Is PDQ regional?

lablady

Senior Member
English - USA
Hello all,

In a meeting with a dozen or so people, a coworker was given a task to which she responded, "When do you want that, PDQ?"

After she was met with a room full of blank stares, a discussion revealed that I was the only other person in the room who knew what PDQ meant (it stands for "pretty damn quick"). Further discussion revealed that she and I were also the only two people in the room who had once lived on the east coast of the US. We have been asking around the facility, and we have yet to find any other employee who has either lived in the eastern United States or knows what PDQ means.

In your part of the world, do you know/use PDQ? I think I can safely say that it's not very common in this part of California. :)
 
  • xabiachica

    Senior Member
    English English!
    Hello all,

    In a meeting with a dozen or so people, a coworker was given a task to which she responded, "When do you want that, PDQ?"

    After she was met with a room full of blank stares, a discussion revealed that I was the only other person in the room who knew what PDQ meant (it stands for "pretty damn quick"). Further discussion revealed that she and I were also the only two people in the room who had once lived on the east coast of the US. We have been asking around the facility, and we have yet to find any other employee who has either lived in the eastern United States or knows what PDQ means.

    In your part of the world, do you know/use PDQ? I think I can safely say that it's not very common in this part of California. :)

    I'm sure I heard it in England when I used to live there - I certainly use it myself

    it's hard to be sure though if I got it from watching American films & reading American books!
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I'm a little surpised too. I thought it was ubiquitous (been wanting to use that for a long time :D ) However, I have UK, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York experience before coming to CA and working mostly with other "immigrants" to CA. I haven't heard it much recently but I would have expected that to be time-related not geography-related.
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I lived on the west coast of the US (California) and I am familiar with PDQ.

    Lablady, I don't want to be indelicate, but just between us children of the fifties, were the other people in the room younger?
     

    MissesElle

    New Member
    English - North America
    I live in the United States and I have never heard someone use PDQ. (I have lived on the West Coast and the Midwest)
     

    xabiachica

    Senior Member
    English English!
    I lived on the west coast of the US (California) and I am familiar with PDQ.

    Lablady, I don't want to be indelicate, but just between us children of the fifties, were the other people in the room younger?

    oh you might have a point


    I only scrape in by a month though;)
     

    lablady

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Lablady, I don't want to be indelicate, but just between us children of the fifties, were the other people in the room younger?
    No, close to my age or older! I think that's why it was so surprising to me. I think this lack of familiarity with PDQ would be more understandable if I were in a room full of youngsters (meaning- young enough to be my children :)).
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The use of these acronyms (is that the right word for all the abbreviations in texting?) in general language is a piss-poor way to communicate.

    Instead of getting your ideas across, you are simply causing momentary (or longer) confusion.

    There is a manufacturing company nearby called PDQ and I don't know if it is the owner's initials, a Latin phrase, or some secret hand-shake. (But I think is "parts delivered quickly".)

    See: http://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/PDQ
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    PDQ pre-dates texting by many decades and I wouldn't be surprised if many of the texting youngsters wouldn't recognize it. Nonetheless, I do agree about the overuse of abbreviations, acronyms etc. :D
     

    lablady

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    ...There is a manufacturing company nearby called PDQ and I don't know if it is the owner's initials, a Latin phrase, or some secret hand-shake. (But I think is "parts delivered quickly".)...
    While I certainly can't speak for the company in your example, there are some businesses who name themselves PDQ because they are "pretty quick". Here is one example.
    PDQ Manufacturing makes touch-free car wash systems for those who want a clean car pretty darn quick.
    A favorite teenage hangout of my youth was PDQ Burgers, which was so named because they were fast food.

    I agree that my coworker probably shouldn't have used the acronym. It certainly caused confusion (but lightened up an otherwise boring meeting :D).

    If you say that ASAP means "After September, April Possibly", then PDQ is faster. :D:p
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    [....]

    In your part of the world, do you know/use PDQ? I think I can safely say that it's not very common in this part of California. :)
    On the other hand, I know that I have heard it used by California natives who are now in their 80s and 90s. They are not from your particular part of California, however. There are regional variations within California, but I agree that the use is as likely to be generational as regional.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I haven't heard the term in conversation for years. I do, however, see six business listings for companies in the Portland, Ore. area with PDQ as part of their name.

    As a side note, I hear the hospital term "stat" creeping into conversation, presumably as the result of the plethora of hospital-oriented dramas on television.
     
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    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I associate PDQ with people my parents' age or older (born in the 'teens and 'twenties) and have the impression of a military origin. World War II maybe?
     
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    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    PDQ is common knowledge to people of my age here - and possibly even those younger.
    It is faster than ASAP, but slower than stat (see Why does stat mean quick/hurry?) for those who know it, and predates textspeak abbreviations by decades.
    The earliest example in the OED is:
    c1875 B. WOOLF Mighty Dollar in B. H. Clark Favorite Amer. Plays 19th Cent. (1943) 489 That's right, you'd better step *P.D.Q., pretty damn quick.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    PDQ may be military in origin, but that is definitely not where the people I know picked it up. They are of the generation that would be careful not to say "damn", or even "darn" in social situations, which is a possible motivation for the initialism.
     

    kitenok

    Senior Member
    I associate PDQ with people my parents age or older (born in the 'teens and 'twenties) and have the impression of a military origin. World War II maybe?
    The OED has one lonely example of PDQ that it dates as c1875 (from an American play by some "B. Woolf" that was printed in a collection in 1943). The other two citations of PDQ in the OED are from 1926 and 1995. Not much to go on there for its regional or historical origins, but it does at least seem to predate the 20th century.
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It was familiar to a group of us in London the other day - all of a certain age. We were wondering why the credit card machine in the pub was called a PDQ machine - was it this acronym or was it Payment, um, Debit, um, Query or something? (Subsequent quick googling hasn't answered this.)
     

    lablady

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    It was familiar to a group of us in London the other day - all of a certain age. We were wondering why the credit card machine in the pub was called a PDQ machine - was it this acronym or was it Payment, um, Debit, um, Query or something? (Subsequent quick googling hasn't answered this.)
    This site says the PDQ for the credit card machine is short for "Process Data Quickly"- a similar meaning to that meant by my coworker. :)

    Thanks to all for your input. This thread was started at the urging of a room full of curious colleagues. They are eagerly awaiting my report, and I think they might be complimented by the suggestion that they might be unfamilar with the acronym because they are too young. :p

    Thanks again.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Be sure to turn up the volume for the P.D.Q. Bach Sonatinas before you deliver the report. Like Mr. Graham, I haven't heard it spoken in a long time. It seemed to be fairly common in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states in the 1970s.
     

    Ann O'Rack

    Senior Member
    UK
    UK English
    I tend to agree with the notion that the PDQ would be a TLA (three-letter acronym) recognised by those of a generation that might have used the word "darn" as a more polite alternative to "damn", neither word being used by anyone I know under 40! I suspect it would be more readily recognised over here in "good old Blighty, don't you know!"
     

    Wayland

    Banned
    English.
    Interesting to learn that this has been around a while.
    I can only recall hearing this in the last few decades and have always (erroneously, obviously) assumed this to be a yuppie term from the 80s along with all the other once-in-vogue TLAs.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    It's certainly familiar to me though I don't use it, except to refer to the credit card machine thing (which I always assumed stood for pretty damn quick too.)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    It's familiar to me, too; and I agree with Dimcl that PDQ is faster than ASAP.

    I'm willing to be persuaded that this is a generation thing.
     

    lablady

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I have been persuaded. It's more of a generational thing than a regional thing. All right, I can believe that.

    The mystery that remains is why so many coworkers of the "correct" generation are unfamiliar with it. That riddle will probably never be solved. :)

    Thank you all again.
     
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