A 'blue zillion'

James Smith jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM
Tue Dec 7 19:09:48 UTC 2004

Gazillion, bazillion, blazillion = ? blue zillion
--- David Bowie <db.list at PMPKN.NET> wrote:

> 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.

James D. SMITH                 |If history teaches anything
South SLC, UT                  |it is that we will be sued
jsmithjamessmith at yahoo.com     |whether we act quickly and decisively
                               |or slowly and cautiously.

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