2016年6月2日 星期四

­“hanky-panky,” “hocus-pocus,” hokey-pokey



 Why, he asks, do so many re­duplicative expressions or near-­reduplicative expressions start with “h” (“hill­billy,” “hippy-dippy,” “handy-dandy,” ­“hanky-panky,” “hocus-pocus,” “hoity-toity,” “hoodoo,” “hotsy-totsy,” “hully gully,” “humdrum,” “hurdy-gurdy”), beating out the runner-up, “w”? His answer:
“You will note that many of those ‘h’ expressions refer to disorder and jumblement. Most are of unknown origin. (No matter what you may have learned at your mother’s knee, ‘hunky-dory’ probably does not come from a street in Yokohama where sailors could find a bit of all right.) They’re the sort of expressions that people pull out of the air to convey something otherwise indefinable, like ‘whatchamajig.’ ”



The English language is packed full of phrases that contain pairs of rhyming or alliterating words - often just because the person who coined them liked the sound of them; for example, hocus-pocusthe bee's kneesriff-raff etc.





hanky-panky 

Pronunciation: /haŋkɪˈpaŋki/ 

NOUN

[MASS NOUN] informalhumorous  詭計;巧手
Behaviour, in particular sexual or legally dubious behaviour, considered improper but not seriously so:suspicions of financial hanky-panky


Origin

Mid 19th century: perhaps an alteration of hokey-pokey.

hokey-pokey 

Pronunciation: /həʊkɪˈpəʊki/ NOUN
informal
1[MASS NOUN] trademark Ice cream of a kind formerly sold on the street, especially by Italian street vendors:she got me a double cone of hokey pokey
1.1NZ trademark in the UK A kind of brittle toffee or honeycomb:for those with a sweet tooth, what about hokey pokey?
3(the hokey-pokey) US term for hokey-cokey.


Origin

Late 19th century: of unknown origin.

For editors and proofreaders




hocus-pocus 

Pronunciation: /həʊkəsˈpəʊkəs/ 

NOUN

[MASS NOUN]
1Meaningless talk or activity, typically designed to trick someone or conceal the truth of a situation:some people still view psychology as a lot of hocus-pocus
1.1A form of words used by a person performing conjuring tricks.


Origin

Early 17th century: from hax pax max Deus adimax, a pseudo-Latin phrase used as a magic formula by conjurors.
More
  • hanky-panky from mid 19th century:
    People have been talking in disapproving terms of hanky-panky since the 1830s. Then it tended to mean ‘trickery’ or ‘dishonest behaviour’, whereas since the 1930s it has mainly referred to sexual indiscretions. The word is possibly an alteration of hocus-pocus, which was said by conjurors as they performed their tricks, rather like ‘abracadabra!’. This appeared in the early 17th century based on a pseudo-Latin phrase hax pax max Deus adimax used by conjurors as a magic formula. Hoax (late 18th century) may be a shortening of hocus-pocus.


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