1. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England

    There is an expression in English "Alley Oop!" that was used to encourage circus animals to jump onto a box or through a hoop.

    Can anyone tell me if this comes from a French expression (perhaps containing 'allez') - if so how is it spelled?

    Many thanks.
  2. hersko1 Senior Member

    Paris - France
    French - France
    We indeed use "Allez hop !"
  3. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England
    Thanks hersko.

    Do you pronounce the 'z' or is it silent?
  4. Gravos Senior Member

    Français - France
    It is silent : pronounciation = "alé oppe"
  5. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England
    Thank you.
  6. hotpocket

    hotpocket Senior Member

    Douarnenez dans le Finistère
    American English / Boston
    I don't agree! I think this term has something to do with basketball...
  7. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    Now I understand hotpocket's comment, which was on the English term.
    The Oxford or wikipedia will indeed tell you that it comes from French "allez hop"

    So just to confirm was it still means in French.
    "allez hop" is commonly used when you want someone/an animal to jump for instance. "hop" is just an onomatopeia.
    Another example: telling your childre to get into the car:
    "Allez, hop, en voiture !"

    Concerning the pronunciation of "hop", it is closer to the English "hop" than the English "oop"
    /ale ɔp/
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  8. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Hauts-de-Seine, France
    English (Ireland)
    An alley oop (in English) is a basketball manoeuvre; I've never heard it used in any other context.
  9. Jorōgumo

    Jorōgumo Senior Member

    Il est intéressant de noter que ce n'est pas toujours vrai. Pour faire avancer des bestiaux, on entend souvent allez, hue, cocotte !​.
  10. misadro

    misadro Senior Member

    Commonly used for ... now do it/get down to work/get busy/start doing it (now let's do it/let's get down to work ...) With the additional meaning ... be quick about it (let's be quick about it)..
  11. Tochka Senior Member

    Your age reveals why this is so!;) The phrase has been around a looooooooong time, although judging from the comments of our younger forum members, it may well be dying out. When I was young this was very commonly said any time it an adult would lift a child up in the air, or bring us to our feet after we'd fallen down.
    There was even a comic character in my parents' time called "Alley Oop" -- named for the expression, not the other way around. And in the '50s or '60's' there was a song referring to the same character! My understanding is (and logic also dictates) that it does indeed come from the French.
    Ah, here we go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alley_Oop_(song)
    and the comic is discussed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alley_Oop
  12. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    It can be spelled – alley-oop, allez-oop, allez-up, ally-oop.

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was first recorded in 1917 (but therefore must have been around for longer than that.)

    I imagined that it would have been one of the words brought back by British Soldiers in the 1914-18 War, but was surprised to find it is American –
  13. Tochka Senior Member

    Although the Americans arrived late, they did join the same war in 1917 ;) and I believe the dough boys brought back a number of bastardized French expressions. (Je crois que "gams" pour "legs" remont à ce temps là: "she has a nice set of gams (jambes)!" and of course remember the song "Mademoiselle from Armentières" (with the chorus line "Inky dinky parlez-vous"). :D

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