Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Wed Nov 5 16:41:17 UTC 2003

Until I read Bethany's and Alice's messages, I had no idea "dealybob" had
ever been attached to a specific object.  I know it was in use just as
Michael describes it during my teens (late 50s) at the latest.  Earlier,
the most popular term for an object with an unknown name (alongside
perennials such as "thingamajig" and "whatcha[ma]callit") was "deal."
E.g., "one of those little deals that [performs some function or decorates
something]."  "Deal" soon developed the diminutive "dealy" or "dealie"
(never saw it spelled), and eventually the additional ornamentation to
"dealybob," with the suffix probably borrowed from "thingamabob."  I
haven't heard "dealy" or "dealybob" in years.

Peter Mc.

--On Wednesday, November 5, 2003 10:31 AM -0500 Alice Faber
<faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU> wrote:

> Bethany K. Dumas said:
>> On Wed, 5 Nov 2003, Michael Quinion wrote:
>>> subscriber asks about the meaning and origin of "dealybob". I assume
>>> from context that it's one of those hand-waving terms for something
>> I've never seen it spelled that way - here, it is one of those
>> two-pronged thingies that one wears on one's head - the thingies wave
>> about. We had them for the World's Fair (ca. 1981), and I see them at
>> large parties.
> I remember the same sort of novelty item, pretty much from when I was
> at the University of Florida, which would be early 80s also. I have a
> sense that I might have seen them more recently, at local outdoor
> festivals, in the same class of object as those glowing things that
> kids pester their parents for.
> --
> =========================================================================
> ===== Alice Faber
> faber at Haskins Laboratories
> tel: (203) 865-6163 x258 New Haven, CT 06511 USA
> fax (203) 865-8963

Peter A. McGraw       Linfield College        McMinnville, Oregon
******************* pmcgraw at ************************

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