© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations



Commentator Brian McConnachie has been delighting in the way some words sound.


Stuck in a traffic jam, I noticed people don't call each other nincompoops anymore. And considering what we do call each other, nincompoop sounded pretty elegant. Then I sort of tumbled down a rabbit hole of rhythmic sounds I hadn't heard in a while, like fuddy-duddy, dillydally, Piggly Wiggly, wallah wallah, wickywacky, funny bunny, howdy doody, "Hokey Pokey," whoopsie daisy, loosey-goosey, Lackawanna, mamma mia, higgledy-piggledy, willy-nilly, bula bula, Tricky Dicky, ticky-tacky, Betsy Wetsy, Cancun, Lorna Doon, hubba-hubba, lucky ducky, Santa Ana, Ouagadougou, candelabra, hacky sacky, knickknack, Silly Billy, Wagga Wagga, tutti-frutti, cruncha cruncha, Benihana, chunky monkey, hully gully, "Hokey Pokey," Honolulu, Steady Eddie, ipso facto, hunky-dory, Polly wolly, Harry Carey, ipse dixit, Shuga Wuga, Luca Brasi--Luca Brasi?

Roly-poly, acetabula, Halle Berry, motor scooter, Handy Andy, golden oldie, Lille Langtry, calla lily, Nagasaki, freaky deaky, Catalina, Kitty Kelley, holy moly, Lana Turner, Ling-Ling, Scooby Dooby, Tamiami, Willy Wonka, Andy Panda, kumquat, kowtow, couscous, Corpus Christi, Fannie Farmer, oogabogga, helter skelter, teeter-totter, Peterborough, Pango Pango, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Weehawken, topsy-turvy, cuckoo clock and, again, nincompoop. Thank you, and bye-bye.

(Soundbite of "Mamma Mia")

ABBA: (Singing) Mamma mia, here I go again. My, my, how can I resist...

NORRIS: Brian McConnachie lives in New York, New York.

(Soundbite of "Mamma Mia")

ABBA: (Singing) Mamma mia, does it show again, my, my, just how much I missed you? Yes, I've been brokenhearted, ooh, since the day we started.

ROBERT SIEGEL (Host): This is NPR, National Public Radio. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Brian McConnachie
Journalism at this station is made possible by donors who value local reporting. Donate today to keep stories like this one coming. It is thanks to your generosity that we can keep this content free and accessible for everyone. Thanks!