What Exactly is a “Real Doozy”?

If you’ve ever heard a sensational story that involves a maze of twists, turns and other hard-to-believe elements, it’s likely that you referred to it as a “real doozy.” A snowstorm can be labeled a “real doozy.” In fact, anything extraordinary can get slapped with the doozy label to express astonishment. So, exactly what is a real doozy? The word doozy first appeared in reference to something outlandish or extraordinary in 1916, when The Paxton Record, the local newspaper of Paxton, Illinois, referred to an annual celebration featuring The Melvin Band. The clipping read: “The last celebration was a doozy, so why not make this one just a little bit better?” The “real” came later in the 1950s, when it took on a somewhat sarcastic tone. “The advertising boys have come up with a real doozy this time,” read a Hutchinson News editorial on Feb. 5, 1950, that went on to criticize a safety razor ad for invoking war to help sell their wares. Real doozy was adopted as slang and remains in use today.