Monday, January 16

Toodle Pip

One of the unheralded pleasures of the Gnome's working life is to sow seeds of doubt about his sanity to his American colleagues. He has found one of the most productive ways to do so is to use peculiarly English words and phrases in his everyday speech.

For example this afternoon he bid farewell to one such colleague with a cheery 'toodle pip', leaving said colleague unsure whether to consider himself praised, insulted or just lucky he was unafflicted by the Gnome's obvious verbal madness.

It got the Gnome thinking on the origin of 'toodle pip' and for once, a little work time Googling has left him none the wiser, although he discovered a number of sites with definitions for the phrase.

The Urban Dictionary offers two options - the more common usage of 'to say goodbye in a very friendly way', or as a description of an attractive infant (as in 'you have a very cute toodle pip there').

The English-to-American Dictionary offers just the former option - 'a cheerful (and rather old-fashioned) way of saying goodbye', but it concludes its entry by ruminating on the origins by saying 'where on earth it comes from, I'd like to know'

So at least the Gnome need not feel alone in his etymological failings.

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