Oojipoo | It's a Thingamajig!


What is an Oojipoo?

Tom Dahlberg

What is an Oojipoo?

We wanted an online store that could sell just about anything and oojah is basically the same as a thingamajig, doohickey, or whatchacallit.

"Hey, hand me that thingamajig!" You might have uttered those words at some point, desperately trying to pinpoint a mysterious gadget without a name, or perhaps just suffering from a temporary brain freeze on the proper term. Whether you called it an oojah, thingamajig, or doohickey, you were speaking the quirky language of old-fashioned British slang.

This linguistic oddity had its glory days during World War I, concocted by witty British soldiers as part of their secret code. An eyebrow-raising piece in the Washington Post from July 22, 1917, sheds light on its early days:

"'Pass the oojah,' says the one-armed man while lining up his billiard shot. But what on earth is an oojah? It's anything under the sun; it's that thing you can't quite name or that name you've momentarily forgotten. Our billiard-playing friend, lacking a limb but not a sense of humor, simply needs the contraption to steady his cue, which, unfortunately, his missing hand can't do. So he cries out for the oojah, army slang for 'whatchamacallit.'"

After the war, this slang flourished even more as soldiers brought it back to civilian life. It morphed into various forms like oojah capivvy, oojah-cum-pivvy, ooja-ka-pivi, and oojipoo. Then there's oojah-cum-spiff, signaling that everything was hunky-dory, as P.G. Wodehouse humorously illustrates in "Right Ho, Jeeves":

"Yes, Aunt Dahlia, things may seem a bit wonky at the moment, but fear not! A Wooster is rarely stumped for long."

But while Woosters may stay unflappable, etymologists aren't so lucky. Despite many British Army slang terms being traced back to India, the origin of oojah remains a mystery. If it did hail from the Indian subcontinent, well, it's as lost as the word itself in the linguistic labyrinth.

We named our store Oojipoo because it means just about anything since we sell everything from Donald Trump t-shirts, hats and leggings to Mayonaisse commercial shirts for film crews and also it sounds better than plain, ole "Oojah" :)

Thanks to World Wide Words for this bit of wisdom!


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