Obama warns of the "old okey-doke"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Jan 24 05:47:40 UTC 2008

On Jan 23, 2008 11:05 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 1/23/08, Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> > ---
> > http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/01/when_obama_call.html
> >  Obama used the friendly setting to urge voters not to be fooled by
> > what he said were untruths coming from Hillary Clinton's campaign.
> > "They're trying to bamboozle you. It's the same old okey-doke," he
> > said, using a slang phrase for a con. "Y'all know about okey-doke,
> > right? It's the same old stuff."
> > ---
> I don't get it, Ben. Why is this worthy of note? Now, if he'd said,
> "It's the same old shit" or even, "It's the same old confidence game"

True enough, the usage in and of itself isn't so noteworthy, but the
context is -- from a major presidential candidate in the midst of a
contentious and closely watched primary season. His South Carolinian
audience no doubt appreciated it, but it still requires glossing
("slang phrase for a con") for the general public reading the news
reports. Not everybody is lucky enough to have HDAS or OED3 at hand
for the relevant sense.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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