Gwyn Alcock alcockg at SRICRM.COM
Wed Nov 5 18:14:37 UTC 2003

I clearly recall hearing and using "dealybob" and "dealy" (however they're
spelled) in the mid-1990s in the Central Valley. We were doing an
archaeological survey in an oil field and were surrounded by things for
which we sometimes had no names and often didn't want to touch: "It's over
by that dealybob there," "It's like the little dealy on this thingy." (Yes,
we looked up the names when we could.)

I've had the sense that a "dealybob" is a part of something else and often
projects from it.

The -bob suffix also appears in "thing(a)mabob".

G. Alcock

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
Of Peter A. McGraw
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 8:41 AM
Subject: Re: Dealybob

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.

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