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I Should Have Asked: Grandma, What's a Gazakus?
February 19, 2014 2:06 PM   Subscribe

My hilarious grandma (may she rest in peace) often used the word gazakus (sp?). Was it a nonsense word she made up, or is it a real word that actually means something?

For context, Grandma would say things like "you'll freeze your gazakus" or "don't fall on your gazakus." I always assumed that gazakus meant rump, but I never thought to ask. I also never thought to ask where she learned that word.

My questions for the hivemind are: has anyone else heard this word before? Is it a nonsense word my grandma made up, is it regional, or is it a real word in some other language?

If it helps, she was born in Lumber City, Pennsylvania (100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh) in 1904. She was a Protestant. She moved to Rochester, New York in her 20s and lived there until 1971, when she and my grandfather retired to Winter Haven, Florida. She died in 1996, before I got to ask her what the heck she was talking about.
posted by slmorri to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can you clarify how that's pronounced? GAZ-a-kus? gah-ZAW-kus?
posted by blue t-shirt at 2:07 PM on February 19


Are you sure that it's not a variation of tuchas?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:09 PM on February 19


How about gazookus?
posted by MsMolly at 2:12 PM on February 19 [2 favorites]


related to Yiddish loan word "tuchus"?
posted by Rock Steady at 2:19 PM on February 19


Not to threadsit, but just to answer the question above, she said it like ga-ZAH-kiss.
posted by slmorri at 2:21 PM on February 19


Yeah, gazookus. Here's the book MsMolly's link is citing with a secondary definition of "butt" (and also vagina, but your grandma probably wasn't as worried about anyone freezing or falling on that) starting around the 1960s.

Anecdata: I remember hearing the word growing up from adults in school-type situations who wanted a humorous but aggressively G-rated synonym for butt. A nonsense word, but a widespread one!
posted by superfluousm at 2:27 PM on February 19


Could just be a word from another language that she used as a stand-in for "butt". My mom and her sisters lived in Japan for a few years, and they do this with "gozaimasu" - it is part of the expression "ohayou gozaimasu" (good morning), but they use it when we are playing cards, "Geez, I've got hearts coming out the gozaimasu!"

I actually thought your grandma was using "gozaimasu" just like my family, and then I remembered that my family is a special kind of weird.
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:17 AM on February 20


Yeah, gazookus. Here's the book MsMolly's link is citing with a secondary definition of "butt"

“Gazoo” is probably related to “wazoo” and “yazoo,” as in “up the wazoo.”
posted by editorgrrl at 10:29 AM on February 20


If she read P. G. Wodehouse, could it be Gazeka? (From Mike.)
posted by phliar at 12:19 PM on February 20


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