What the Fooby is going on?
March 2, 2017, No comments
It’s a new word that’s everywhere at the moment but what does it mean? Fooby might look English but no native English-speaker would ever be able to guess its meaning. An African bird? Slang for a part of the body? A lying politician? All of the above?
The problem is that fooby is a made-up word, so essentially has no real meaning in English. This ugly Frankenstein-word was created by Coop, one of the main Swiss supermarkets, for their new website and app for all things to do with food and cooking. And therein lies the clue to its meaning: the FOO part is clearly from food, but what about the BY part?
As hard as I tried, I couldn’t think of any reason why BY would be on the end. Foody, or even foodie, was much more logical to an English speaker but for a German speaker in Switzerland it wouldn’t be great (fudi means arse or backside). Then inspiration struck and I think I know where Coop got its BY from. Hobby.
Food plus Hobby contracts to Fooby. And the website/app is all about cooking as a pastime or hobby (a word which is the same in German) with recipes, videos and personal stories. That I can almost live with, but it gets worse. Coop calls its contributors to this project Foobys. Never mind the horrible plural as that is quite normal here: babys, ladys, partys are all standard plurals. What trumps that is a hobby becoming a person.
Of course each of these Foobys has a story to tell, which – you guessed it – become Fooby Storys. It’s an English speaker’s nightmare. Made-up words mixed with real words and all with tortuous spellings. And all pretending to be English because that’s trendy when it comes to marketing a new product or app. Migros, the other supermarket, has launched a similar service but with a much less annoying name: Migusto. At least it’s in a national language!
So Fooby (also the same in French and Italian) is a new word in the Swinglish lexicon, but the least attractive one by far. I hope that it never gets to the stage where someone tells me that they’re a fooby at heart.