doozy

“Doozy” means an extraordinary one of its kind, whether good or bad. A rollercoaster may offer a doozy of a ride, and you can have a doozy of a headache.

Lots of people think the word doozy comes from Duesenberg, the name of a now-defunct car company that some say produced the finest American cars ever. The vehicles were known as Duesies in the 1920s and 1930s. 

It’s a good story, but it doesn’t fly chronologically. “Doozy,” meaning “stylish” or “splendid,” according to the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, first appeared about 1903, some seventeen years before the Duesenberg Motor Company began manufacturing passenger cars.

Another theory for the source of the word is “daisy,” which at one time was used to mean “a first-rate person or thing.” But that was English slang, from the 1700s on, for something that was particularly appealing or excellent. It crossed the Atlantic into North America in the early 1800s and appeared in Thomas Chandler Haliburton’s The Clockmaker of 1836: “I raised a four year old colt once, half blood, a perfect picture of a horse, and a genuine clipper, could gallop like the wind; a real daisy, a perfect doll, had an eye like a weasel, and nostrils like Commodore Rodgers’s speakin’ trumpet.”

“Dozy,” a word that is spelled almost the same, means feeling sleepy and not very alert, if you are in North America. It was first recorded in eastern Ohio in 1916. If you are in Britain, it is popular slang for a stupid or annoying person. It’s often paired with an adjective, the most popular being “He’s a dozy pillock.”

And that’s a double insult, because “dozy” means stupid, and “pillock” means stupid.

But these three words offer a good range of meaning. Daisy means “good.” Doozy means “good or bad.” And dozy is definitely “bad.”

There are days when I can use all three words for the computer. And sometimes myself.

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