• ups-a-daisy •
êp-sê-day-zee • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Interjection
Meaning: An interjection used when lifting or raising someone, especially a child.
Notes: This is a colloquial interjection, printed so rarely that its spelling and pronunciation remain unstable. Although I prefer the spelling and pronunciation above, upsy-daisy is probably as prevalent in the US, more so down South. Variants of this word include oops-a-daisy and whoops-a-daisy. The former was later shortened to oops and the latter, to whoops. Both these interjections are used when babies fall, rather than when they are picked up. Now they are exclamations used when any minor mistake is made but especially when something is accidentally dropped or spilled.
In Play: This word is an exclamation that accompanies the action of lifting someone: "Here, let me give you a boost over the fence. Ups-a-daisy!" I use it almost as a substitute for a grunt when lifting my grandchildren: "Here, let granddaddy carry you. Ups-a-daisy! You've put on some weight since our last visit."
Word History: This Good Word has been around since the 18th century, when it was simply up-a-daisy. The root of this word is clearly and appropriately up, extended by daisy by analogy with lackadaisy. Lackadaisy is an extension of the interjection lack-a-day! This exclamation came from the original phrase alack the day "woe is me, alack and alas", an interjection of desperation. As we all know, lackadaisy was converted to an adjective, lackadaisical "lacking spirit or liveliness", probably by Laurence Sterne in his A sentimental journey through France and Italy (1768), the same work in which he introduced smellfungus in reference to Tobias Follett.