In search of the ‘bommsittit’

You know those lyrics that you can’t quite make out and so you do your best with a phonetic rendition? A classic is the six year old belting out our national anthem and translating the less comprehensible ‘long to reign over us‘ as ‘the long train ran over us‘. An urban myth, possibly; but my sister’s stab at Guantanamera, rendered as ‘one ton o’ metal‘, is definitely true. I was there and took merciless older sister advantage of her ignorance.

Another mysterious distortion emerged recently in the conversation of two radio presenters. Which two, I have no recollection, but it reappeared during a transmission from Glastonbury, so maybe it was 6Music. The ‘bommsittit‘ or ‘bomsytit‘ was evidently an expression used by the mothers of each of these young men in reference to the state of their bedrooms, and each had spent his childhood and much of his early adult life believing this was a noun. Gradually, the question of definition had crept in; what was a bommsittit, actually? Was it an animal – like a hippopotamus, or a walrus?  Something snotty or green and globby? After all, gross and disgusting is the lifeblood of young lads so maybe there was a compliment lurking there.  Well, no. BabyBoomers will get it. Maybe most people do. But maybe not. Think back then to when your room was a tip and your mother, just before tearing the place apart with an industrial hoover, and you still encased in your duvet along with the left over pizza and thirty five coffee mugs, thundered ‘This place looks like a bomb’s hit it!’

So there we are, a new word has arrived in our lexicon, albeit short of a convention on its exact spelling. Do you have any bommsittits in your vocabulary? Do you want to promote any from the local league to national players? Come on, letsbehavinyer!

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10 responses to “In search of the ‘bommsittit’

  • Linda Cassidy Lewis

    Many eons ago, when I used to teach Sunday School, a five-year-old asked me, “What’s the sign-o?” I had to confess I had no idea. Later, after song time, she came up to me and said, “We just sang about the sign-o.” I asked her to sing it for me and this is how she began, “Jesus loves me the sign-o …”

    • Suzanne

      Ha! That took me a while, scruffy little atheist that I am, but it’s a classic really. You can’t read the words, you don’t understand them, you do your darnedest to fit them into something you recognise. Love it!

  • Cathryn Grant

    I don’t have one of my own, but I did grow up thinking Guantanamera was “one ton tomato”.

  • Alannah Murphy

    I wish I could think of one misheard lyric, but at this moment, brain is drawing a blank, but I loved the ‘one tone of metal’ :-)

    • Suzanne

      You have a musical and a linguistic brain, no wonder you were not baffled! The rest of us just bumble along with whatever we have to hand to plug the gap :)

  • Anonymous

    The presenters were Adam and Joe, and it wasn’t their own recollection, but rather a listener’s response to their request for things you have grown up misunderstanding …

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