See you later, alligator

Pascal Tréguerlinguistics, music, USA và Canadaanimals, Bill Haley, Bobby Charles, fashion, food, newspapers và magazines, phonetics, phrases, slang, USA2 Comments

The colloquial see you later, alligator, which originated in American English, is a catchphrase used on parting. The expected response is in, or after, a while, crocodile.

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—Cf. also notes on ‘see you later, agitator’.

The earliest instance of see you later, alligator that I have found is from Teenagers’ Slang Expressions Are Explained by Columnists, by “Jackie & Jane, Star-Bulletin Teen Columnists”, published in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, Hawaii) of 1st May 1952:

Lots of the Hawaii-style slang can be credited to lớn or blamed on the Mainl&. Some of it’s strictly jive sầu talk. And of course there’s the additional “pidgin” & Hawaiian words to dress it up. <…> Besides the everyday “slang,” many high school students use expressions such as “toodle-oo tofu,” “so long, dai-kong,” or “see you later, alligator.” These sayings invite expressions like “see you soon, goon,” và “hit the road, toad.”

On 15th February 1954, The Kansas City Times (Kansas City, Missouri) published Words, Wit and Wisdom, in which William Morris wrote:

It has long been my conviction that the most effervescent và everchanging department of the American language is the subdivision labeled “Teenage slang.” So I suggested that my younger readers skết thúc in the favorite expressions of their teenage mix. Well the mails have brought literally hundreds of letters và postcards from youngsters all over the country. Here are just as few và catchphrases like: <…> Melt down & float away: meaning get lost, drop dead, or in grown-up language, go away. Go dad: meaning wonderful. Solid Jackson: meaning excellent. See you later, alligator: meaning good-bye.

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On 28th February 1954, The Sunday Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) published Do Kids Speak English?, in which Lester Rand, president of the Youth Research Institute, “an organization which exclusively surveys the tastes, attitudes and buying habits of young people five sầu through 25”, explained that youngsters develop their own talk as a way of excluding grownups; about see you later, alligator, he said:

“The ‘alligator’ is an all-encompassing term & relieves the tiệc nhỏ of having lớn recite several names.”

The author of the article, Beulah Racklin, wrote that, additionally:

Rhyming expressions, which are mainly for effect rather than khổng lồ convey any actual meaning, are very popular và somewhat confusing like ‘Do you know what I mean, jellybean?’ ‘Let me have sầu steak, Jake,’ ‘Have sầu a piece of salangươi, Tommy,’ etc. In few instances does the person addressed comply with the speaker’s demands. In most cases names are changed for ones that rhyme.

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So popular was the phrase that in 1955 it was one of the twenty-four slogans printed on the badges offered by Armour Star Franks, a brand of frankfurters; the following advertisement appeared in the Akron Beanhỏ Journal (Akron, Ohio) on 14th August of that year:

Read ’em & laugh! Wear ’em và be a leader in your crowd! These Breezy Buttons that come in packages of Armour Star Franks are real c-o-o-l. They show you are hep to lớn the lathử nghiệm jive sầu talk. There are 24 different breezy buttons. Each one with a different khẩu hiệu printed on it — plus a real laugh getting cartoon or smart design! And they are valuable, too. Made of svào metal with stay-on pins that’ll hold ’em tight to lớn your cap, shirt or belt. And that isn’t all, kids! Each button comes in two big bright colors like lemon and red, pink & green, orange & xanh — lớn name a few! Gee! There are 26 different color combinations that you can trade! You’ll want lớn get the most colors besides a complete mix of breezy slogans!

two illustrations for the advertisement for Armour Star Franks from the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) – 14th August 1955

 

See You Later, Alligator, a song written and first recorded in 1955 by the American singer-songwriter Bobby Charles (Robert Charles Guidry – 1938-2010) capitalised on the popularity of the catchphrase aý muốn children và teenagers.

The most popular recording of the song, however, is that made by Bill Haley* & His Comets later in 1955; it appears for example in this advertisement for Millikan’s Records, published in The Hammond Times (Hammond–East Chicago, Indiana) on 30th December 1955:

(* William John Clifton Haley (1925-81))

 

See You Later, Alligator – by Bobby Charles

https://michael-shanks.com.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/9a45d-see-you-later-alligator-bobby-charles.mp3

Well, I saw my baby walkin’ with another man today Well, I saw my baby walkin’ with another man today When I asked her what’s the matter This is what I heard her say

See you later alligator, after ’while crocodile See you later alligator, after ’while crocodile Can’t you see you’re in my way now Don’t you know you cramp my style

When I thought of what she told me, it nearly made me thất bại my head When I thought of what she told me, it nearly made me đại bại my head But the next time that I saw her I reminded her of what she said

See you later alligator, after ’while crocodile See you later alligator, after ’while crocodile Can’t you see you’re in my way now Don’t you know you cramp my style

She said I’m sorry pretty daddy, you know my love is just for you She said I’m sorry pretty daddy, you know my love sầu is just for you Won’t you say that you’ll forgive me And say you just love sầu me too

I said wait a minute ’gator, I know you meant it just for play I said wait a minute ’gator, I know you meant it just for play Don’t you know you really hurt me And this is what I have sầu to lớn say

See you later alligator, after ’while crocodile See you later alligator, after ’while crocodile Can’t you see you’re in my way now Don’t you know you cramp my style


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