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AWADmail Issue 168

June 18, 2005

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages

From: Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)
Subject: Online chat; AWADmail schedule

Online Chat: Don't forget to join us for a chat about language myths with our guest Michael Quinion of World Wide Words. On June 18, 4 PM GMT (9 AM PDT).

AWADmail Schedule:
There will be no issue of AWADmail for the next three weeks as I'll be traveling. AWAD will continue as usual.

From: Renate van Vuuren (renatevvATbks.co.za)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--spruik

The word, 'spruik' possibly has a Dutch/German/Afrikaans origin. My home language is Afrikaans, and one word for 'talk/speech' is 'spreek' / 'spraak' and we have a slang-expression 'ek het my sprook gesprak' which means 'I have expressed myself / made my point'. When we address an audience, we make a 'toespraak'.

From: Daisy Pratt (daisyprattATaol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--spruik

As a professional salesman, I suggest that the origins of spruik is a contraction of speech plus crook. ( :

From: Mary Stewart (indiansmaryATaol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A-Day--hubba-hubba

I associate the expression "hubba hubba" with burlesque show humor. If repeated by a well-endowed, scantily clad female it causes her torso to rise and fall in a manner most pleasing to the male audience, who shout "hubba hubba" back to her.

From: Goldie Silverman (goldie.silvermanATcomcast.net)
Subject: hubba-hubba

When I was a teen-ager in the 1940s, hubba-hubba referred to a girl with bre asts. A common ploy was this: a boy would say to a girl, "Can you touch your elbows behind your back?" When she tried to do this (try it and see what happens to your chest), he would say, "Hubba-hubba!")

From: Adrian Ashmore-Price (scoutsATninefish.co.nz)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--hubba-hubba

Down here in New Zealand this has another less savoury meaning. I guess it's still an interjection though :-)

For many kiwis hubba-hubba is se x, to the point that there's a national advertising campaign to young adults with the byline of no hubba hubba without a rubber, set to a hip hop anthem and delivered by graffiti styled characters.

But in the end what better expression of approval, enthusiasm and excitement can there be?

From: Martha Miller (marthamillerATtelus.net)
Subject: hubba-hubba

In the fierce world of an elementary school playground, one of our favorite taunts to any girl and boy we spied talking together was: "Hubba hubba, ding ding, don't forget the wedding ring!"

From: Nancy Wilson (wilsonnaATsonic.net)
Subject: Hubba-hubba

I remember hearing this, growing up as an Army brat in post-war Hawaii, and always associated it with military slang. The line "Hubba-hubba, ding ding, Baby you've got everything" came to mind, and Google says that was from a song by Vince Maloy. Then I went to Stuart Berg Flexner's "I Hear America Talking" and found this:

"Hubba-hubba, 1941, wide armed forces use in World War II. It's from the Chinese greeting "how-pu-how" and was first used by air force personnel, who got it from Chinese pilots being trained at an air force base in Florida. It was made very popular by radio comedian Bob Hope, who broadcast his weekly show from military bases during the war, using armed forces terms and references to get laughs."

From: Kelly Shannon (kshannonATcybermesa.com)
Subject: hubba-hubba

I first heard "hubba-hubba" as kid during WWII at the age of 10 or 11; used by GIs. Examples:
"All right, everybody outside for mail-call. Lets go, hubba-hubba."
"Serg. wants this truck loaded on the double!, hubba-hubba!"

In, "A Browser's Dictionary and Native's Guide to the Unknown American Language," by John Ciardi, Harpers & Row, Publishers, 1980, Mr. Ciardi writes the following note p.192:
hubba-hubba WWII. A variable expressive. When shouted by troops, a cry of enthusiasm. When shouted by an officer or a noncom, a command to react enthusiastically and on the double. [Based on 'hubbub'. It is the fixed dementia of the military mind that troops can be made enthusiastic by being ordered to shout.]

From: Roberto Michelena (robertoATeos.com.pe)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--spondulicks

Here in Peru (actually in half South America), the ancient Incas used a certain seashell called Spondylus as a primitive sort of money. I have more than once seen it misspelled as 'spondilux'. The resemblance between this and 'spondulicks' seems too much to be coincidental, specially considering one of its usages was as currency.

From: Andy Sadler (andy_sadlerATus.ibm.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--spondulicks

With reference to "dead presidents", in the UK banknotes are sometimes referred to as "portraits of the Queen".

From: Geoffrey Neill (gneillATcsda.net)
Subject: spondulicks

Counterfeit money called sourdough? What a rye sense of humor!

From: Alan Archer (alan.archerATva.gov)
Subject: spondulicks

Sometimes we'll refer to bills by the "dead president" (or other) on the specific denomination, for example: "Hey Joe, got a Franklin you can loan me until Wednesday?" or "Used to be I could get into the show with a couple of Lincolns, now I gotta plop down a Jackson, and don't get no return."

From: A.C. Kemp (ackempATslangcity.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--spondulicks

As the author of your newsletter's evil twin, Slang City News (which is exclusively about American Slang), I've sent out many a message on money slang, since as you say, there is so much of it. These days, cheese and cheddar are popular terms, and it may interest your readers to know that rappers have reintroduced the archaic word ducat to the urban lexicon. You can find more info on new slang at www.slangcity.com.

From: Ann Levelle (annATcbmmag.net)
Subject: Re A.Word.A.Day--mopery

It was used in the movie "Revenge of the Nerds" when a man was arrested for exposing himself to a blind person. I suppose there is no such actual crime, so they had to arrest him for mopery.

From: James O. Kimmel (w8fejimATgo-concepts.com)
Subject: mopery

I was told as a 7th grader that mopery meant that you had been naked in front of your dog. I guess that does meet the definition. I was told that by a much wiser 8th grader so it must have been true.

From: Donald Godfrey (sciolistlaATearthlink.net)
Subject: Mopery

I had to chuckle when I saw your word for the day, "mopery". I am retired from 26 years in law enforcement and we cited this "offense" on occasion, generally in the narration of some humorous incident. We further delineated "sidewalk mopery", which we defined as a misdemeanor, and "street mopery", which was a felony.

From: Patricia Boehmer (patricia_boehmerATbrushwellman.com)
Subject: Re A.Word.A.Day--mopery

For my daughter's 21st birthday, we hired a 'stripping' policeman to come and supposedly arrest her. When he approached her at the bar at a local bowling alley, he charged her with 'mopery'. Except he told her 'mopery' was for not giving a blind person the right of way. Unbeknownst to us, she was pulling out of a driveway the week before, and stopped over the sidewalk waiting for traffic to clear, when a blind man on the sidewalk walked into the side of her car. You should have seen her trying to explain what had happened to this 'fake' policeman so she wouldn't be arrested and who didn't have a clue what she was talking about. He had made up this 'mopery' or imaginary law about her crime just to get her goat.

From: Eric Shackle (eshackleATozemail.co.au)
Subject: Mopery

Many newspaper publishers could be charged with mopery. I've written a story, "Newspaper Slogans Boast, Lie or Laugh," to be posted in the July edition of my e-book. It can be previewed at www.bdb.co.za.

A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers. -Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

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