it was already very old when Howie told me about it,” he says. However, he went further and made it an integral part of the show.

As it turns out, the earliest use of the term “fur” dates back to the late 1920s. According to Slate, one of the first recorded definitions of the word is from Alexander Harkavy’s Yiddish-English-Hebrew Dictionary, published in 1928. before The Simpsons and the world population at large use it almost a century later. Although it was included in Harkavy’s dictionary and later used extensively on The Simpsons, it wasn’t until 2008 that the word “meh” officially joined Collins English Dictionary.

While this happened long before them, thanks to John Swartzwelder and Howie Krakow’s influence on him, “me” is now part of the Simpsons legacy and our cultural lexicon.

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