ATG Quirkies: Are You Okey-Dokey with the Herky-Jerky Mumbo Jumbo?

by | Mar 12, 2018 | 0 comments

Flickr/torbakhopper

Here’s an informative post by Ralph Keyes in American Scholar that provides some fun suggestions for when your lingo needs a little mojo.

Mr. Keyes draws our attention to what he calls conjoined terms. As he describes them, they are “phrases composed of two related words that rhyme or alliterate and are fun to say.” And then he offers some examples that we’ve all heard and sometimes used including “hotsy-totsy, hoity-toity, topsy-turvy, dilly-dally, shillyshally, flimflam, flip-flop, fiddlefaddle, fuddyduddy, hocuspocus, hoochiecoochie, hankypanky, herkyjerky, okeydokey, rolypoly, mumbo jumbo, superduper, willynilly, creepy-crawly, wishywashy, and thousands more.”

Serious linguists call such terms “reduplicatives” and have been interested in them since the 1860s and in his article, Mr. Keyes focuses on the key reasons they remain popular to this day.

(Thanks, as always, to John Riley of Gabriel Books for providing ATG Quirkies)

 

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