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iturntoyou
06-03-2008, 01:06 PM
I saw a TV show and the old lady said "I don't care as long as you don't call me 'toots'."

I assume toots is short for Tootsie. I Google'd around for the word but all I can find is Tootsie is a nickname. Did it have any other meaning? Or is it simply just a nickname?

Sigmagirl
06-03-2008, 01:26 PM
My Oxford English Dictionary says that "tootsie" in various spellings (tootsey) entered the English language as a fond sort of nickname for a woman's or child's foot (if you go out in the rain, you'll get your tootsies wet) in 1854. It probably came from that, though the OED does not say.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
06-03-2008, 01:37 PM
Online Etymology [toot] (http://etymonline.com/index.php?l=t&p=15) attests it since 1936, but doesn't offer an opinion as to the origin.

How about from "Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye?" That was some years earlier, and it could have helped mainstream its use.

Sigmagirl
06-03-2008, 02:00 PM
In the 1937 file Nothing Sacred, a man is trying to talk to his excitable brother over the phone. The brother has trouble understanding the man's explanation of a "nurse . . . nurse! Yeah . . . like a tootsie." So by then "tootsie" meant a girl; in this context a hottie.

Gymnopithys
06-03-2008, 02:21 PM
Also sounds like a diminutive of "toes".

CookingWithGas
06-03-2008, 03:59 PM
Has nobody ever seen the movie "Tootsie"? Tootsie and Toots are ostensibly affectionate terms for girls or women but due to the context in which they are typically used tend to objectify the subject.

"Hey, Toots! Nice ass!"

Of course, there is George Carlin's treatment....

Peter Morris
06-03-2008, 04:42 PM
<Peter's Folk Etymology> from the French tout de suite indicating that she's a fast woman, or that she's sweet </PFE>

samclem
06-03-2008, 07:59 PM
I can take it back to at least 1883. The current online OED has 1895.

It meant "sweetheart." A term of endearment. And, at that time, it was usually spelled "tootsey wootsey."

So, calling someone "toots" was like a waitress calling you sweetie, at least in the last 75+ years. Some people just don't want to be called by a term such as that.

Xema
06-03-2008, 10:29 PM
It meant "sweetheart." A term of endearment. And, at that time, it was usually spelled "tootsey wootsey."

The song "In the Good Old Summertime" (which apparently dates from 1902) uses this.

panache45
06-04-2008, 12:00 AM
The song "In the Good Old Summertime" (which apparently dates from 1902) uses this.
Specifically, it contains the term "tootsie-wootsie."

iturntoyou
06-04-2008, 12:19 AM
I know the song Meet Me in St Louis was written in 1904 and contains the line

"We will dance the Hoochee Koochee,
I will be your tootsie wootsie,"

So it'd go back to then, but I was kind of wondering if it had any meaning or was just a funny nickname for a woman in general.

I saw on Wikipedia that Tootsie Roll Pops were named for the founders nickname for his daughter Tootsie who was a kid but the original phrase came up when the old lady on the TV show said "Just don't call me toots," so it seemed to be an insult.

So I was thinking it was deraugatory but now it may be a name for a young girl and the lady was old, that's why she didn't want to be called Toots?

CookingWithGas
06-04-2008, 08:00 AM
So I was thinking it was deraugatory but now it may be a name for a young girl and the lady was old, that's why she didn't want to be called Toots?Like many terms of endearments, context is everything. If you're mom calls you "honey" you probably don't mind. If a construction worker says, "Hi, honey!" as you're walking down the sidewalk you probably do mind. A term like "toots" can be used to mean, "you're merely a female."

Gary T
06-04-2008, 08:32 AM
I can't help but think it might be related to or even derived from the Cajun term "toot toot," meaning "sweetheart," from the the French "mà chere tout-tout".

Dinsdale
06-04-2008, 08:54 AM
How about Toots and the Maytals and Toots Schor?

mwbrooks
06-04-2008, 05:27 PM
Like many terms of endearments, context is everything. If you're mom calls you "honey" you probably don't mind. If a construction worker says, "Hi, honey!" as you're walking down the sidewalk you probably do mind. A term like "toots" can be used to mean, "you're merely a female."

Or a person might simply dislike a particular term. The lady may have hated a person called Toots, or someone who called her Toots. Life is full of little landmines like that.

One of my wife's enduring mysteries that she violently dislikes any and all terms of endearment. I don't know why. I can't even call her "honey bunch." :)

John DiFool
06-04-2008, 06:22 PM
What's odd is that, if you are talking about the sound a tugboat makes, you say "TOOTs" (oo sound).

If you are talking about a saucy female of the species, then it's "TUHTs" (short u sound).

Inigo Montoya
06-04-2008, 06:45 PM
I can't help but think it might be related to or even derived from the Cajun term "toot toot," meaning "sweetheart," from the the French "mà chere tout-tout".
"Don't mess with my toot toot" (http://metrolyrics.com/toot-toot-lyrics-fats-domino.html), readily adapts to Zydeco for what it's worth.

I know French as a language is slow to change, how far back doe the "tout de suite" folk etymology work? Given English speakers' propensity to picking up foreign terms and fiddling with 'em almost mischievously, I'm partial to the French connection.

And why a woman, later on, wouldn't want to be called "toots?" Well, sounds a little like "tits" doesn't it?

Mister Rik
06-04-2008, 07:31 PM
The oldest reference I ever heard was in an old Donald Duck cartoon. Donald was portraying a sailor on shore leave, and in one scene he climbed out of a cab and greeted a pretty girl on the sidewalk with "Hiya, Toots!".

Also, my dad called my sister "Toots" when we were kids. More accurately, he called her "T1R Toots". I have absolutely no idea what the "Tee-One-Ar" meant. Except now that I've spelled it out it looks like a corruption of "Tijuana".

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