to-do » ta-do

Variant(s):  ta do, tado, ta-doo, ta doo, tadoo

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “A festuche is a brohaha or a big deal or a tado.” (link)
  • “Plus we’ve both been married before and knew that we didn’t want a big tadoo.” (link)
  • “The local media made a big ta do about the opening of the dealership and the test drives they offered.” (link)
  • “Plus, it’s all pretty much taken care of by the time we arrive and I don’t have to make a big ta-do out of it.” (link)
  • “Out in PA, there’s a big ta-doo over hiring more police. WHAT THE FUCK FOR?!” (link)
  • “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, we had a big ta doo with NTL and had solicitor letters etc but in the end they backed down …” (link)

The first cite I came across in writing Language Log posting of 7 September 2006 on an entirely different subject. As I said there, “ta-do” and its variants seem to have “to-do” reshaped to echo the “ta-DAH” that introduces some big announcement, imitating a trumpet flourish. Googling on <"a big tado"> gets 43 raw webhits, most of them relevant; the more clearly onomatopoetic <"a big tadoo"> gets even more, 95; <"a big ta-do">, with its visual separation into two parts, gets 267, of both “a big ta-do” and “a big ta do”; and <"a big ta-doo"> gets 54 more, of both “a big ta-doo” and “a big ta doo”.

[Added 15 September 2006: Doug Kenter suggests that “whoopdedoo” might have contributed to the reshaping.]

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2006/09/08 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Dale Dennie , 2006/09/20 at 12:38 pm

    Has anyone explored the possibility that “to do” is being melded with its synonym “ado”?

  2. 2

    Commentary by Beverly , 2006/10/04 at 9:20 pm

    When you note that “the first cite” you came across, were you deliberately engaging in the practice of which you write? To cite something is to reference it in some way. A site, by contrast, is a location, n’est-ce pas? Live by the sword …

    [from AMZ, 28 December 2006: “cite” here is not a mistake for “site”; it is a clipped version of “citation”. This usage is common among lexicographers.]

  3. 3

    Commentary by Marnen Laibow-Koser , 2006/12/21 at 6:59 pm

    That’s more than just a possibility, Dale. I’ve seen “much to-do about nothing” used.

    [from AMZ, 28 December 2006: there is an entry for ado >> to-do,…]

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