same old

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Tue Jun 19 16:03:39 UTC 2001

On Mon, Jun 18, 2001 at 05:17:50PM -0700, Kim & Rima McKinzey wrote:
> I know we recently had a thread re hypercorrected/missing/added els
> in words like milk or calm etc., but this was a new one to me.  My
> first assumption is that "old" had long since become "ol'" and that
> it fell into the so-dark-it-disappeared category - at least to her
> hearing.  And then it was gone.  I can't remember if I ever heard her
> say it, but I'm sure I would have assumed that the el was there (just
> hiding in the dark).  In any case, here's the relevant sentence from
> an e-mail I got from my Oklahoma mother-in-law:
> "Well, we were talking about him obeying the doctors orders and Ray
> not even got the idea he just wanted out and back to
> his same oh same oh."

The assumption that "old" was progressively reduced to "oh" in this
phrase is probably wrong. The original phrase (at least according
to the evidence I've seen) was "same-oh same-oh", in a real or mock
pidgin English among the U.S. military in East Asia; the "same ol(d),
same ol(d)" version seems to be a later folk-etymologized form.

Jesse Sheidlower

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