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What does “Turn down for what” mean anyway?

WORKING OUT THE MEANING OF “TURN DOWN FOR WHAT”

Anyone who deals with teenagers, or even preadolescents, will have heard enough of the expression “Turn down for what” to last a lifetime. But, what exactly is the meaning of “Turn down for what button”? Without a little background, the phrase can seem a bit mysterious, even for a native English speaker.

There is even a “Turn down for what button” at the ready for when you need a triumphant sally to round off an argument:  www.td4wbutton.com

So, is this high level poetry? Can we compare it to Ted Hughes and the like? Mmmmm….

The origin of the expression lies in a single by DJ Snake and Lil Jon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMUDVMiITOU

TURNING UP VS. TURNING DOWN

But lets look at how it’s used: “Turn up” is slang for partying, getting drunk and high. Turn down, then, means the opposite, keeping calm and mellow. So the expression means: Why should I stop partying? Why should I sober up, turn down? For what?

The rebellious tone associated with that kind of statement is probably what caused it to spill over into other uses, in non-English speaking contexts, where the refrain can apply to any situation where someone leaves their opponent speechless in an argument.

 

THE “TD4W” CHALLENGE

At QuicksilverTranslate.com, we have a challenge for you (right up our alley): translate the expression into another language. Not a literal translation, which would be a snap now that we understand it, but a good translation, that preserves the meaning in a way that sounds natural in the target language and is catchy to boot.

Any takers? Who’s up for the challenge?

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