Shoo

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Dr. Goodword
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Shoo

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:44 pm

• shoo •


Pronunciation: shoo • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Interjection, Verb

Meaning: 1. [Interjection] An exclamation used to chase something away. 2. [Verb] To chase away.

Notes: Today again we have a very ordinary Good Word, an interjection whose sense of "Get away!" strongly recommended it as a verb. Today it is a fully fledged verb with a full complement of forms: shoos, shooed, shooing, shooer. I wouldn't stretch it to shooee "that which is shooed" but I'm sure some would.

In Play: Today's Good Word is used more often as a verb meaning "to chase away", as in, "Izzy Dare did more harm than good trying to shoo flies away from the picnic with his baseball bat." Flies historically have been among our most annoying pests, so we once heard, "Shoo, fly!" quite often, as though we expected the fly to understand us. Today we have many means of shooing: "Ethyl Gass shooed everyone out of the living room without uttering a word.

Word History: The interjection Shoo! has been around forever. It is similar to German schu, Italian sciò, Polish sio, and Portuguese . The use of this word to chase folks and other things away is influenced by the fact that SH is the noisiest consonant in the language (oddly also used as a sound to induce silence: "Shhhh!"). The noun shoo-in "a sure winner" began at the racetrack referring to a horse that wins by such a margin it looks as if the other horses are shooing him away. It's anyone's guess where we got shoofly pie, the molasses, brown sugar, and raisin pie baked by the Pennsylvania Dutch. This heavy dessert certainly is no mispronunciation of soufflé as some suggest. It probably comes from a use of the phrase Shoo fly! in its Civil War sense of "Keep away!" applied to Pennsylvania Dutch children while the shoofly pies were cooling. (Let's not shoo Kathleen McCune of Norway away by forgetting to thank her for her continuing contributions to our series.)
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jerrythebeeguy
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Re: Shoo

Postby jerrythebeeguy » Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:10 pm

Of course, I learned "shoo" as a child like everyone else. When I lived in Ecuador for a couple of years I leaned that the Spanish speaking people there said "oosh" to mean the same thing. I wonder why? I see no clue of origins of that in Spain so maybe they learned it from Quichua speaking native people in South America.

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LukeJavan8
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Re: Shoo

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:21 pm

Odd, that.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

jerrythebeeguy
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Re: Shoo

Postby jerrythebeeguy » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:48 am

My wife Dawn, who is a Pennsylvaniac, grew up on shoo fly pie, and she tells me that her mother told her that the name came from this: On baking day many pies were made and the leftover dough, sugar, molasses, etc. accumulated on the side and the flies had to be shooed off until there was time to make the "leftovers" pie, which came to be called "Shoo Fly Pie". For verification of this story you can call her mother, Allison Corl, in Lewisburg.

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Slava
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Re: Shoo

Postby Slava » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:44 pm

Pennsylvaniac - Love It! :D
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Re: Shoo

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:55 am

Doc mentioned. In the etymology that SH is a strong "letter," but we are taught it as two letters. In learning Hebrew i learned three similar letters transliterated s or sh. Two Hebrew letters look very much like a "w" with a dot over one or the other of the end lines. I would imagine that's true in Arabic as well. And what about the slash for an S in German, rather like a integral symbol? Did it originally signal SH
pl

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Re: Shoo

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:38 am

Combinations like SH and CH are known as "digraphs", two letters for one sound. They are common in alphabetic languages.
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