January 11, 2004 12:30 PM   Subscribe

What does the suffix "a' go-go" mean? You see it everywhere, attached to all sorts of things.

Searching for the meaning is difficult, because google just spits back all kinds of Whatever-a-go-go page titles. I think it's from around the sixties, maybe as a kind of nonsense addition, like "Atomic" or other expressions of the time. But I can't seem to find any real origin or meaning.
posted by tirade to Writing & Language (9 answers total)
Doesn't it just mean something is groovy and hip and retro (in a swinging 60s way), like "Ye Olde ..... Shoppe" means that the place is quaint and sells souvenirs or candles or maps or old books and stuff?
posted by amberglow at 12:36 PM on January 11, 2004

a-go-go: In a fast and lively manner.
posted by Aaorn at 12:36 PM on January 11, 2004

Thanks Aaorn. I had searched, but didn't hyphenate. D'oh.
posted by tirade at 12:42 PM on January 11, 2004

I have no backup for this, but I always thought it was a term from the 60s that referred to go-go bars. hip and happening. the "a" I always thought was a nod to the French--as in à la carte--sort of "in the style of".
posted by jpoulos at 12:47 PM on January 11, 2004

Goin' to a Go Go
posted by timeistight at 12:56 PM on January 11, 2004

Patio a-Go-Go! Pretty much sums it up!
posted by davidmsc at 2:39 PM on January 11, 2004

I always thought it was a term from the 60s that referred to go-go bars

And so it is; it comes from the Whiskey A Go-Go, America's first disco, which opened on the Sunset Strip in LA in January 1964. The name was taken from a similar French joint, where the name meant "as much whiskey as you want" or "whiskey to your heart's content" (à gogo means 'plenty of'), but in America it was just a catchy phrase, and "go-go" came to mean 'the kind of music/girls/scene you find at the Whisky.'
posted by languagehat at 7:10 PM on January 11, 2004

Merriam Webster via OneLook Dictionary
Main Entry: 1a-go-go
Pronunciation: ä-'gO-(")gO, &-
Function: noun
Etymology: Whisky à Gogo, café and discotheque in Paris, France, from French à gogo galore, from Middle French
Date: 1965
: a nightclub for dancing to pop music :
Main Entry: 2a-go-go
Function: adjective
Date: 1965
1 : GO-GO 1
2 : being in a whirl of motion
3 : being up-to-date -- often used postpositively

Whiskey A Go Go - Owners recall glory days of famous club (a good rock history read!) and the whiskey a go go.

on preview, languagehat is right on it!
posted by madamjujujive at 7:17 PM on January 11, 2004

Gosh, gosh--I am agog gog at some of the questions here.
posted by y2karl at 10:42 PM on January 11, 2004

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