I've been watching Lethal Weapon and stumbled upon the word gaflooey. Here's some context:

Roger: "What you got?"

Riggs: "Part of the device. This is artwork. This is goddamn artwork."

Roger: "Well, I'm glad you like it."

Riggs: "You don't get it. This is real pro stuff. I haven't seen anything like this since the war. The CIA used it to hire mercs. They used the exact same setup. Mercury switches, gaflooey. That's heavy shit!"

What does the word gaflooey mean here?

  • 3
    I'm guessing it's a placeholder, like thingumajig, widget, or kadigan, used to mean an unspecified piece of complicated stuff. See this question: english.stackexchange.com/questions/160351/…
    – Stuart F
    Dec 13, 2021 at 20:37
  • 2
    kerflooey adjective (MW) (possible alternative spelling) ker·​floo·​ey | \ kər-ˈflü-ē \ Definition of kerflooey : AWRY, KAPUT
    – Xanne
    Dec 13, 2021 at 20:46
  • 1
    They might have said kablooey, to indicate an explosion. Hitting the mercury switch detonates something. If they did, in fact, say gaflooey, I would say it means the same thing as kablooey. Dec 13, 2021 at 20:54
  • 1
    'The lyricist Lorenz Hart was apparently fond of the word [Phooey]. He used it in the song “A Melican Man” in 1926: “Give Chinee man this chop suey / He’ll refuse it and say ‘Phooey’!” The following year, in the song “Whoopsie,” he used it to mean “mad” or “crazy”: “When ev’ry thing’s gaflooey / And life is simply phooey…” '
    – DjinTonic
    Dec 13, 2021 at 21:08
  • 2
    @DjinTonic: Look at kerflooey! (with the exclamation point) in Cassell's. It's an onomatopoeia for a sudden explosion. That appears to be what happened in the video clip. Dec 13, 2021 at 21:20


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