Origin uncertain. Chiefly and originally British slang. Possibly from an Indo-Aryan language: compare Hindi ठीक है, बाबू (ṭhīk hai, bābū, “it's all right, sir”). The phrase could have been picked up by British personnel in India before independence and spread in modified form to the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. It may also be a corruption from French: "ce que t'es beau", "how beautiful you are", adopted similarly to "toodeloo' (bye-bye), which is a corruption of "tout a l'heure" (see you later, today). Likely from WW1 Tommies. Alternately, it may be an extended version of that's the ticket, possibly influenced by peekaboo. Attested in English since the 1920s.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈtɪkɪti ˌbuː/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈtikiti ˌbu/, /-ɡəɾi/
Audio (AU) (file)
- Hyphenation: tic‧ke‧ty boo
tickety-boo (not comparable)
- (chiefly Britain, informal) Correct, satisfactory.
- 1947, Nevil Shute [pseudonym; Nevil Shute Norway], chapter 6, in The Chequer Board, [London]: William Heinemann, OCLC 919744039; republished New York, N.Y.: William Morrow & Company, 1947, OCLC 881846336, page 220:
- I want everything to be all tickety-boo. I want to marry you properly according to the English law so that your people will know that I'm playing straight with you.
- 2011, Harry Morris, “Eye, Right!”, in It Wisnae Me … Honest!, Edinburgh: Black & White, →ISBN, part four:
- 'Whit's up wi' yer John Greig (leg) then? Ye didnae have that before.' / 'Aw ye noticed!' said the mercenary, 'We were in a fight one day w' some o' that Taliban mob and I copped a hit wi' a grenade, but I've got an artificial one on, so am tickety boo.'
- 2016, Donna VanLiere, The Christmas Town (Christmas Hope; 9), New York, N.Y.: St. Martin's Press, →ISBN:
- Miriam begins to type: Unfortunately, it looks as if our time and place for meeting has been confused once again. We do hope that everything is tickety-boo for you— / […] Gloria stands. “Am I mad? You just used the word ‘tickety-boo’ in an e-mail to a young girl who didn’t grow up in England and who probably doesn’t watch PBS.”