Yada Yada Yada
Or: Not Just Etc., Etc., Etc.
This expression burst forth into a more common consciousness and usage via Seinfeld, an NBC sitcom hailed by many to be the best in over a decade.
But that's really neither here nor there.
According to the Script
The phrase was used by Elaine Benes (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) in the show's 8th Season, episode 153, air date April 24, 1997. She first used it to gloss over the details of a date:
'...we went back to my place, yada yada yada, I never heard from him again.'
It is spoken merely as a sort of verbalized ellipsis, a non-specific description of events deemed insignificant by the teller. Though in this case the inference is clearly a sexual one, the same phrase is applied more widely later in the episode, to non-sexual scenarios.
But Elaine had it right.
In the Beginning, there was the Word
The word Yada appears in the Bible nearly a thousand times in Hebrew, and close to fifty in Aramaic. It is variously interpreted--typical--but generally falls under the category of 'to know intimately.'
Yes, you can know someone intimately without its meaning sex, and the Bible does use it that way as well. But check out Genesis 4:1:
- First in Hebrew (phonetically): veha adam yada et khava ishto vatahar vateled et-kayin vatomer kaniti ish et adonai
- And to Make Sense of That: And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived and bore Cain, and said: 'I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.
Use it Wisely
I cannot verify that the Seinfeld writers knew what they were doing, or did this intentionally, but one of the episode's subplots is the conversion of Jerry dentist to Judaism--possibly just for the jokes. So the religious element is otherwise present in the episode.
That of course could just be a happy coinicidence.
At any rate, before you go yada yada yadaing your way through a dialogue, remeber: you could be letting on more than you thought. Elaine told them everything.