foo foo coffee

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Sat Nov 30 23:28:07 UTC 2013

As part of a book proposal with the working title "The Babbler's
Lexicon," I wrote an entry on "foo foo," and tried to pin down a
connection between it and "frou-frou". I didn't find one specifically,
other than the obvious phonetic similarity and the plausible consonant
cluster simplification from [fru] to [fu], and the similarity in
meaning, not only in describing fancy things, but also in the name of
the bunny in the popular summer-camp song/skit

Slightly OT: I found that in addition to the variation between [fufu]
and [frufru], there is an orthogonal alternation between "bunny" and
"rabbit" to note that the two have similar meanings, and this was the
subject of a mock flame war on alt.folklore.urban in the late 1990s,
culminating in an interesting contribution from Dave Wilton. Here's some
of what I wrote about that:

The strangest twist in the story of Little Bunny Foo Foo comes in a
discussion from the online newsgroup alt.folklore.urban in 1997---the
place where the creators of got their start, by the way. At
that time, a tongue-in-cheek battle broke out over whether the "proper"
title of the rhyme was "Little *Bunny* Foo Foo" or "Little *Rabbit* Foo
Foo." At one point, a poster named Dave Wilton posted what seems to be a
definitive answer, but is actually an elaborate stream of trollery,
designed to give AFU regulars a good laugh while testing the credulity
of newbies. He begins by claiming that the /bunny/rabbit/ variation
stems from "two separate literary traditions," and then goes on to turn
Foo Foo into something like the Forrest Gump of the English literature
universe, inserting him into Chaucer's /Canterbury Tales,/ a
Shakespearean sonnet, a manuscript from the Plymouth Colony, an early
draft of Beatrix Potter's /Peter Rabbit,/ a letter by Zelda Fitzgerald,
and one of Ernest Hemingway's journal entries....The most ironic thing
about this faux Foo Foo history is that Dave Wilton later went on to
write the excellent and well-researched book /Word Myths: Debunking
Linguistic Urban Legends./ He should know better than to play with fire
this way. I have seen his bogus history quoted as fact on at least two
webpages, so I am including it here in order to clearly label it as
phony. And I'm giving him three chances...

The post can be found here:


On 11/30/2013 4:54 PM, Dan Goodman wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society<ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dan Goodman<dsgood at IPHOUSE.COM>
> Subject:      foo foo coffee
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Anything other than straight black coffee is considered âEURoefoo foo,âEUR? said
> Sandy Schoenthaler, TaherâEUR^(TM)s regional manager.
> Urban Dictionary has this.  Looks like it's a fairly new term.
> 1. Foofoo
> Adjective used to describe anything that is just a little to frilly,
> fancy, or "upper crust". Things that are foofoo might also be a bit on
> the delicate side, or too elegant by half, or even offensively fruity.
> Spoiled little lap-dogs, $1000 designer handbags, and pink capri pants
> worn by men all qualify as foofoo. Volleyball, a lightweight game - not
> a "sport" - played by athletic girls and openly gay men, does not
> qualify as foofoo.
> "I just saw Mrs. Vanderbilt buying a Gucci sweater for her poodle. The
> whole scene was so foofoo."
> by Corralejo99000 May 28, 2013
> --
> Dan Goodman
> Whatever you wish for me, may you have twice as much.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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