Obama warns of the "old okey-doke"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Jan 25 20:17:13 UTC 2008

On Jan 25, 2008 2:40 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> How "the (old) okey-doke" (never with the final -y) as "scam," sucker
> play," etc. came about I have no idea.

What do you make of these attestations, all with final -y?

Washington Post, Apr. 5, 1985, p A17
"Chicago Blacks are too politically sophisticated to go for the okey
dokey." [quoting Chicago businessman Noah Robinson, Jesse Jackson's
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Aug. 9, 1989, p. 3A
"I tell you, that man made a total fool out of me. I believed
everything. I fell for the okey-dokey." [quoting Judy Smith, St. Louis
resident originally from Mississippi]
San Francisco Chronicle, Sep. 22, 1990, p. D1
"Sparky [Anderson] thought we were trying to pull the okey-dokey on
him." [quoting baseball player Ricky Henderson]
New Orleans Times-Picayune, Nov. 12, 1993, p. A1
"My grandfather used to say, 'Don't fall for the okey-dokey,' I think
there's a lot of okey-dokey in this budget." [quoting New Orleans
Councilman Johnny Jackson]
Sunday Age, Nov. 26, 1995, p. 6
"It's important to see that in many of these communities there are no
men in the household. So all these young black males who grow up
without any male parental supervision go outside the house to seek
that. And unfortunately many of these are going to go for the
'okey-dokey'." [quoting Spike Lee]
Washington Times, July 1, 1997, p. C2
It's bad enough that folks fall for the okey-dokey every time and fork
out big bucks for his minibouts. [column by Adrienne T. Washington
about Mike Tyson]
Cincinnati Post, Aug. 29, 2005, p. A1
"I thought he cleared that up. I guess he pulled the old okey-dokey on
me." [quoting David Caudill, resident of Clermont County, Ohio]
New Orleans Times-Picayune, Apr. 28, 2006, p. 1
A lot of people are caught up in a wave of stuff that was handed to
them and they have settled for the okey- dokey, sucked in with the
scams. [quoting New Orleans music legend Dr. John]

--Ben Zimmer

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

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