Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Fri Apr 8 02:40:26 UTC 2005

On Fri, 8 Apr 2005 00:34:12 +0200, Christine Waigl <cwaigl at FREE.FR> wrote:

>Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>>Actually, Googling suggests that "allez hop" is a more common spelling in
>>French than "...houp" ("allez hop" is also the form borrowed into German
>>and Dutch).
>I agree. I've never seen it spelled anything but "allez hop" in
>(contemporary) French.
>(A conflation with "(allez) ouste", maybe? "Allez" can stand on its own
>as an interjection.)

Well, MWCD11 says it's a combination of French "allez" and English "-oop",
perhaps an alteration of "up".  I don't see why it couldn't have derived
from "allez" + "houp", if those interjections were used in conjunction (as
in Conrad's "Allez! Houp!").  But if "allez hop" was more of a fixed
expression, then perhaps the final syllable was transformed to "oop" in
English renderings under influence from interjections like "houp(-la)",
"whoop", "oops-a-daisy", etc.  I can see how there may have been secondary
influence from "up" (with "oop" as a dialectal form, as in "Oop North"?),
since the interjection was associated with lifting up things or people.

Where's a philologically inclined French trapeze artist when you need one?

--Ben Zimmer

More information about the Ads-l mailing list