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Don’t harsh my mellows

May 27, 2013

Switching on the radio the other evening, I heard a man with a Californian accent say: “We don’t want to harsh anybody’s mellows…”

What?” the presenter (Simon Mayo) asked. “Don’t want to what?”

The Californian apologised for using the expression, which he admitted was a bit silly, and explained that to harsh someone’s mellows means to quash their contentment or optimism: to rain on their parade. The expression sounded glaringly odd to me – harsh used as a verb, and mellows as a plural noun? That can’t be right. And yet, thinking it over, I’ve gradually, grudgingly decided that it is a pretty good phrase. It’s certainly expressive. And yesterday, when I was burbling on to my wife and she said something crushingly negative in response, without thinking I said, “Hey, don’t harsh my mellows.” And it felt good. 

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One Comment
  1. Merilee permalink

    I love this expression: it’s so tongue-in-cheek…but I believe I’ve heard it with mellow in the singular.

    By the way, what is a Californian accent? It seems to me that with the exception of Valley Girls, Californians speak the most unaccented of American Englishes (is this a word?)

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