• razzmatazz •
ræz-mê-tæz • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)
Meaning: 1. (Slang) Razzle-dazzle, anything showy, ostentatious; dazzling activity meant to attract attention. 2. A type of early jazz music pre-dating swing; ragtime. 3. (US only) Double-talk.
Notes: Today's Good Word is another from the world of jazz. Remember not to put an extra syllable in the middle of this word:
razzamatazz. It doesn't need it. (First generation Italians excepted.)
In Play: The near synonym of today's word is razzle-dazzle: "Corey Publican ran a campaign full of razzmatazz: nationally known bands, flashy TV ads, tours with movie stars—that sort of stuff." Let's not forget the second meaning of today's word, "ragtime": "Tom Collins frequented a bar with a player piano that was always playing razzmatazz." Or the third, used mainly in the US: "Barney was a good salesman, well versed in the art of razzmatazz."
Word History: The current wisdom reports that today's Good Word is a variant of razzle-dazzle, though it was never spelled razzmadazz, as we might expect. Since rhyming compounds are so popular in English, it may have simply been one of those, influenced by razzle-dazzle. Perhaps hearing Paolo Conte's song "Razzmatazz" will help us to understand this word. (We have to thank Ze'ev Smason of St. Louis, Missouri, for recommending this word, which he heard in "My Kind of Town" sung by Frank Sinatra—and that's no razzmatazz!)
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