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The Pet Name “Booby”

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  • I’m a little late to the game. I’ve been binge-listening to past episodes and was so excited when I heard this one. My aunt has always called my brother Booby. He never really liked it, but it continues even though he’s in his mid 30s. She isn’t British. Her entire family is from Belleville, Illinois. As far as I know, he’s the only one in the group of cousins that she gave a nickname, and this is the one she picked.

  • I heard this today….my dad has always us “booby” as a term of endearment. He had told me that it was Yiddish. Not like “Bubbie” (grandma) but pronounced “booby”.

  • “Hans, bubbie…” is definitely from the Yiddish, as I suspect is the origin on this caller’s pet name as well. Rather than pronounced as “booby,” blue-footed or otherwise, the Yiddish “u” sound is somewhere between the English short u and oo sounds, which is where I think the confusion lies. “Bubbie” (grandmother) is often used *by* a grandmother as a term of endearment for young children, often as the diminutive “bubbeleh” (little grandmother), with role-reversing family-names common in this and other cultures. So when he calls Hans “bubbie” he’s talking to him in a very familial way, like a grandparent would talk to a young child, more like the English “Hans, kiddo” but more cuddly.

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