How can we best describe the meaning of this phrase to a non-native English speaker?

Example Dialogs:

Sally: Isn't Twilight the best movie series of all time?

Fred: Yeah, no.

Fred: Doesn't it bother you that vampires sparkle?

Sally: Yeah, no, not really.


One way of thinking of the response "Yeah, no" is that the first part ("yeah" or an affirmative) acknowledges the question and the second part ("no," "naw," or negative) refutes what the question is implying. Thus:

S: Isn't twilight the best movie series of all time?

F: Yeah, I see why you would think that. But no, I don't agree with you.


"Yeah" in this case is not meaning "Yes", they are not saying "Yes, no." Yeah is instead like saying "Hmmm." Its more of a sound that comes before the thought. "Yeah" then means in this context, "I've considered this point you're making and then the "no" part of the phrase is the actual answer." For example, "Isn't this store the best one in the mall?" If the answer is "Yeah, no." It translates to, "I can maybe see why you think this store is the best one in the mall (Yeah), but I don't think it's the best (no)."


"Yeah, no" or "yeah, nah" is an informal way of emphasising one's disagreement with something.

See Urban Dictionary regarding its use and meaning:

Yes, I'm hearing what you're saying, but NO you're wrong

  • 2
    Links can die or be changed... please be sure to include the important content from the link in your answer so that, in the case of link death, your answer is still valuable. – Catija Aug 10 '16 at 22:19
  • @Catija Of course. But I cannot do so until I'm on my computer. – Dog Lover Aug 10 '16 at 22:25

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