Off the ol' hookeroo

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 28 20:48:08 UTC 2010

Notably, "(the ol') switcheroo" is much more specific than "switch".

ISTM that OED is overbroad even with their restrictions. IMO a switcheroo is
obligatorily "intended to surprise or deceive". And has anyone seen the
attributive use to mean "reversible or reversed" more recently than their
only cite for it (1949), which could easily be the advertiser's or
manufacturer's tag (figurative or literal) rather than derived from actual

colloq. (chiefly U.S.).
    =SWITCH n. 8a, c; a change of position or an exchange, esp. one intended
to surprise or deceive; a reversal or turn-about; spec. an unexpected change
or ‘twist’ in a story. Also attrib., reversible, reversed.

 8. a. A change from one state or course to another; an alteration of
position, policy, etc.
  c. An exchange; spec. a substitution which involves criminal deception.
colloq. and slang.

1949 Sun (Baltimore) 22 Sept. 7 (Advt.), Girls' ‘switcheroo’ jacket. One
side's red or green corduroy and..the other side's a gay..wool plaid.

m a m

On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 1:49 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>
> Well, a phone can be (or can be ringing) off the hook, but not off
> the ol' hookeroo.  ;-)
> Seriously, or more seriously, it's interesting that none of the OED's
> examples of the "factitious slang suffix", _boozeroo_, _brusheroo_ [=
> brush off], or _flopperoo_, are still extant in the US (as far as I
> know, nor is _jerkeroo_ (the one cite at the entry, from a Guardian
> piece in 1964), while "(the ol') switcheroo", as mentioned in Lisa
> Galvin's original query, is.  Presumably the productivity of -eroo
> has essentially waned and thus the attested forms seem like dated
> (1940's) slang, or at least so the links from the OED -eroo entry
> would suggest.
> L

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