Saturday, December 02, 2006

Gilly Galoo Bird

My mom uses the term "gilly galoo bird" often to describe people. In my mind's eye, I always pictured it like the photo here of the rocking chicken. We had one of these dunking his nose in a cup of water on top of our refrigerator for years — but it isn't a gilly galoo bird. The best meaning that I can come up with is that she uses it as a euphemism for "jerk." An example would be someone cutting across several lanes of traffic: "Watch out for that gilly galoo bird!"

I thought it was a term she had made up until I googled it. I was surprised that the term actually exists outside of our home, although I couldn't find a direct definition or origin of it. Over the years I have discovered that many of the terms she uses are from 50's television shows and must have been the slang of their day. Mom says she remembers my grandmother calling people gilly galoo birds so that places it before television...perhaps a radio show?

In my online search, I found the following on someone else's site, "If all this were done, planning would take a course like that of the gilly-galoo-bird, which flies in ever decreasing concentric circles until it disappears up its own anatomy."

Anyone else ever heard this used? Definition? Origin?

Update: After writing this, I realized that my brother uses the shortened term "bird" in the exact same way: "Those birds don't know what they're talking about!


Anonymous said...

An interesting find for you. It's cute. I didn't find much about the gilly-galoo-bird either.

Gavin said...

Thanks for the link, anonymous. I hadn't seen that site when I did my search. It reminded me a bit of that rare ivory billed woodpecker they just saw Arkansas or Missouri.

I'm pretty sure the gilly galoo bird is fictional but would love to find out its origins. Did you ever go Snipe hunting at night on camping trips?

Anonymous said...

My mother also used the term Gilly galoo bird....but I thought it was pronounced more like Killy kaloo. She and her parents used the term for in "stay away from her, she looks like she has Killy Kaloo birds. Or if you are scratching.."What's the matter? you got Killy Kaloo birds?