Antedating of "Yada Yada"

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Sat May 24 01:03:01 UTC 2008

"Shhh-Boom," a popular Crew Cuts (?) song of the early 1950s, had the lyrics, "yadada yadada yadada yadada boom shi-boom, life could be a dream, sweetheart!" (Who says rap lyrics are a sign that modern youth are brain dead?)
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-----Original Message-----
From: Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>

Date:         Fri, 23 May 2008 16:23:46
Subject:      Re: [ADS-L] Antedating of "Yada Yada"

On Fri, May 23, 2008 at 4:12 PM, I wrote:
> On Fri, May 23, 2008 at 4:01 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at> wrote:
>> The OED's first use of "yada yada" and its variants is a1967 from Lenny
>> Bruce. The site has earlier evidence, citing "an August 1948
>> edition of the Long Beach Independent":
>> "Yatata ... yatata ... the talk is all about Chatterbox, Knox's own little
>> Tomboy Cap with the young, young come-on look!"
>> Presumably the precise citation could be found by searching Newspaperarchive.
> OED has pre-Bruce variants in the etymology section of "yada yada":
> ----
> 1949 Sat. Evening Post 27 Aug. 98/4 ‘Back-seat flying,’ Mike would grumble.
> ‘Always the yaddega-yaddega from the back seat’.
> 1950 Time 30 Oct. 100/3 Though Right Cross's ring scenes are pretty well
> staged, it is a boxing picture with too much yatata and not enough sock.
> 1956 Holland (Mich.)Evening Sentinel 4 Feb. 6/6 (caption) You heard about her
> husband, didn't you? He won a trip to Bermuda... Well, he didn't tell her, and
> yattata-yattata.
> ----
> But 1948 still predates those.

And earlier still is "yatata yatata yatata" in William Saroyan's 1947 play "Jim
Dandy: Fat Man in a Famine", cited in_Dictionary of American Slang_ and this
Slate article: <>.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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