Limericks, Rated G

Say Cheese

Photographers use the phrase “Say cheese”
To prompt smiles with relative ease;
So, French youth, as an homage,
Mimic with “C’est fromage,”
But old-timers don’t get it, quelle surprise.

According to Wikipedia, since the late nineteenth century, say cheese has been photographers’ verbal instruction to get subjects to smile or at least take note that the snapshot is imminent. The word or phrase varies between languages and cultures. Some have adopted the word itself or its literal translation. Hungary, Italy, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, Slovakia and Turkey are among the latter. In France and other French-speaking countries, the word ouistiti, meaning “marmoset,” is the local equivalent. Dating to the 1950s, quelle surprise means “What a surprise!” in English. The Oxford Dictionary says it’s used mostly ironically to imply that a situation or event is, in fact, unsurprising, typical or predictable in nature. C’est fromage translates as “It is cheese.”

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