Oh-la-la, mes amies! This week we focus on some French words that have become Anglicised. The French, of course, would suggest we’ve gone and corrupted those words. It’s all in the perspective . . . And of course, we shall tie it in with Mr. A.
Well, today’s word started out using “allez,” the imperative form of the French verb “aller” (to go) + hop/oop (an expressive word). Allez-hop or allez-oop is the cry of a circus performer about to leap and dates back to the early 1920s.
Give it a phonetic respelling and hey, presto! You have the word alley-oop.
Alley-oop: (interjection) Used as an exhortation or to signal the start of an activity.
Noun: A basketball move in which one player throws the ball to a player closer to the basket who catches it in mid-air and then puts it in the basket before hitting the floor.
To the best of my knowledge, Richard does not play basketball, although with his height and athleticism, he’s probably be pretty good at it.
Of course, Richard did spend six weeks working with a Budapest circus at 17 to earn that all-important Equity card (as if you didn’t know)–do you suppose any of the acrobats or other circus performances he assisted cried “Alley-oop?” Of course, he also spent time with those elephants, bless his heart . . . the things a determined young man will do to get his performing arts career underway!
The answer to that, of course, is “Anything you want, Richard, my dear.”