[Ads-l] bucko = 'beaucoup'

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 4 20:52:12 EDT 2018

Back in '50's St. Louis, _beaucoup_ was a hip slang term. It had two
pronunciations: "boo-KOO" and "bo-KOO."
A person could have or could lack
"bookoo X" or "beaucoup/bokoo X"
or could have or could lack
"X a bookoo" or "X a beaucoup/a bokoo."

bookoo - Wiktionary
English[edit]. Etymology[edit]. From French beaucoup; through phonetic
spelling of perceived French pronunciation of beaucoup. Determiner[edit].
bookoo. Alternative form of beaucoup. Noun[edit]. bookoo (plural bookoos).
Alternative form of beaucoup. Adverb[edit]. bookoo (not comparable).
Alternative form of beaucoup.

At the time, ca. 1950-, I didn't know any French. So, IMO, "bookoo" was the
only correct form of the word. Why some people said "bokoo" was a complete
mystery to me. I knew that the word, _beaucoup_, existed, but I thought of
it as "bo-KOOP" and had no idea what it meant. Neither pronunciation had a

The word with both spellings - bookoo, beaucoup - shows up in Vietnam War
writings, but it had died out in The Lou before the end of the dekkid and
wasn't used in Germany. My WAG is that it appeared in The Nam borrowed
directly from the local French.

On Fri, May 4, 2018 at 11:36 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
> A slight paraphrase of a Flint, Mich., woman on "All Things Considered"
> or three weeks ago.
> "We pay bucko taxes and what do we get? ...Poisoned water."
> Oddly I can't find a version of the remark online.
> Cf. 1928 "buckcoo" in HDAS s.v. "beaucoup." ref. to 1919.
> JL
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list