"hokey cokey"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 26 18:37:42 UTC 2013

On Jan 26, 2013, at 1:31 PM, George Thompson wrote:

> From an article in the NYTimes' sports pages, January 23, 2013, section B,
> p. 17; otherwise,
> http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/23/sports/olympics/london-games-over-future-of-olympic-stadium-remains-uncertain.html,
> on the difficulties that have arisen in turning the stadium built for the
> London Olympics into a profitable general sports venue:
> Much of the problem stems from what appears to have been poor initial
> decisions. When the stadium was built, the post-Games plan called for it to
> be drastically reduced in size — it is designed roughly along the   lines
> of a layer cake, with removable tiers — then used as a 25,000-seat track
> and field site.  But track and field competitions rarely draw more than
> several thousand spectators at a time. “There was an element of hokey cokey
> in that first proposition,” Biggs said. So the organizers came up with a
> new idea: find a soccer team to move in.
> Jonathon Green's Dictionary of Slang has an entry for "hokey cokey",
> meaning "karaoke", supported with one citation, from 1998.  He adds a
> comment "note also the trad. Cockney dance "The Hokey Cokey"".
> I'd explain the "hokey cokey" in the Times with reference to "hokum" and
> "cokey" (cocaine) -- that is, the first proposition was a combination of
> fakery and delusion.
> But I defer to others.

I expect "hocus-pocus" (for the meaning) and/or "hokey-pokey" (for the sound) might be involved, although I have no speculation for the /p/ > /k/ part of it.  Maybe assimilation from the /k/ of the second syllable(s)?  Hic-haec-hoc > Hic-haec-coke?


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