John Blower john at FENIKS.COM
Mon Jan 28 13:32:56 UTC 2002

At 11:14 AM 1/28/02 +0000, Michael B Quinion wrote:
>A World Wide Words subscriber has queried an expression as follows:
>"My mother used to threaten to 'marilyze' (spelling?) us when we were
>kids. I can't find it in any dictionary under any spelling I can
>contrive." Neither can I. Can anyone decode this one?
>Additional information: both the subscriber and her husband know it
>separately from their childhoods, suggesting that it is at least a
>regional expression. One mother grew up in Philadelphia and the other
>in rural southern New Jersey, both of English-Irish ancestry.
>Michael Quinion
>Editor, World Wide Words
>E-mail: <editor at>
>Web: <>

Perhaps it's a corruption of "marmalize", which was popularised by
Liverpool (Liverpool-Irish?) comedian Ken Dodd (and his Diddymen, if I
remember correctly) in the 1960s (?).

Now, the roots of "marmalize"...


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