• doozy •
du-zee • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A pip, a beaut, a lulu, a humdinger, a lollapalooza, in other words, an epitome, prime example, something truly extraordinary in its class.
Notes: According to the late great George Carlin, "There are two pips in a beaut, four beauts in a lulu, eight lulus in a doozy, and sixteen doozies in a humdinger. No one knows how many humdingers there are in a lollapalooza." I wouldn't argue with him; I don't think I have ever seen a real lollapalooza. The plural of this word is doozies, which leads some speakers to assume that the singular is spelled doozie. It isn't.
In Play: Lulu is an almost equally funny word but the origin of lulu is a doozy of a mystery, so let's settle for doozy itself—a lulu of a word, wouldn't you say? If we follow Carlin's formula, we could say things like, "Portia Carr's new Maserati is a doozy of a car." Of course doozy is no longer limited to cars: "That lawyer Susan Liddy-Gates has a doozy of a case on her hands!"
Word History: The question of the origin of this funny if slangy word has bred two schools of thought. Some think it a corruption of daisy, which in the 19th and early 20th centuries referred to anything first-rate. However, the slippage from the vowel in daisy to that in doozy is unlikely. Others think this word is a variant of Duesy, short for Duesenberg, the expensive and exquisite car of the 20s and 30s. The problem here is that the word doozy first appeared in print in 1903. However, prior to building their superb cars, the brothers Duesenberg built superb racing bicycles (raced them, too), and they began that business in 1895. The best speculation, then, is that this funny word began as a clipping of the bicycle name that was reinforced in the 20s and 30s by the reputation of the car.
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