I'd like to know how to use the idiom: Super Duper. It seems to be a slang which means great or marvelous. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/superduper

But, one of my colleagues sometimes says "I'm super duper busy today!" She is a non-native English speaker. Is that usage also correct?

I also want to know the nuance of this idiom. Is it appropriate to use in a business setting?

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    I would avoid using it in formal communications. Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 4:52
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    @Scott your dry understatement made me lol, thanks. It's worth noting that you wouldn't normally use even the plain "super" as a superlative in a business communication - it's way too informal. You would only use it to refer to things that already had the word "super" in them, like a "super PAC (political action comittee)" for example. Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 6:47
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    "I'm super duper busy today!" is "correct" usage but in any sort of business setting (such as email or formal conference), "Super duper" is inappropriate. Attempt to distance yourself from the phrase as it is very childish.
    – R3D
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 14:22

2 Answers 2


Super duper is a rhyming reduplication of "super". The expression is informal and somewhat dated (usage attested from the '40s):

  • reduplication of super, (informal) extremely pleasing, impressive, etc: often used as an exclamation(First Known Use: 1940) M-W


(old-fashioned, informal)

  • excellent - OLD
  • Your colleague is saying she is super (extremely/very) busy.

Super is also an adverb:.

  • Especially; extremely: a super accurate missile; was super careful.

In this specific case alone Duper intensifies super, usually in a childish, peppy or playful way. One of Barney the Dinosaur's catchphrases is "Super-Dee-Duper!", as if to intensify the sentiment even further. You can see that there's a DVD called Barney: Super-Dee-Duper Day! here. I consider the usage significant, because Barney has been famed as a Public Broadcasting Station mascot throughout the U.S.A. for decades now. You can see the April 11th, 1993 New York Times article TELEVISION VIEW; Of Dinosaurs Why Must This One Thrive? by James Goreman for proof of that.

However, almost as if because it is so cheery, "Super Duper" is rarely used in its literal sense by adults. It is more likely to be said sardonically by them, when they are frustrated, dissatisfied or unimpressed.

Al sardonically joked, "I'm super duper, it's a blast waking up and blowing chunks." He wiped his mouth and sniped, "It's really my hobby." — Who's Laughing Now? by Jefferson Lang, page 208, paragraph 3

If you don't already know, "blowing chunks" probably means puking by the way, 'cause chunks of broken up food come out of your mouth.

Blow Chunks: "1. (idiomatic, slang) To vomit chunks of undigested food."

Excerpt from Wikitionary under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license

That's obviously no fun, so you can tell Al does not really mean what he said.

In this case, I'd make a small wager that she's saying it in an exasperated way, as if the breath has been stolen right out of her because of how very busy and possibly even frustratingly fatigued she is. You'll encounter it from time to time in business settings being used like that, but like Scott said in his comment it's informal.

Some people might even consider habitual use highly annoying. It's especially the case for employers who either feel as if they feel guilty of overworking their employees, or feel as if their employees are not pitching in their fair share and up to the task. Just in order to be on on the safe side, don't tell the boss.

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    Wow, this is a tough answer to vote on! For sheer energy and unfettered enthusiasm, +1. For the gratuitous detail on puking, -1. For the 2nd last sentence: WTF? -1. For a marvellously offbeat quotation, +2! For intimating that "duper" has a literal meaning, -1. For introducing the bizarre variant super-dee-duper, -1. Hmm: net -1. You could edit to regain my vote... Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 7:19
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    @Chappo I don't really care about the rep. points so much as getting the point across fully, accurately and convincingly. You're right that Duper doesn't have this signification on its own although it does have literal meaning as an entirely different type of word. I wanted to mention reduplication, but I forgot the word until Josh61 answered. Come to think of it, Josh's answer probably mentioned several things I should've mentioned but now it'd feel like plagiarism to include those now. Oh well.
    – Tonepoet
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 7:38

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