3

I was video-documenting on my cellphone like a goddamn wazoo.

What does wazoo mean in that sentence? I googled it, and the results seemed to indicate wazoo means ass. Is that what it means in the sentence?

closed as off-topic by Hot Licks, TimLymington, michael_timofeev, user140086, Nathaniel Jan 11 '16 at 6:41

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it totally lacks context. – Hot Licks Jan 9 '16 at 22:26
  • It's a nonsense word. – Mitch Jan 9 '16 at 22:32
  • 1
    It's not rocket science. "Wazoo" is a euphemism for "a-sh-le." Just switch "wazoo" with "as-ho-e," and you'll see who you are, what you are. If you don't, I'm sure some other "assh-l-" will whip out his phone in your general direction, hold it bizarrely way out in front of themselves for an uncomfortable amount of time until they've decide to stop and upload it to YouTube and send you the link so that you can see exactly what an "-sshol-," erm "wazoo", looks like. – Benjamin Harman Jan 10 '16 at 4:50
1

The use in the sentence you provided,

I was video-documenting on my cellphone like a goddamn wazoo.

reflects this meaning:

  1. up (also out) the wazoo: in great quantities, in abundance, to excess.

["wazoo, n.". OED Online. December 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/251512?redirectedFrom=wazoo (accessed January 09, 2016). Bold emphasis mine.]

The extreme variability of slang ('wazoo') allows it to be used productively with idiomatic phrasing that resembles what has historically been the norm, as long at the rephrasing is felt by the speaker to be easily interpreted; in this case, the idiomatic use of "[up (also out)] the wazoo" has been replaced by the bare use of the slang term.

So, the sense you encountered means

I was video-documenting on my cellphone a lot [or in excess].

  • 1
    Without the context you don't know. It could mean "... like an idiot", or it could mean "... like crazy" (ie, a lot). Or could mean something else. – Hot Licks Jan 10 '16 at 1:33
  • 1
    It's not all that esoteric. If you take the nonsense word "wazoo" to mean "idiot" you get an entirely different meaning. The speaker could very well mean, in effect, "I was stupidly documenting all the while that XXX was happening, and I should have been worried about that." WITHOUT THE CONTEXT WE DON'T KNOW. – Hot Licks Jan 10 '16 at 1:54
  • 1
    You're very familiar with the idiom "up the wazoo". That's the only context where "wazoo" has a reasonably firm definition. Literally, since "wazoo" means "ass", "like a goddamn wazoo" means "like a goddamn ass", which, as I said, can be taken to mean "like a goddamn idiot". – Hot Licks Jan 10 '16 at 3:14
  • 1
    The first time I encountered the word "wazoo" in U.S. English speech was back in the 1970s in a memorable joke about a policeman who stops a motorist for some minor alleged infraction. The motorist is exceedingly (and carefully) polite to the policeman, but then he asks (as it were) out of the blue, "Say, is that a wazoo fly buzzin' 'round your head?" The policeman angrily says, "Wazoo fly? Are you sayin' I'm full of shit?" The motorist hurriedly responds, "Oh, no. Oh, no sir!" but then murmurs under his breath, "Can't fool them wazoo flies." – Sven Yargs Jan 10 '16 at 4:41
  • @JEL - I'm thinking I first heard "up the wazoo" out of the mouth of one Clay Orchard back ca 1970. (There are a few other candidates from that era, but they generally used less elegant expressions.) I have also heard "what the wazoo" (meaning "what the fuck") and several other constructions. In my experience the word does not always mean "in excess''. But then you've no doubt got knowledge on the subject like a goddamn wazoo. – Hot Licks Jan 10 '16 at 13:31
1

Robert Chapman & Barbara Kipfer, Dictionary of American Slang, third edition (1995) has this entry for wazoo:

wazoo n 1970s The buttocks; anus; =ASS {perhaps a variant of kazoo [which is defined similarly, with this further etymological note "origin unknown; perhaps fr[om] Louisiana French zoozoo, "buttocks, ass"; perhaps kazoo, known in its standard sense fr[om] the 1880s, suggested the anus in being tubular and emitting sounds"]}

As JEL's answer indicates, "up the wazoo" (meaning "to the breaking point" or "to the limit of [one's] patience or tolerance") is the most common idiomatic setting for the word wazoo in informal U.S. English.

"Like a wazoo" is not a common expression in North America, as far as I know—it doesn't produce any matches in a Google Books search, and very few in an Internet Google search where wazoo functions as a noun—but the sense in the example sentence seems to be something like "as if possessed" or "like a crazy person."

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.