[lit-ideas] Re: The arrogance of Americans and Marlene Dietrich

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 8 May 2008 19:06:13 -0700

On May 8, 2008, at 5:59 PM, Robert Paul wrote:

Lawrence wrote

After posting my note I realized I had made a mistake in it. I was only six when World War II broke out and so even less likely to know what “ty-ty” means. Maybe Robert Paul who is much older and wiser will know. If I had to guess, I would say it might be a contraction of “hoity-toity.” The sense of what you quoted would permit hoity-toity – sort of.

I think Lawrence's suggestion is right: 'hoity-toity,' and 'highty- tighty' pick out the same concept, although 'hoity-toity' now seems to be the preferred spelling. It isn't hard to see 'ty ty' as a weird regional variant of the latter. Despite my age and innocence, I've never heard an American say 'ty ty' to mean either hoity-toity or highty-tighty (or to mean anything, for that matter). When I saw the expression in David's post, I thought of Nöel Coward. Don't ask me why.

Both these hyphenated expressions seem to mean 'arrogant and aloof,' so I'm not clear why they would be used to explain why Dietrich's looks were disappointing.

Perhaps he preferred the wholesome, farm-raised type?

Until I can think of another explanation, I'll go with yours. The nearest Partridge can come--and he's usually very good on military slang--is tyo for "tired." Dietrich was looking rather tired or haggard? I think it's more likely that someone found her eyebrows a little too intimidatingly elegant.

This is very good on how the meaning of hoity-toity changed over time:


David etc.------------------------------------------------------------------
To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: