Search: jalopie; jalopy origin
Why: On the SNL sketch "New Car Horns (by Tina Tina)," the old-timey horns goes, "Aawoooga, jalopy. What?"
Answer: It's just an old-ass car! Theories of origin:
- from the Yiddish word shlappe, a term for an old horse (actually Polish)
- from the French word chaloupe, a kind of skiff - which is a boat, not a car
- from the Italian-American pronunciation of "jelly apple" - the jell-oppy, "one of the decrepit old carts from which Italian immigrants sold this delicacy during the early part of the 20th century..."
- from Spanish galapago, i.e. one of those big slow tortoises (galapago means "saddle," btw)
A theory is that it is derived from a non-Spanish pronunciation of Jalapa, Mexico. It seems that, during the 1920s, many decrepit automobiles were shipped from New Orleans to scrapyards in Jalapa. The theory is that some of the dockhands or crew members who did not speak English began naming these broken-down autos after their destination, and the name eventually morphed into our current jalopy.Other words for shitty cars: flivver (1910), heap, tin lizzy (1915), crate (1927), bucket, beater, hooptie (1990), and clunker (2009).
Source: Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases, Answerbag
The More You Know: Doorbells and More. Ding dong! Router! Netflix! What?