an alligator joke (see you later/see you in a while)

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prudent260

Senior Member
Chinese
What 's the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?
One will see you later, and the other will see you in a while.

I don't get the punch line. Could you help?

Thank you
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "See you later, alligator" as a farewell dates from the 1940s or earlier, and quickly picked up the riposte "In a while, crocodile" (or "After (a) while, crocodile"). The phrase was the title of a hit song by Bill Haley in 1954.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    What 's the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?
    For the purposes of the phrase, there is no difference. The phrase uses rhyming. Two friends are saying good-bye to each other, and each turns what they say into a rhyme, by calling each other an alligagor/crocodile:

    (I'll) see you later, alligator.
    (I'll see you) after a while, crocodile

    "See you later" rhymes with "alligator".
    "After a while" rhymes with "crocodile".

    This was a 1950s popular song in the US. Those 2 lines (repeated several times) were the entire chorus. They made up a lot of the song. I still remember the melody. Lots of children liked the phrases and repeated them constantly.

    (cross-posted)
     

    prudent260

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I found the song. The lyrics are talking about a heart broken story, but the band sang the song merrily.
    Odd.:)

    Well, I saw my baby walkin' with another man today
    Well, I saw my baby walkin' with another man today
    When I asked her what's the matter
    This is what I heard her say
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    ...and the next line was probably "See ya later, alligator".

    Some ballads are about the lyrics, the meaning. Other are just music to dance to. You can't do a fast dance to a slow sad song.
     
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