[Ads-l] rookie-doo

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Fri Jul 8 04:06:08 UTC 2016

For years, my family has used the verb "rookie-doo" to mean cheat or 
deceive, typically in passive-voice phrases such as "He got rookie-dooed 
out of getting to go on the trip," or "I feel rookie-dooed". It finally 
occurred to me to look into the origin of this word, and it seems to be 
associated with Louisiana, which makes me wonder if my dad picked up the 
term when he went to college at Tulane (mid-1960s). In particular, the 
term is associated with the Louisiana legislature, as you can see in 
news articles like this one, where I learned that "rookie-doo" is also a 
noun, and has a synonym in another noun, "fugaboo":


      Little-known legislator pulled 'rookie-doo' on state House

    <http://connect.nola.com/user/rscott/index.html>By Robert Travis
    Scott, The Times-Picayune

    BATON ROUGE -- The rookie-doo and fugaboo are still in style.

    Those are oft-used terms learned the hard way by legislative
    freshmen. An incident last week was proof once again that getting
    fooled on a bill is common enough that it deserves its own vocabulary.

    In a masterful rookie-doo that made national headlines, Rep. Avon
    Honey, D-Baton Rouge, simultaneously flummoxed the entire House of
    Representatives and upset one of Gov. Bobby Jindal's top agenda
    items for the current lawmaking session.

    With a brief mumble and a procedural flourish, Honey slipped an
    audacious amendment to expand state jobless benefits into an
    innocent bill while an unsuspecting House was wrapping up a long
    session Monday evening.

I suspect that the term is derived from /rook,/ in particular these 
definitions (taken from the OED) with the diminutive suffix /-ie/ and 
the silly suffix /-doo/ attached:

*rook, n.^1 *

*2.* In extended use.

* b. A cheat, swindler, or sharper, esp. in gambling.

*rook, v.^2 

*Etymology: *< rook n.^1 
(compare rook n.^1 2b 


*a. /trans./ To cheat or swindle; /esp./ to win or extract money from (a 
person) by fraud; to charge (a person) extortionately. Chiefly in slang 
or colloquial use.*


/Rookie-doo/ itself isn't in the OED, so I'm trying to find early 
attestations myself. So far, not much luck in Google Books, ProQuest, 
COCA or COHA. Tomorrow I'll see if it's in our library's copy of DARE. 
In the meantime, is anyone here familiar with the term?



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

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