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146286.  Mon Feb 12, 2007 11:34 pm Reply with quote

Harum-scarum was mentioned in the original post, though.

146365.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:54 am Reply with quote

oooops, missed it. I thought I'd checked as well

146374.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:03 am Reply with quote


148471.  Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:31 am Reply with quote


148499.  Sun Feb 18, 2007 9:54 am Reply with quote

ikkan wrote:
suicide: harry-carry, cockney rhyming slang I believe...

Hari-Kari, to be more accurate. I think that is the coarse term for Seppuku, in Japanese.

Any linguistic types want to confirm or deny that?



148500.  Sun Feb 18, 2007 9:55 am Reply with quote

I thought it was Hari-Kiri...

148504.  Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:13 am Reply with quote

Bugger, you're right.

I'll shut up.



148521.  Sun Feb 18, 2007 11:20 am Reply with quote

Is it not in fact hara kiri?

And yes, in Japanese it's considered to be a colloquial term for the act formally called seppuku.

Hara kiri is written using the same two kanji as seppuku, but in reverse order and with a politeness okurigana. (The last is a uniquely Japanese creation where the word is written with a special suffix to show the level of politeness intended.)

148523.  Sun Feb 18, 2007 11:25 am Reply with quote

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far.
I've added your contributions (with due acknowledgement)
to the original post.

(I had no idea there were so many examples)

More new suggestions welcome!

148662.  Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:43 am Reply with quote

fuzzy wuzzy?

148668.  Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:33 am Reply with quote


148720.  Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:14 am Reply with quote

Izzy-wizzy (let's get busy)

148766.  Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:12 am Reply with quote


Big-wig - barrister with very large head
Top-dog - wannabe cartoon character
True Blue - Tim-nice-but-dim!

King of Quok
148900.  Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:40 pm Reply with quote

They may not count, but there are a few fictional characters that fall into this category. The black cat from the series of children's picture books, Slinky Malinki would. In Rumer Godden's 'The Rocking Horse Secret', the two aunts are nicknamed 'Niminy' and 'Piminy', apparently from the word 'niminy-piminy' meaning 'finickity and stuck-up'. And lest we forget, the gayest Tellytubby of all, Tinky Winky. On the subject of which I am, er, reliably informed that at certain gay nights punters wear a badge with a number called a 'shag-tag' so that other interested punters can leave them messages with the number on a board. On similar lines, would 'wham-bang-thank-you-ma'am' count in this category? Sorry for lowering the tone...

148978.  Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:10 pm Reply with quote

Hello King of Quok, thanks for the suggestions. I think we have to exclude characters' names (at any rate those that are no more than just names), but I have added niminy-piminy to the original post because it's in the OED as 'prim, affected'. I confess I've never heard the combination "shag-tag" but if other QI contributors can vouch for its authenticity as being in common use I'll add it to the list. (Heaven knows how I'll find a neutral way to describe the meaning!)

I think we must exclude phrases as well, the targets here are single two-phoneme words (such as kowtow) or a (possibly)hyphenated pair of words such as easy-peasy. Thanks again.


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