• 57°

Wayne Hinshaw: Dilly dilly

If you have watched any TV sports broadcast in the past month, you have seen the Bud Light beer commercials in which the Medieval court is sitting around the king.

When the beer is served, there is a shout of “dilly dilly” from the court, which is followed by another “dilly dilly.”

In other commercials, you will see the “Bud Knight” dressed in all blue loading beer on a Medieval cart. “Dilly dilly.”

Photographing high school and college basketball in recent weeks, I have been hearing a shout somewhere in the gym of “dilly dilly” after a good play. Again, “dilly dilly” is followed by another “dilly dilly” somewhere from the crowd. Periodically, there will be a repeating shout from the fans of “dilly dilly.”

What is this dilly dilly all about anyway?

Miguel Patricio, the chief marketing officer with Anheuser-Busch, who is behind the Medieval court advertisement, said, “Dilly dilly doesn’t mean anything. That’s the beauty of it. I think that we all need our moments of nonsense and fun.”

I think Patricio is incorrect about the meaning. Surely he didn’t do his background study on the phrase.

Samantha Enslen in her writing blog “Gramma Girl” stated that a “dilly is a coach or a carriage.” It is an obsolete term for a horse-drawn carriage. The word was used in the 1700s as it was extended to “include carts, trucks and even railway engines.”

When horse-drawn carriages were parked behind the barns, the world dilly was parked to gather dust.

Today, “dilly dilly” has become more of a cheer or a pop culture command for approval for something good.

The word “dilly” can mean delightful or wonderful. In a sentence like, “It was a dilly of a game,” it means it was an unusual game or a great game for the most part.

The phase “dilly dally” has been around for a long time meaning “one is messing around or being slow or somewhat pointless in focus.” For example, “The boy just dilly dallies around,” meaning he is isn’t getting much accomplished.

In the 17th century around 1672-1685, there was an English folk song and nursery rhyme, “Lavander’s Blue” or “Lavender Blue.” Singer Burl Ives recorded a version of the song in 1949.

The song’s words:

“Lavander’s blue, dilly dilly, lavender green;

When I am king, dilly dilly, you shall be queen;

Who told you so, dilly dilly, who told you so?

’Twas mine own heart, dilly dilly, that told me so.

There are many verses to the song but all repeat “dilly dilly” over and over.

The song was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Original Song in 1949, but it did not win.

The repetition of a word or words in succession in a sentence is called an epizeuxis. This a word I have never used, but I have used repeated words in succession saying or writing the same word to emphasis a point or an emotion.

Winston Churchill once said, “Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great of small, large or petty, never give in.”

In “Hamlet,” there is the phase, “Words, words, words …”

The 1970s movie title, “Tora! Tora! Tora!”

In “Macbeth,” “O horror, horror, horror”

In 1959, the smooth voice of “doo wop” singer Sammy Turner sang the old English folk song “Lavender Blue” repeating “dilly, dilly” after each line in the song as it rose to No. 3 on the Billboard music charts.

So you see, “dilly dilly” is not a meaningless phrase. It might be fun to say or shout, but these words, like all words, do have meaning.



From poult to Thanksgiving centerpiece, Evans Family Farm knows how to raise turkeys


Catawba, Livingstone not bringing students back until after the holidays


‘Just because’: Partners in Learning surprises staff with $15,000 in bonuses, turkeys


Few applications received for state’s child care, remote learning assistance grant


Girls Scouts pack meals for Meals on Wheels Rowan


RCCC offering solutions for students wanting to jumpstart their college education


PetSmart donation to Essie Mae Kiser Foxx


Salisbury Police ready to roll out regional crime center before end of the year


Shoutouts: North Hills Christian School announces homecoming king and queen


‘An icon of China Grove:’ Former China Grove Elementary students remember custodian Carl Wilkerson


Catawba basketball: The struggle to play the games


What are Salisbury, Rowan County leaders thankful for in 2020?

Christmas Happiness

Faith American Legion Auxiliary gives to Christmas Happiness Fund to honor vets


‘Tis the Season Spectacular Christmas parade provides entertainment, holiday spirit


Four new COVID-19 deaths, total of 131 reported in Rowan


Operations suspended, inmates transferred from Piedmont Correctional’s minimum security facility


Man charged with failing to register as sex offender


Police say DNA evidence ties Salisbury man to bank robbery attempt


Catawba College researchers say invasive beetle will kill significant portion of ecological preserve’s ash trees


Dr. Fauci, Kanye West, Jesus Christ among presidential write-in candidates in Rowan County


Salisbury Police receive grant for social justice, racial equity training


When weather turns cold, where do Rowan County wildlife go?


Blotter: Salisbury man charged faces marijuana charge after being served with unrelated warrant


Local health officials see record testing numbers ahead of Thanksgiving