[Ads-l] Googobs: HDAS, 1970; Green's, 1971

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 27 01:26:38 EST 2016

This is one of those slang-terms that dates back at least to WWII on the
colored street. The word also occurs in the singular, so that there can be
"a googob of this" as well as "googobs of that."

Decline and Fall of the Auto Man Empire - Page 73
Carl Meredith - 2009 - ā€ˇPreview
The throttle position sensor had to be replaced after presenting with a
_googob_ of strange symptoms.

Green uses the spelling, _goo-gobs_. I prefer the unhyphenated spelling.
The latter spelling is probably inspired by the fact that the second
syllable is never reduced and is most often spoken, IME, with the second
syllable heavily stressed - goo-GOB!

According to



An item of black street slang that was reported by US linguists to be
obsolete by the end of the 1960s, but which was revived in 1990's usage.

That corresponds closely to my own experience. By the mid-'50's, _googob_
had been replaced by _bookoo_/_beaucoup_. Needless to say, this was not
immediately recognized as a French word, even by those of the black
bourgeoisie, because of the sheer unlikelihood of it. OTOH, around the time
that I was in the fifth grade, _quoniam adhuc_, ripped from the phrase,

Spera in Deo, _quoniam adhuc_ confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus

spoken by altar-boys during the Latin Mass, became hip in the schoolyard as
an expression of surprise:

"Dog, man! Quoniam adhuc! What happened next?!"


Likewise WRT any connection between _googob_ and _googol_.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list