Best Answer

Contrary to the popular belief that the phrase is derived from the the famous catchphrase 'Whats'up, Doc?' of the cartoon character Bugs Bunny, it is not.

The phrase appears in Jack London's The Sea Wolf (1904), chapter 25 (-- "What's up?" I asked Wolf Larson.--)

Another referance to 'whatsup' can be found in a short story The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes from the collection Sixes and Sevens (1911) by acclaimed American short story writer O' Henry (1862-1910). The character Shamrock Jolnes says, "Good morning, Whatsup."

Bugs Bunny made his first appearance in 'A Wild Hare' on 27 July 1940, many years after both of these references. However it can be said the phrase was made popular by Bugs Bunny.

User Avatar

Wiki User

10y ago
This answer is:
User Avatar
More answers
User Avatar

Wiki User

14y ago

"Knocking" began as a term for serious flirting circa 1800. Originally it was because you were knocking on the maiden's "door" trying to "get in". Understandably, this reference quickly changed to the actual act of "getting in" because beds knock against walls. If you leave your boots on, literally done at that time, you are "knocking boots"- a Southern U.S. term. Around 1813, the term "knocking up her boots" was common. A reference to the "missionary" position. By 1830, "knocked up" began as a reference to what we now know it as today. Sadly, it was a reference to a slave woman who became pregnant. {This can be verified via "Bing" search, and through searches of various history sources for; African-American History, Southern & Western U.S. History, Women's History, etc:}

This answer is:
User Avatar

Add your answer:

Earn +20 pts
Q: What is the origin of the phrase 'What's up'?
Write your answer...
Still have questions?
magnify glass