I have been asked about the history of the construction “X much?” as a rhetorical response (e.g., “Bitter much? Overanalzye much? Ad hominem much?”). Unfortunately, this is one of those things that is impossible to google, or even find information on at the Log (putting “much” into the search box seems to bring up half the posts on the site). So I throw myself on the collective knowledge of my readers: is anyone aware of studies of the history of this template, whether online or off?
Further update. The construction has been antedated to 1978! (Hat tip to Josh Millard.)
Yet another update. Josh Millard, aka cortex, has made a MetaTalk post about this, using data from the various subsites of MetaFilter, and linguist iamkimiam made the following interesting comment:
Just at first glance, I’m really in awe at how productive “much” is. It can appear with states, actions, nouns, verbs, in different tenses/aspects, punctuation, and on. It also seems to verb nouns in many instances. It has a pragmatic distancing function as well (separating the speaker from the proposition/topic that they are responding to). In that sense, the “much” tag carries some heavy evaluation. Also, discourse framing.
Update. I have done what I should have done in the first place, namely checked the OED, which just updated the much entry this year and has a section on this use:
colloq. (orig. U.S., freq. ironic). With a preceding adjective, infinitive verb, or noun phrase, forming an elliptical comment or question.
The use was popularized by the film Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and the television series derived from it.
1988 D. Waters Heathers (film script) 15 God Veronica, drool much? His name’s Jason Dean.
1988 D. Waters Heathers (film script) 86 Heather Duke. It was J.D.’s idea! He made out the signature sheet and everything. Now will you sign it. Veronica. (queasy) No. Heather Duke. Jealous much?
1992 J. Whedon Buffy the Vampire Slayer (film script) 8 A stranger, walking the other way, bumps into Buffy, doesn’t stop.‥ Buffy. Excuse much! Not rude or anything.
1992 J. Whedon Buffy the Vampire Slayer (film script) 25 Pike and Benny have entered the diner, quite drunk.‥ Kimberly (to the other girls) Smell of booze much.
1998 M. Burgess & R. Green Isabella in Sopranos (television shooting script) 1st Ser. 1 42 Anthony Jr. Probably I can’t go to that dance now either. Meadow. God, self-involved much?
2001 Cosmopolitan Dec. 178 You’ve seen them: the kinds of couples who finish each other’s sentences.‥ Jealous much? Damn right.