Oy-yey Lady? Oyez Man?
January 17, 2013 5:31 AM Subscribe
My grandmother (born in 1905) used to refer to herself as the "Oy-yey Lady" (I'm spelling phonetically here) every time she had to clean up something particularly gross (usually animal related). I'm wondering if it's a real word or something she made up.
posted by Sweetie Darling to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I thought of this last night as I scooped the litter box (seriously, I need the shovel the man behind the elephants uses) and wondered if it was maybe of Yiddish or Russian origin? It's also plausible she made it up, as she had a unique vocabulary. My mother thinks it might derive from the "oyez man" - maybe someone who cleaned outhouses? - but Google thinks that term refers to a town crier type person. So, I turn to the hive. Any idea of where that term could have come from and what it meant? I don't think it's her bastardization of "Oy vey," because she knew and used that phrase as well. She grew up upper-middle class Protestant (or possibly non-devout Catholic) in Baltimore. Sources especially welcome, so I can share with Mom. Thanks!