Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Anyone who has lived in the Southern United States is familiar with the term “Bubba.” It’s a popular nickname in this part of the world, one that also functions as a term of endearment. Elsewhere, it finds use as a mildly pejorative synonym for “redneck”: “My brother-in-law is such a bubba, when we served corn on the cob at the Fourth of July picnic last year, he saved the cobs to wipe his ass with.”

Bubba is frequently the sobriquet of an elder brother... which makes perfect sense, because “bubba” is exactly how a small child might pronounce the word “brother.” Similarly, elder sisters in this part of the world were often called “Tipper” - a childish mispronunciation of “sister.” The most well-known Tipper in recent years is Tipper Gore, the former wife of Al “Father of the Internet” Gore and champion of the concept of slapping warning labels on music with offensive lyrics.

There’s another folk etymology out there for Tipper: that it derives from the 1940 song “Tippy, Tippy, Tin.” But that’s a load of crap, because the name predates the song by a long shot. Others claim that it comes from the Irish word tabar, meaning “well.” But I tend to believe in Occam’s Razor in these matters: the simplest explanation is probably the right one.

So Bubba and Tipper are really Brother and Sister. Makes perfect sense to me.

[I learned all this from Recondo32 at the recent Hysterics at Eric’s, for which a Fedora-Tip is due.]


Anonymous said...

We'll make you southern yet.

Erica said...

Yet another reason why Recondo32 is one of the most cool and interesting peeps around. I wonder if there is any hope for me to become Southern...