To Shreds, You Say? – Meaning, Origin and Usage

If you’d like to employ hyperbole or irony as you reply to someone who says they had a bad day, or something went very wrong for them, you could say “To Shreds, You Say?” — but typically only if you know that the person you are talking to understands the context.

Did someone give you this kind of reply?

You might be wondering what “To Shreds, You Say?” means, and where it came from.

Meaning

“To Shreds, You Say?”, which comes from the popular TV show Futurama, means that something is terrible or very depressing. Owing to the deadpan delivery in the original show, the phrase is often used ironically.

Example Usage

As you’re trying to figure out how a phrase is generally used, taking a look at some examples can really help. In the original context, the speaker, talking on the phone, says, “Oh how awful. Did he at least die painlessly?” — and while the reply remains unheard, he says “To shreds you say, tsk tsk tsk” immediately after.

“To Shreds, You Say?” is usually used somewhat ironically, and examples could include:

  • You could reply, “To Shreds, You Say?” after a teammate in a video game tells you that they’ve got terrible internet.
  • After learning that a relative with chronic hypochondria has been whining about their terrible back pain and all the other ways in which they think they will soon die again, you could include the phrase “To Shreds, You Say?” when you are gossiping about this with someone else.
  • You could also use “To Shreds, You Say?” after hearing that your favorite Discord server is about to close.

Origin

The phrase “To Shreds, You Say?” originated on the popular TV show Futurama, namely in episode 3 of season 1, which aired in 1999. In this episode, the character Professor Farnsworth can be heard talking about someone who died.

“Oh how awful,” he says, before asking “Did he at least die painlessly?”. Of course, viewers aren’t able to hear what the person on the other side of the phone conversation says, but the now infamous “To Shreds, You Say?” is Professor Farnsworth’s next reply.

He then asks how the person’s wife is holding up, and after hearing the reply, Professor Farnsworth can again be heard using the phrase — this time in an especially somber tone.

This scene is widely considered to be one of the most hilarious moments ever to have occurred on Futurama, which has a large following. However, the phrase “To Shreds, You Say?” does not appear to have become very popular on the internet until years later. The first Urban Dictionary entry on the topic was written in 2009, a full decade after the episode first aired.

People started using “To Shreds, You Say?” on social media, including Reddit, at around the same time. The phrase can be seen in replies, but just as often, an image of the scene is posted with the caption “To Shreds, You Say?”. Occasionally, the images show a little girl talking on the phone while maintaining the same caption.

“To Shreds, You Say?” is also the title of a song released by Iron Chick in 2017.

Phrases Similar to To Shreds, You Say?

Instead of “To Shreds, You Say?”, you could also use:

  • I.P.
  • Understandable, have a great day.

All of these can convey a similar feeling; you can use these phrases to empathize or commiserate with someone, but also to be ironic if you prefer.

What Is the Correct Saying?

“To Shreds, You Say?” is the correct saying. Sometimes, a period is used instead of a question mark.

Acceptable Ways to Say To Shreds, You Say?

You can use “To Shreds, You Say?” in a conversation where someone mentions that something bad happened to them or someone else. The phrase can be used to convey understanding and empathy, but also to poke fun at the person’s misery.

“To Shreds, You Say?” is mostly used on the internet, and you’ll get your message across more strongly if you also include an image of Professor Farnsworth.

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