D is for Doozie or doozy. Or doosy. Or doosie.

What is a doozie? Here’s the context. Me in dentist’s chair in mortal agony. Dentist poking about the place my wisdom tooth used to be in a cruel and unusual manner. He diagnoses me with a ‘dry socket’ (if you’ve had one, you know ALL about it) and says my wisdom tooth extraction was “a doozie”. Through the waves of agony… somewhere deep inside… I feel happier. A doozie. What a great word. Where did it come from?

This family?

duesenbergs

Or this woman?

eleonora-duse6

My Collins dictionary of American Slang inclines to the former. As a group, they might not look particularly ‘wonderful, remarkable or superior’ but they are the Duesenbergs and in the 1920’s and 30’s they made these:

duesy

That’s a 1933 Model SJ Deusenberg and I think it looks pretty spectacular. Certainly good enough for people to point to something special and unusual, call it ‘a deusy’ and mis-spell it from that point forward.

But then there is the actress. This is Eleonora Dusey, an Italian actress whose talent rivaled Sarah Bernhart’s and whose picture, allegedly, James Joyce kept on his desk in a frame. She was beloved by Checkov and Ibsen and was, according to Wikipedia, the first actress to be invited to tea at the White House. She sounds like a bit of a ‘dusey’ to me and is given the nod by the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang.

Which would you go with? And how would you spell it?

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