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Lollapalooza

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Lollapalooza

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue May 21, 2013 10:01 pm

• lollapalooza •


Pronunciation: lah-lê-pê-lu-zê • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: (Slang) A corker, a beaut, a knockout, something outstanding of its kind, something fine and grand.

Notes: This is a pure Americanism right down to its obscure origin. If you are British, it's OK to spell this word lallapaloosa and pronounce it [læ-lê-pê-lu-sê]. Since it is more widely spoken than written, it has suffered a wide variety of spellings. In the Second World War this word was the shibboleth for distinguishing friendly Filipinos from the Japanese enemy. When asked to repeat today's Good Word, rorraparooza was the wrong answer.

In Play: Anything outstanding in its class can be anointed a lollapalooza: "When his wife threw the frying pan at him, Dick Tate got a lollapalooza of a knot on his head." This meaning fits failures, too: "Hank Epanki made a lollapalooza of an accounting mistake that caused the company he worked for, Cook, Books, and Hyde, to go out of business."

Word History: In his book The American Language, H. L. Mencken claimed that today's word originated in the French expression allez-fusil "forward the musket". This word became common in Ireland as allay-foozee "a fine fellow" after French troops landed in Ireland in 1798. This word somehow then morphed into lollapalooza according to Mencken. Others have surmised that it began as a rhyming compound based on lulu in the sense of, "She's a lulu of a singer!" This word may be a commonization of the name of Lulu Hurst, a girl who seemed to have magic powers. This Lulu barnstormed the US from 1883 to 1885 and in the process became one of the most famous people in America. Lulu entered the language with its present meaning about 1886. Two reasonable speculations without a hint of evidence to support either. (Susanne Russell should be thanked heartily for suggesting today's lollapalooza of a Good Word.)
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Re: Lollapalooza

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed May 22, 2013 11:55 am

We have a bar and pizza joint here with this word
as its name.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Lollapalooza

Postby gailr » Wed May 22, 2013 7:41 pm

If you are British, it's OK to spell this word lallapaloosa
No, it isn't. :lol:

It's also the name of a perennial summer music festival.
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Re: Lollapalooza

Postby Slava » Wed May 22, 2013 7:57 pm

gailr wrote:
If you are British, it's OK to spell this word lallapaloosa
No, it isn't. :lol:
OK, I'll bite, why not?
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Re: Lollapalooza

Postby gailr » Wed May 22, 2013 8:33 pm

My turn to write a language joke that gets questioned. :wink:
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Re: Lollapalooza

Postby Slava » Wed May 22, 2013 9:34 pm

gailr wrote:My turn to write a language joke that gets questioned. :wink:
I beg your forgiveness, oh She of the Memorial Day Headdress. I do not mean to question your wisdom, I seek merely to understand.
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Re: Lollapalooza

Postby gailr » Thu May 23, 2013 1:20 am

Question away any time. I accept the z[ed]-to-[es]s shift on most words; it just looks wrong on this one. :wink:
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Re: Lollapalooza

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu May 23, 2013 11:38 am

Not according to the OED, which I take as gospel when it comes to English words, though I have found a few typos and other errors in it. I've also found some of those in the Gospels.
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Re: Lollapalooza

Postby MTC » Thu May 23, 2013 12:34 pm

HOW LOLLAPALOOZA GOT ITS NAME

Sometimes we learn unexpected things from unexpected sources. It was an old rancher on a dude ranch in Wyoming, far from the ivied halls of academia, who taught me the surprising origin of lollapalooza. I remember clearly one night after a dinner of pork and beans in the ranch house the old rancher called his tenderfoots together outside under the stars:

"Gather round the campfire cowboys and cowgirls," the old rancher offered with a twinkle, "and I'll tell you how "lollapalooza" got its name.

"Lollapalooza!" interjected Anne--one of the spunkier dudes--before the old rancher could begin. "That sounds a little like 'Appaloosa,' the beautiful horse with leopard spots."

"Whoa! You're stealin' my fire."

"Sorry!" Anne flushed.

"But good ear, cowgirl," the old rancher consoled. "Appaloosa has somethin to do with it. Anyway, some years ago there was a lady named Lola had a ranch not far from here. Now Lola loved horses. Her favorite was an Appaloosa," he continued, raising his voice an octave on "Lola" and "Appaloosa."

"Oh no, you don't mean to tell me!" Anne laughed.

"Well now looks like your pretty quick at puttin' two and two together," the old rancher smiled, "but hold your horses or we'll be out here till the cows come home."

"So here's the whole story. It happened one day a pair of ranch hands were leanin against a fence watchin Lola's fine Appaloosa mare trottin by. One hand remarked to the other, "That's Miz Lola's Appaloosa, ain't it?" "Sure as shootin," the other drawled. "Come to think of it, why don't we cut "Lola's Appaloosa" short and call that mare a "lolapalooza?" "Fewer words is better," the other agreed. Before you knew it all the hands started callin the mare a "lollapalooza." It was such a hit that pretty soon folks around here started callin anythin fine and grand 'a lollapalooza.' And sometimes folks gilded the lilly a little bit about what was fine and grand, so "lollapalooza" also come to mean "a whopper." In time "lollapalooza" caught on everywhere like a burr on Nellie's backside. But it all started right here," the old rancher ended with a wink. "That's a real lollapalooza!" quipped Anne who had the last word.

from The Apocrypha of MTC
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