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The Pet Name "Booby"
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Grant Barrett
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A Canadian-born caller says her mother, who is from Britain, addresses her grandson as booby. In The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, researchers Iona and Peter Opie write that booby is a children’s term for “a foolish crybaby,” which may be connected. This is part of a complete episode.

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I was wondering if the origin of ‘booby’ could be the German ‘Bube’ (little boy, affectionately)? I expect Martha to know.

Bert van Leeuwen

the Netherlands.


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.

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