Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Jan 28 03:35:02 UTC 2005

A few years ago a Polish colleague suggested to me that AmE "hooey" comes directly from similar Polish, Russian; and Ukrainian words that sound much like it (don't know how they're spelled). The suggested Slavic etymon (if I may simplify just slightly) is the common vulgar synonym for the penis, which is used widely in these languages as an expletive, much like our beloved F-word. Probing more deeply, I yawned and said "So what?"  The answer was that in Russian and Ukrainian especially this "khooy" is very often used as a one word reply meaning, essentially, "That's a whole lotta shit and what's more screw you!" Pithy.

Given the circa 1917 appearance of AmE "hooey" and that Slavic immigrants had been arriving for some time previously, the suggestion suddenly became plausible. To me.

The moral is, "Always demand 'So what?' and be sure to check out this interesting suggestion."


Do you Yahoo!?
 Yahoo! Search presents - Jib Jab's 'Second Term'

More information about the Ads-l mailing list