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It’s a gas!

It’s great!


It’s a gas! = das ist echt geil!, das ist eine Gaudi! —— We had a gas = Wir haben Heidenspaß gehabt



“It was A REAL GAS working with this group of guys. When you’re working with a good filmmaker, it makes it easier because, no matter how difficult a scene is, for some reason it works...”

Matt Dillon - On working with director Nimrod Antal (MovieWeb Interview)

Did you

It’s a (real) gas
informal phrase

- something is a thoroughly entertaining, enjoyable, or amusing time

- used for saying that someone​/​something makes you laugh a lot

The Free Dictionary / Macmillan Dictionary


In the 19th century, British scientist Humphrey Davy noticed that nitrous oxide caused a state of euphoria in people, sometimes including giggling and laughter. Believing this was harmless entertainment, he introduced the gas to the British upper class as a recreational drug and it wasn’t long before people were having “laughing parties”. On the surface this would seem to be a logical origin of the expression “it’s a gas”, but there is no evidence that it was ever used in this context by British high society.

Gas, as in the sense of enjoyment, is first recorded in print in 1839 when Charles Dickens coined the expression “everything is gas and gaiters”. James Joyce then used it at the turn of the 20th century for something that was funny or frivolous. This usage appears to have been adopted by African Americans during the Jazz Age in the 1920s and '30s.

The phrase “It’s a gas” then appeared in print for the first time in 1957 in writings from James Baldwin. The expression was quickly picked up by the hippie movement in the 1960s and can be heard spoken by this generation from time to time. Younger generations meanwhile use words like “cool”, “awesome”, “tight”, “wicked”, and “out-of-sight” to describe things they find exciting or entertaining.


According to Mick Jagger, he and Keith Richards wrote the lyrics to “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” while staying at Richards’ country house, where they were woken one morning by the sound of gardener Jack Dyer walking past the window. When Jagger asked what the noise was, Richards responded: “Oh, that’s Jack – that’s jumpin’ Jack. The rest of the lyrics evolved from there:

“I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain,
But it’s all right now, in fact, IT’S A GAS!
But it’s all right. I’m jumpin’ Jack flash,
It’s a gas! gas! gas!”


- gasbag = a person who speaks at too great a length, saying little of value and often with an air of pretentious authority

- hit the gas (step on the gas) = to move quickly; to accelerate or go faster (used especially while riding in an automobile)

- gas guzzler = a vehicle that consumes more than the average amount of gasoline during normal usage

- cooking with gas = doing something exactly right, to have success in a particular activity

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“Thanks for inviting us to the party. It was A REAL GAS!”

THANKS to Florian for suggesting today’s word.

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:


Paul Smith, IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40

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