Printable Version
Pronunciation: lah-dee-dah Hear it!

Part of Speech: Interjection, etc.

Meaning: La-di-da is an interjection used to deride the supercilious and pompous. It is an appropriate introduction to any comment on someone affecting superiority: flaunting their wealth or otherwise acting haughtily or disdainfully.

Notes: Most speakers stick with using this word as a derisive interjection, especially when we see something showy: "Well, la-di-da, aren't we all dressed up for the occasion?" But, as we will see below, others exploit it more broadly.

In Play: Although this word is used by far most widely as an interjection, because it is a bit of silliness, we do not hesitate to use it as a noun, adjective, or verb when it pleases us: "Phil Anders found some la-di-da heiress in New York and left Lucy Lastik for her!" If you do use today's word as a noun or verb, remember to always add an apostrophe before -s (la-di-da's) and an H before other suffixes: "Fowler Fairweather la-di-dahed his way through Ha-a-avard but the job on Wall Street has reduced his hat by a size or two."

Word History: Some of you might remember the 1940s when swell was a slang adjective meaning "great, just fine". Well, swell was originally a derogatory term of the 18th century that referred to those pompous members of the upper class who puffed themselves up, acting superior to others. Since lard at the time was one of the main causes of human swelling, a rhyming compound, lardy-dardy, based on the model of roly-poly, helter-skelter, and dilly-dally, emerged in British slang. The British reluctance to pronounce Rs at the end of syllables quickly led to the word we have today: la-di-da.

Dr. Goodword,

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