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The expression "bada bing" and often accompanied by "bada boom" is used when something was very easily accomplished or as an euphemism of the nastier bits of something (like in the Godfather). A quick look on Wiktionary and Urban Dictionary confirms this.

It seems onomatopoetic because of bing and boom, but where does the "bada" come from? The whole phrase seems to be a recent invention according to this Ngram, starting in the late 1980's (surprising it was not sooner with the popularity of the aforementioned Godfather being released in 1972) peaking in the 2000's (possibly in part to the popularity of The Soprano's). The phrase does seem to go hand in hand with Mafioso culture as well.

So, where does this phrase come from and when did it take on its current meaning?

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The earliest usage of bada bing dates back to 1965, according to the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster.

About its etymology, the OED says 'Origin uncertain. Perhaps imitative of the sound of a drum roll and cymbal clash (compare boom-boom int.)'. Lexico says it was popularised by the US TV series The Sopranos. Dictionary.com says 'perhaps imitative of the sound of something clicking into place'. However, the real origin is unknown as mentioned by the OED.

Here's the example from 1965, used by Pat Cooper:

They never let go the envelopes. Ya gotta pull—bada-bing-a-bada-bang-a-bada-bing!
[OED]


According to WordSmith:

In 1958, he [Pat Cooper] premiered a routine entitled “The Italian Wedding” during which he used the phrase “bada-boom, bada-bing” in between descriptions of relatives who were scarfing down piles of capicolla sandwiches. An agent caught his act and booked him on The Jackie Gleason Show.

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  • So it did it become part of the Italian-American lexicon because the comic was Italian-American and then gained further popularity? Did Cooper's original usage have the same meaning it does today or did the words in context actually define it? – Skooba May 14 '20 at 12:19
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The OED suggests an AmE origin, probably from Italian immigrants as the first recorded usage suggests:

Bada Bing:

slang (originally and chiefly U.S.).

Suggesting something happening suddenly, emphatically, or easily and predictably; ‘Just like that!’, ‘Presto!’

  • 1965 P. Cooper Italian Wedding in Our Hero (transcription of sound recording of comedy routine) (O.E.D. Archive) They never let go the envelopes. Ya gotta pull—bada-bing-a-bada-bang-a-bada-bing!

Etymology: Origin uncertain. Perhaps imitative of the sound of a drum roll and cymbal clash (compare boom-boom int.). Perhaps compare Italian bada bene mark well.

From American Italian Dictionary:

Bada bing! – bam!; Note: Popularized in the 1970s by The Godfather character Santino Corleone.

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    This pretty much tells me what I already knew. If Cooper was the first to use the phrase did it also carry the same meaning or did Cooper words with context actually define it as well? – Skooba May 14 '20 at 12:20
  • @Skooba - Cooper was the first to put it down in writing, but the expression was already used among Italian immigrants who took it over from Italy. In Italian “bada ben“ and other variants are still used as a form of mild warning. In Italian American-English it lost its literal meaning and became a more general interjection. – user 66974 May 14 '20 at 12:38
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    Thanks, Hachi. If you have a source for that include it in your answer because that would be more of what I am after. – Skooba May 14 '20 at 13:53
  • The Italian origin is suggested by the OED, that’s why I chose that source where they mention “bada bene” as mark well. The environment in which the expression originated and evolved is Italian-American, (The Godfather, the Soprano etc.). Cooper just happened to be probably the first to put it down. Badare is an Italian verb that means, pay attention to, but also take care of. I’d reasonably suggest that’s where it comes from. – user 66974 May 14 '20 at 14:50

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