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We had an engineer at our house the other day to check an appliance and he used the term 'tickety boo' at least three times. Clearly being British I am aware of the expression, and I also think I know what it means i.e that everything is running smoothly. But what is its origin?

marked as duplicate by StoneyB, rajah9, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Mari-Lou A, RyeɃreḁd Oct 15 '13 at 20:58

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  • 1
    You should conduct some elementary research, post your findings, and then ask questions that can help dispel any disambiguation for the listed findings. Currently you are asking people to google "tickety boo" for you. – RenaissanceProgrammer Oct 15 '13 at 19:20
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    Discussion and alleged duplication alike seem to lack this vital connection from Merry Andrew with Danny Kaye (1958). – Brian Donovan Dec 11 '14 at 8:37

Chambers gives the following definition:

tickety-boo adj
dated Brit colloq fine; satisfactory.

Oxford has

tickety-boo adjective
[predic.] British informal, dated
in good order; fine: everything is tickety-boo
Origin: 1930s: perhaps from Hindi ṭhīk hai 'all right'

Wiktionary states:

I understand that the origin is India. In Hindi, "Tikai babu" means "It's alright, Sir." While India was governed under the British Empire, British airmen picked up the expression and it evolved into its current form. Canadian soldiers picked up the expression from their British allies during World War 2, and introduced it into Canadian jargon soon after.

On the other hand, Dictionary.com and TheFreeDictionary (both referencing the same source) suggest:

Origin: 1935–40; perhaps expressive alteration of the phrase that's the ticket.

  • 3
    Thanks for your considerable effort with this one. Do you think, also. that the term is conveniently alliterative, the sound replicating that of a railway engine if you say it over and over again? Tickety-boo, tickety-boo, tickety-boo! The British, the Indians and the railway system of India were, after all, locked in a romantic triangle of aspiration in the early-20th century. – WS2 Oct 16 '13 at 10:16

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