TV Words

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Wed Dec 6 17:22:06 UTC 2006

I assume that's the same -ma- that occurs in "thimgamajig" and "thingamabob"--perhaps from the similar syllable in "whatyamacallit," which does (or did) have semantic content as "may"?

OED (s.v. "thingumbob") has:  "1870 M. BRIDGMAN Rob. Lynne II. v. 107 We're going to try him for thingamobob--bigamy."  But no explanation (that I can discover) for -ma-/-mo-.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 08:50:06 -0800
>From: Ed Keer <edkeer at YAHOO.COM>
>Subject: Re: TV Words
>They say the 'ma' infix in 'saxamaphone' is from Homer on the Simpsons. However, it also appears in the Dr. Seuss book The Lorax in 'whispermaphone'--the thing that the Onceler uses to tell you the story of the Lorax from his attic. I don't know if the Simpsons writers took it specifically from there or not. But it's there.

The American Dialect Society -

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