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Toot sweet

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  • Toot sweet is an adverbial phrase coined during World War I. We will examine the definition of the term toot sweet, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

    Toot sweet means right now, right away, immediately. The term toot sweet arose during the First World War, when American soldiers were sent overseas to mingle with foreign allies for the first time. Toot sweet is a mangled version of the French phrase, tout de suite, which means immediately or right away. Few American soldiers could speak French but it was only natural that key phrases would be learned, considering the close proximity to an army speaking a foreign language. The Americans brought the term home with them in the slang form, toot sweet. Some consider toot sweet a mockery of the French, but it is just as logical to assume it was a phrase that the Americans found useful, though they only knew it from verbal exposure and were not aware of how to spell it. Today, most English speakers who use the term toot sweet are not aware of its origins.

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    Examples

    Kate Davy, from Canturf, told us her brother James’ father-in-law, John Shirm​, came up with the pithy addition and she had a new sign added toot sweet. (The Canberra Times)

    There was something alluringly Graham Greene-ish about following the trail of the Spanish ambassador to a mysterious shrine on the edge of town, so toot sweet we were on the train bound for Dazaifu Tenmangu. (The Japan Times)

    Yep, you’d be palling around with Keith Code toot-sweet if you could just get your Gold Wing out of the driveway and onto the street without dumping it. (Motorcyclist Magazine)

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