Whizzo

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Dr. Goodword
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Whizzo

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:28 pm

• whizzo •


Pronunciation: (h)wi-zo • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, noun, interjection

Meaning: (British slang) 1. (Adjective) Superb, excellent, fine, outstanding, super-bang-on. 2. (Noun) Whizz, something wonderful, someone dazzlingly smart, skillful, or talented. 3. (Interjection) An exclamation of extreme pleasure.

Notes: Today's word was popular British school slang back in the 1970s. It is a slang extension of whizz in the family of righto, daddy-o, and neato, also popular in the 70s. Since words ending on O are all oddities in English, none have derivational families. Some prefer to omit the H and spell this word wizzo, not a bad idea as the Word History will show.

In Play: This word is probably used mostly as an adjective: "Max's treatise is 34 whizzo pages about monetary policy." It also works as a noun: "Franklin is a whizzo at the computer." School kids back in the 70s said things like this: "Oh, whizzo! What a day! I passed my math exam and got a date with Maxine the same day!"

Word History: Whizz started out as wiz, a clipping of wizard. The clipping started out in England, but by the time it reached the US people didn't know what it was, so we confused it with whizz. Wizard originally meant "sage, philosopher", comprising Middle English wyz "wise" + -ard, a personal suffix. Today it is wise, a distant cousin to Dutch wijs "wise" and German weise "wise". All these descend from PIE weid- "to see", implying "to know", as in "I see what you're saying." Sanskrit converted this word into vedah "knowledge", German wissen "to know", Polish widzieć "to see" and wiedzieć "to know", Russian videt' "to see" and vest' "news", and Lithuania vysti "to see". In Latin videre means "to see". It forms the basis of English borrowings vision and video. Old French reduced the Latin word to vewe "view", which English borrowed as view.
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LukeJavan8
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Re: Whizzo

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:48 pm

I never cease to be amazed, Doc, how you can
trace all those meanings in variations of different
languages from one word. Keep up the great work.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Re: Whizzo

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:22 pm

As Noam Chomsky told his classes: "Allow yourself to be surprised." All who enjoy surprise and amazement lead richer and far more interesting lives. (By the way, I obviously enjoy doing it.)

But thanks for the kind words. All appreciation is appreciated.
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David Myer
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Re: Whizzo

Postby David Myer » Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:04 pm

Yes indeed, well done as usual, Dr. I like that vision and wisdom are related.

It would be interesting to trace the usage of these teenage-created words for 'good'. And to track them by country.

I would have put whizzo in the 40s and 50s. By the 60s in UK we were into 'swinging' and its response 'dodgy'. 'Groovy' was also popular then. Not sure when 'ace' was the go - was it 80s? And I enjoyed the first decade of this century when 'wicked' was the word - certainly better than 'sick' which I think superseded it. 'Super' was popular in the 60s and 70s although probably confined to the middle and upper classes in UK. Daddyo was I think entirely American and probably 50s and 60s rather than 70s? Neato is a new one on me - so probably American. I daresay more will come to me as I think about it, but perhaps others here can provide words and dates?
Last edited by David Myer on Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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LukeJavan8
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Re: Whizzo

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:55 am

cool, man.
that's close.
"dude".
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Slava
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Re: Whizzo

Postby Slava » Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:19 am

Fab
Rad
Far out
Funky
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

David Myer
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Re: Whizzo

Postby David Myer » Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:27 am

Slava's words remind me of the hippy who went into a cafe and asked for "A cup of coffee and a piece of way out cake, man." "I'm sorry sir, the cake's all gone." "Crazy, man. I'll have two pieces."

A bit old, that one, but sometimes the old ones become relevant again, particularly in nostalgic reminiscence.

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Re: Whizzo

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:39 pm

I liked the hippie joke. Hadn't heard it before. I remember the 60s because it took them until the 70s to reach Lewisburg.
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