Toodle-oo and other borrowings from French

Posted by Keith Rennie on December 12, 2004

In Reply to: Toodle-oo posted by TheFallen on December 11, 2004

: : This is how the Oxford Slang dictionary spells it. They also say it's of unknown origin. Does anyone else think it may be a bastardization of the french "a toute a l'heure" meaning "see you soon?" The two phrases sound very very similar.

: I quite like that theory, as it sounds plausible - both expressions being ways of saying goodbye informally. Plenty of language has migrated both ways across the English Channel - the French may hate such obvious Anglicisms as "le weekend", but in the past they've had such things as "le redingote", a short gentleman's jacket (from riding coat) and "le boulingrin", a well-manicured lawn (from bowling green).

: The one thing that counts against the "à toute à l'heure" derivation of toodle-oo is that there's a near-identical slang English expression from the same era, "toodle-pip". I'm unsure if this is significant or not.

And when you are invited to dinner and they say "pas de smoking" it doesn't mean "no smoking" it means, dress informally, dont wear a dinner jacket/tuxedo.

I like the proposed derivation of toodle-oo too. There are a great many scarcely acknowledged borrowings of words and phrases from French esp in scots:
- Ah'm no fashed = I'm not troubled (= faché);
- He's fu' (drunk) (= fou, crazy) rather than full;
gardy-loo (gardez l'eau) - you all know the context, surely !;
- Dollar (place name)=douleur, nothing to do with currency;
and so on. Some such as the above are very old, but quite a few came from the two World Wars, especially WWI.