Sometimes "like" really is meaningless

In response to Tlogmer's point: its true that there are many, emerging uses of 'like' that are not meaningless, such as "inspecifity" (Tlogmer probably meant "in-specificity"), hyperbole, and quotation. The Oxford English Dictionary documents all these and more; there 6 different entries for "like", and the entry dealing with Tlogmer's point contains an astounding total of 58 different meanings and sub-meanings! In spite of all these possible meanings, the OED finds it impossible to deny that sometimes, "like" is used "Also, colloq. (orig. U.S.), as a meaningless interjection or expletive.". Nor is this a recent phenomenon. Examples go back as far as "1840-41 DE QUINCEY Style II. Wks. 1862 X. 224 ‘Why like, it's gaily nigh like to four mile like’" and include "1973 Black Panther 17 Nov. 9/4 What will be the contradictions that produce further change? Like, it seems to me that it would be virtually impossible to avoid some contradictions."


"like, a., adv. (conj.), and n.2 ", Oxford English Dictionary. Ed. J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989. OED Online. Oxford University Press. 19 Oct. 2002. <>