"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."
Friday, 19 June 2009
Shabby Girl commented on a beetle photo of mine giving her the heebie jeebies.
The heebie jeebies is a term used to describe a general feeling of anxiety, fear, uneasiness, or nausea; the jitters.
This term seems to hark back to earlier rhyming phrases, like hocus-pocus and mumbo-jumbo, with a touch of the jitters thrown in. Heebie and jeebie don't mean anything as independent words and heebie jeebies was coined in the USA in the 1920s - a time and place when there was a spate of new nonsense rhyming pairs, called rhyming reduplications, - the bee's knees, etc.
The first citation of it in print is in a 1923 cartoon by William Morgan "Billy" de Beck. "You dumb ox - why don't you get that stupid look offa your pan - you gimme the heeby jeebys!"
Heebie jeebies caught on quickly and very soon began appearing in many newspapers and works of literature in the USA and, from 1927 onward, the UK.
My daughter Helen commented in November 2008 in her Blog that she was now keeping a notebook of new words that she came across during her reading. "This week I bought a lovely little leather bound book to write new words in as I read them . I've added a few from "1984", but my favourite has to be persiflage (from the French persifler) which means banter." I later discovered that my older daughter, Bryony, also kept a similar notebook.
This inspired me to create a Word blog. This will include both new words, favourite words and the origins of phrases that we commonly use. A definition and some comment, perhaps even a relevant quotation, will acompany the word or phrase.
“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.” - Winnie the Pooh
Thanks for stopping by! Would you like a cup of tea or coffee? And please, sit for a spell. If you enjoy my posts, please feel free to follow me or subscribe to my blog. This is a word verification free, family friendly blog, so everything I share here is for all ages. I am a happily married man in my late sixties who lives on the Wirral peninsula, near Liverpool, in the UK.
I'm a blogger - and nowadays that seems to be my main occupation. Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. There is a saying in Sweden "man måste vara frisk för att orka vara sjuk" ~ "you have to be well to cope with being ill"....
I enjoy most forms of communication and postcards are a special favourite. I used to blog as Scriptor Senex which is Latin for Old Writer but now Google only lets me post as John Edwards.
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)