A 'blue zillion'

Mullins, Bill Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Tue Dec 7 14:59:45 UTC 2004

I've heard a blue zillion, but blue million seems more familiar.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Bowie [mailto:db.list at PMPKN.NET]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2004 8:54 AM
> Subject: A 'blue zillion'
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       David Bowie <db.list at PMPKN.NET>
> Subject:      A 'blue zillion'
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> -----------------
> I recently had a student (army brat, so she doesn't have a
> cohesive linguistic background) use the phrase "blue
> zillion", meaning "lots", in an email to me. The relevant bit
> (including a typo from the original, ellipsis points also in
> the original):
>   "I went to the library to look at for articles online, and i found
>    a blue zillion...i looked through some of them, but gave up and
>    went to look at the periodicals in the library."
> Googling this, i get 61 (after duplicates are eliminated),
> most of which unambiguously have this meaning, in both
> unhyphenated and hyphenated forms.
> As a single compound word, Google gives me 13, only a few of
> which have this meaning. (Only 3 non-duplicate ones with this
> meaning in the plural, both of which have the form "blue zillions".)
> An interesting hit is a letter that starts:
>   "I know you receive a blue zillion e-mails every day, so I've made
>    my third attempt a bit easier with an easy "yes and no" format."
> The response to the letter (same page, ellipsis points in
> original) begins:
>   "A blue zillion? . . . . Well, not every day. Some days only a light
>    mauve billion, but others, a jungle-red gazillion. But who's
>    counting, right?"
> No idea whether the playing with it in the response is
> evidence of playing with a familiar form, or playing with a
> to-the-writer novel form.
> Anyway, anyone else run across this?
> David Bowie
> http://pmpkn.net/lx
>     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
>     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
>     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

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