The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

Word definition question


Reesa and Nathan have been watching re-runs of the old Addams Family TV show.  I approve of this, in part because it’s refreshing to see a 60’s sitcom where one can believe the couple actually had sex.  But it produced a question which has been bothering me, lo, these many days, even to interfering with my sleep.  So, weary and desperate, I turn to the internet as my last hope.

Can someone tell me what “ooky” means?

Thank you.


Author: corwin

Site administrative account, so probably Corwin, Felix or DD-B.


  1. Rhymes with Spooky!
    But I remember thinking that ooky meant weird. Which they were, but in a fun way.

  2. “ooky” from the Pratchetian, meaning “Like an orangutan”.

  3. I’ve always assumed it was a portmandeau word – “yucky” and “eww” combined to make one that would rhyme with “spooky” and “kooky”.

  4. Kathryn and Seguleh beat me to it – both with the seat of the pants, and Urban Dictionary answers. Only thing left to add is the sound component – ooky seems to convey a sticky-ooze kind of yuck – the “I stepped in what?” kind of factor.

  5. ooky is the feeling you get when you first realize that, in order to have given birth to you, your mother must have, at some point, had sex.

  6. Growing up, we used “ooky” to mean nauseous.

    Sort of an onomotopoeia of the act of vomiting.

  7. I always took it as a variation of “icky” but changed to rhyme.

  8. I always assumed it was a made up word rhyming with kooky and spooky but otherwise without specific meaning, apart from any contextual sense you might get as to what “positively ooky” might mean.

  9. One of my psych professors liked to point out that the Addams family was probably the healthiest family potrayed on television. The parents loved each other, encouraged individuality in the children, and the extended family all cared and looked out for each other.
    *chuckles* I just remembered, where I am moving is backed up to an old graveyard, and I have always wanted to build the Addams family home. I’ve a golden opportunity!

  10. Well, as previously mentioned, Urban Dictionary defines “ooky” as “creepy, scary or weird,” which is certainly what the song captures.

    I find it interesting though, to note that Webster’s (arguably a more respectable, if much less fun source) defines “ook” as a noun that means “oak,” as in the tree. So, could one argue that “ooky” can also mean “oak-like?”

  11. I wonder to what extent the Addams Family song is responsible for the word’s meaning.

  12. I suppose one would have to ask Vic Mizzy. Unfortunately, he just died in October. Perhaps a seance is in order?

  13. I believe that the modern term the kids are using is ‘squicky’. Like Hentai.

  14. Seance? Ooky.

    Yanno, maybe it’s just “okay” in a northern exposure kind of accent. Like, even though they’re mysterious and spooky and all that, they’re still altogether okay.


  15. Past-tense of “icky”. Sheesh, Brust, I don’t know, and I’m a fargin’ college English teacher!
    BTW – a Kim Brust was quoted in a Yahoo! news report yesterday about that nasty winter storm in the Upper Midwest; he said this while shoveling out his driveway and sidewalks: “I was just getting used to global warming.”

  16. addendum: that Kim Brust lives in Minneapolis.

  17. Thank you all.

    profgeek: No relation, so far as I know.

  18. In the otherwise not particularly memorable movie Baseketball, there’s a great scene where Parker and Stone have a rousing argument using only the word “dude.” It tickles my fancy that a single word can be used to mean so many things, and so I like to think of ooky as being so nebulous as to be mostly defined by the context in which it is used. I can easily imagine it being used as a synonym for:


    “When I make a word do a lot of work like that,” said Humpty Dumpty, “I always pay it extra.”

  19. Ooky is a collective adjective used to describe a group of persons who have Addams Family-like characteristics of a physical and/or behavioral manner.

    Specifically, the group must encompass all (but not limited to) the following sub-traits:
    – Creepy;
    – Kooky;
    – Mysterious; and
    – Spooky.

    Additionally, a group of people who are classified as ooky also go by the collective noun “screa-um”.

  20. I thought I knew nuttin, but it turns out I have a clue…Dave Van Ronk, I believe, old song which will haunt you all and probably clarify nothing…”ooky, dooky, soda cracker, does your mama chew tobacca?” and the rest is lost to me.

  21. Cynthia: Green, green, rocky road, promenade in green. Tell me who you love, tell me who you love.

  22. I always assumed it was just spooky with the sp removed to denote something that was not really that scary but still a little disconcerting.

  23. I believe that I have read in a book about the 1960’s “Addams Family” TV series that the word “ooky” was just made up for the theme song to rhyme with “spooky” and “kooky”. However I cannot track down the source of this now since it was years ago. If true, the word “ooky” does not have to actually have meant anything at the time.

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