9 words and phrases made popular by your favorite TV shows

2 min read

Yabba-dabba-doo! For as long as there’s been television, there’s been catchphrases that have made their way into the vernacular. Here are nine of the most famous words and phrases from our screens to yours.


Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory” used this quip throughout the series’ 12-season run to cap off any joke or prank he got up to. It comes from the word zing, but was given some added pizzazz with a few extra letters and is very much the most famous catchphrase from the show.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

Jan Brady, the middle sister on “The Brady Bunch,” had the last laugh after all. While this catchphrase was shorthand for how she was always in the shadow of her older sister’s bright spotlight, it’s remained one of the most memorable parts of the show.

It’s gonna be legen … wait for it … dary

Neil Patrick Harris’ womanizing city slicker Barney was always up for creating a good time on “How I Met Your Mother.” This running gag ran throughout the series as NPH kept on coming up with even more creative ways to top his own saying. Equally memorable? “Suit up!”

How you doin’?

“Friends” was full of catchphrases and memorable moments, but Matt Leblanc’s lovable flirt Joey Tribbiani’s New Yawk, machismo-loaded pick-up line is possibly the best known of them all. Despite how famous the saying is, over the course of the show’s 263 episodes, Joey only uttered it about 20 times! Maybe even more famous? “We were on a break!”

What you talkin’ ‘bout Willis?

This verbal eyebrow raise comes from Gary Coleman’s precocious orphan Arnold Drummond on “Diff’rent Strokes.” The Willis in question, for those who forgot, was his older brother, whom Arnold often questioned or challenged.

How rude!

From DJ’s “Oh my-lanta” and Michelle’s “You got it, dude!” to Uncle Jesse’s “Have mercy” and “Watch the hair,” "Full House" was packed with catchphrases. We’re giving big ups to middle sister Stephanie’s sassy declarations of universal rudeness.

Did I do that?

First, the facts: Steve Urkel was never meant to be a regular character on “Family Matters.” But Jaleel White was so on point as the nerd next door, he became a staple on the sitcom. And so did his catchphrase, often uttered after yet another disastrous mishap.

Yada, yada, yada

“Seinfeld” episodes can often be drilled down to a single word or phrase – Puffy shirts! Parking lots! – and "Yada, yada, yada" is no exception. It’s basically a verbal ellipsis … designed to gloss over something you don’t want to get into,  to the chagrin of George Costanza.


Homer Simpson’s exclamation of frustration has gone down in the history books as one of television’s greatest expressions. Say it, and anyone will get that you’re commiserating with Springfield’s most lovely dopy resident.

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