Pyt is usually expressed as an interjection in reaction to a daily hassle, frustration or mistake. It most closely translates to the English sayings, “Don’t worry about it,” “stuff happens” or “oh, well.”
You might shatter a glass in the kitchen, shrug and say, “pyt.” You might see a parking ticket lodged under your windshield wiper and, just as you become hot with anger, shake your head and murmur, “pyt.”
At its core, it’s about accepting and resetting. It’s used as a reminder to step back and refocus rather than overreact. Instead of assigning blame, it’s a way to let go and move on.
You might say “pyt” in response to something you did — “pyt, that was a dumb thing to say” — or to support another person — “pyt with that, don’t fret about your coworker’s insensitivity.”
Overcoming the tendency to blame
There’s a rich strain of psychological research devoted to understanding how we interpret and react to other people’s actions.
Pyt can help people avoid the tendency to blame others. Say you’re late to an appointment and there’s a person in front of you who’s driving slowly. It can feel irrationally personal.
By saying “pyt,” you’re deciding that it’s not worth letting someone else’s actions, which are out of your control, bother you; it’s “water off a duck’s back.” You can also use other strategies, such as thinking about situational constraints — maybe the driver was ill — or considering whether this will be an issue in two hours, two days or two weeks.
Of course, you wouldn’t say “pyt” in response to being seriously wronged. And the word shouldn’t be used when you ought to take responsibility. Nor should it be used as an excuse for inaction.
Hitting the pyt button
Marie Helweg-Larsen is a professor of psychology and the Glenn E. & Mary Line Todd Chair in the Social Sciences at Dickinson College.