Bada-bing


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Bada-bing'?

‘Bada-bing’ is an exclamation suggesting that something is going to happen, easily and predictably – something like ‘Hey Presto!‘.

For emphasis, it is sometimes extended to ‘bada-bing-bada-boom’.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Bada-bing'?

I don’t think that I, as a native of England, had ever come across the phrase ‘bada-bing’ other than as the name of the strip club in The Sopranos. They used the spelling Bada Bing!. That name was chosen as a nod towards James Caan’s character in The Godfather, who used the phrase repeatedly.

Not many in the UK would know it, but the phrase does have a meaning. It follows the common pattern of ablaut reduplicated phrases. That is, one word followed by a second word with the vowel changed. These expressions are often indicative of a twoing and froing action – like chit-chat or zig-zag. This suits the ‘it was like this, then suddenly it was like that‘ meaning of the phrase.

The expression ‘bada-bing’ is Italian, as you might expect from the above references. It clearly pre-dates the 1972 Godfather movie and featured, as ‘bada-bing-a-bada-bang-a-bada-bing’ in the Italian-American Pat Cooper’s My Hero comedy routine in 1965.

Trend of bada – bing in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.