cowabunga

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Unknown, but was popularized (as Kowa-Bunga) by Chief Thunderthud on the American children's show Howdy Doody in the late 1940s or early 1950s, became associated with American surfing culture, and was revived and standardized in its current spelling by the American cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the late 1980s and early 1990s. (For further treatment, see here.)

Pronunciation[edit]

Interjection[edit]

cowabunga

  1. (slang, originally US, usually humorous) Expressing amazement, enthusiasm, or joy.
    • 1954 Jan., Howdy Doody:
      Kowa-Bunga! Then Me Fix You Good! You Be Sorry.
    • 1963 August 9, Time:
      Shouting the surfer's cry ‘Cowabunga!’ they climb a 12-ft. wall of water and ‘take the drop’ off its shoulder.
    • 1991 December 9, The New Yorker, p. 115:
      Both words turn up in the same sentence—as in ‘Cowabunga, it's humongous!’—when the children crowd around some toy.
    Cowabunga, dude!

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