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The meaning and origin of the expression: Super-duper

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Super-duper

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Super-duper'?

'Super-duper' means especially large, powerful or impressive; exceptional, marvellous.

It is used for emphasis - 'super' plus a bit more, and is often followed by an exclamation mark.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Super-duper'?

It will come as no surprise that 'super-duper' was coined in the USA.

The first use of it in print that I've found is in a 1969 informational magazine for teachers in (where else?) Texas, called The Texas Outlook:

Your play has to be a good one, and it has to be a super-duper production to gain and hold the attention of squirming, wriggling youngsters.

Super-duper follows the familiar reduplicated phrase recipe by taking a word with a meaning and adding a rhyming or alliterative second word. As is also common, the second word 'duper' has no meaning in itself, it's just there for emphasis. (Yes, I know 'duper' is a word, but the meaning 'one who dupes' isn't what's meant by this expression.)

The phrase appears a few times in print over the next ten years or so but didn't have a wide usage. What propelled it into the English language was the song that Irving Berlin wrote in May 1927 - Puttin' On the Ritz:

Dressed up like a million-dollar trooper
Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper (super-duper)
Come, let's mix where Rockefellers walk with sticks or umbrellas in their mitts
Puttin' on the ritz

What's the meaning and origin of the phrase 'Super-duper'?Fred Astaire's recording of the song, and the dance routine he performed with it, were a big hits in the late 1920s.

BTW. If you haven't seen the Puttin' on the ritz dance routine from Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein I can recommend it.

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