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I use a lot of such expressions and yet am stumped as to what they are called. Are they in the category of figures of speech? Can someone please shed some light?
Here are a few examples:

topsy-turvy
hanky-panky
nitty-gritty
wishy-washy
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These are called reduplicated phrases, Myracle, and they also often incorporate echoic or onomatopoetic elements. You can read more about them [url=http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/reduplication.html]HERE[/url].
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MyracleI use a lot of such expressions and yet am stumped as to what they are called. Are they in the category of figures of speech? Can someone please shed some light?Here are a few examples: topsy-turvy hanky-panky nitty-gritty wishy-washy


Hi Myracle,

The English language is abound with expressions, rhymes, idioms and slang.

The four examples you posted give another good insight into the versatility and nature of the language and its ability to create very interesting adjectives. The expression phrases you have listed above are in fact just very creative adjectives.

Topsy-turvy - is an adjective describing upside down situations. The root of turvy is said to be already lost - although turf or turves still mean grass - "topsy-turvy" - top is at the bottom.

Hanky-panky - is an adjective that is believed to be derived from "hocus pocus" which is a magicians incantation, used when they want to make something disappear. Hanky panky means dishonest.

Nitty gritty while still an adjective can be considered figure of speech. Many people use it to mean "the main business" of a transaction. It is made up of two words: nit - meaning a tiny insect, and grit - a tiny grain of sand. So precisely, it should mean getting down to the finest details.

Wishy-washy could also be a figure of speech - from something that is watery, ie: containing little substance.

Best Wishes,
Martin
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martinmadenHi Myracle,The English language is abound with expressions, rhymes, idioms and slang.The four examples you posted give another good insight into the versatility and nature of the language and its ability to create very interesting adjectives. The expression phrases you have listed above are in fact just very creative adjectives.
Thank you very much, martinmaden. So they are just creative adjectives. Now, I am wondering whether we can create our own...Emotion: stick out tongue
You can create your own for a specific situation, but only if the people you are dealing with will know what you're talking about. These people would have to be familiar with the elements. Don't, however, expect your newly-coined expressions to appear in the next version of your favorite dictionary.
I have coined "funkadoodle" and use it at work quite often now. It's catching on. It's more fun to say than "funky" - and about as much fun as "whackadoodle" but while "whackadoodle" means crazy, "funkadoodle" just means a bit off.
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Thank you very much, martinmaden. So they are just creative adjectives. Now, I am wondering whether we can create our own...
You're Welcome Myracle,
It's a beautiful language isn't it? English is probably the most versatile and effective of all the European languages.
By all means create your own expressions - it helps to be creative with everything in life. Freedom of expression is a human right. So explore the language and break rules to make your writing and speech more fun for yourself - and if your friends share the fun... you'll be smiling.
Best Wishes,
Martin
I would consider hanky-panky a noun, meaning illicit behavior, often sexual in nature (not an adjective meaning dishonest).
khoffI would consider hanky-panky a noun, meaning illicit behavior, often sexual in nature (not an adjective meaning dishonest).
This source would agree that it is a noun.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/168950.html

While I was teaching, Mrs. Pankey had a son and refused no name him Hankey, as we all suggested. Likewise Mrs. Bush didn't cotton to the idea of naming her daughter Rose. I don't know what's wrong with some people.
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In Texas, we had a very wealthy oilman named Mr. Hogg who became governor. He named his only daughter "Ima".
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