April 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

The other day when I dropped a stack of yellow, cut-out circles (for the purpose of a flower-making craft) on the floor and said, “Oops-a-daisy,” my student replied, “Miss V, what does that mean?” I looked at him and said, “It means oops, like when you drop a crayon or your snack and you say oops. You can also say oops-a-daisy.” The little kindergarten boy then paired a sweet, upbeat melody with the words “oops-a-daisy” into a song.

As I pondered my response to him, I’m not so confident that I gave him the right definition of oops-a-daisy. Thus, my curiosity led me on a quest to discover the origin of this phrase.  Two meanings come from this phrase. First, starting in 1862 the phrase “upsy-daisy” was usually used by children as an exclamation when assisted in a spring-leap from the ground, meaning “going up.” The “daisy” part comes from the word lackaday with the suffix -sy attached. Second in the 1920s, “oops-a-daisy”  or “whoops-a-daisy” came to mean in dismay or to drop something, meaning “going down.”

For me, I tend to use the phrase “oops-a-daisy” when I make a mistake or something suddenly occurs. A few people have made their own interpretation of “oops-a-daisy” moments that is quite creative.

1. Jan Vormann, an artist, discovers wall cracks to be the perfect place to hold legos in his Dispatchwork project.

2. Barney Saltzberg turns mistakes into interactive, beautiful, and thoughtful pages in his book, “Beautiful Oops!”

3. Artist Juliana Santacruz Herrera fills street potholes and cracks with braided yarn – turning disrupting road bumps into pieces of art.

A nod to all of these individuals choosing to turn oops-a-daisy moments into something incredibly creative and beautiful.


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