Thursday, 1 September 2011

Word of the day

Today's word is tickety boo. Going smoothly, doing alright, copacetic according to the Urban Dictionary. Copacetic?
As an optimist, I like cheerful, upbeat expressions, and this is one of them, albeit one which has largely passed out of use. I had thought that this might be one of those expressions from my parents' times which had become quaintly archaic.

In fact, if you use Google's Books invaluable Ngram and search for tickety boo you will find out that the word suddenly came into use in 1940, disappeared in 1961, and climbed back in the 1970s and 1980 to peak in the late 1980s. I guess that the small number of examples in the sample may give a wrong impression, and also (after looking at some examples) it is clear that the word was used in recent books to give an archaic, 40s and 50s flavour to writing.
Searching the word in Google Books (which is what Ngram does) turns up some wonderful examples. Here's one from William Safire's collected columns, In love with Norma Loquendi (1994):
Everything has gone tickety-boo. "I thought I had found a new expression," my Texas citator added, "but my wife informs me that the actress Maggie Smith used this word in the 1982 movie Evil Under the Sun, based on a Hercule Poirot ..."

So tickety boo is probably how you want to be today. I hope it works out that way on Wattle Day 2011.