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Mox Nix

Posted by R. Berg on January 27, 2003

In Reply to: Mox-Nix, QT, and Side-Show Bob posted by ESC on January 27, 2003

: : So, after a much fruitless discussion with a friend, I'm offering these three up for discussion:

: : "Mox Nix" (which I've also seen as Mocks Nicks, but that seems wrong to me...) There is some mention of a WWII reference and the German "Machts nichts." If anyone can provide a literal definition in addition to the background, that'd be great. Particularly, if someone says "I'm Mox Nix on disco music" -- does that mean he/she is ho-hum on it, or that he/she actively dislikes it?

: : "On the QT" I understand on the DL (Down Low), but QT? All I can think is QuieT... And are DL and QT recent phrases or wartime acronyms?

: : Finally, "Side-Show Bob." If you've ever been to Dim Sum, you often hear people ordering "Side-Show Bob." I know that this is the Americanized version of the name for BBQ pork dumplings, but I'm wondering what the actual name is in Chinese (in roman script please!).

: : Thanks all.

: If you'll search the discussion archives under "quiet," you can access more discussion about "on the Q.T."

: Q.T. - "A British broadside ballad contained the line 'Whatever I tell you is on the Q.T.' This is the first record of Q.T. for 'on the quiet, in confidence' recorded in English, but no one has established whether the broad-side's anonymous author was the first person to use the initials Q.T. to stand for quiet.

: 'On the Q.T.' gained more popularity when it appeared in an 1891 minstrel show number called 'Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay.' London 'went stark mad over the refrain,' which was written by Henry J. Sayers and sung by Lottie Collins. The first stanza follows:
: A sweet Tuxedo girl you see,
: Queen of swell society,
: Fond of fun as fun can be
: When it's on the strict Q.T.
: I'm not too young, I'm not too old,
: Not too timid, not too bold,
: Just the kind of sport I'm told -
: Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay.

: If you or your children grew up with 'Howdy Doody' (a U.S. children's show) you'll notice the similarity between 'Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay' and Howdy's theme song." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

"Mox nix" is an American version, from World War II, of the German "es macht nichts."
"The orig. form . . . seems to have been 'mox nix for old ish' (Ger. 'Ich', I), 'It makes no difference -- it doesn't matter -- to me'" (Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British," 1985).

So it seems that the person who is mox nix on disco music is indifferent to it.