Sunday, November 28, 2010

Diddly-eye, what?


One of our favorite new romantic comedies is Leap Year. In it, the male lead character, Declan, repeatedly uses the phrase "Diddly-eye". So, Cindy and I embarked on a search to determine what "Diddly-eye" means. Here are our preliminary results, listed in what we see as the most likely options (together with our sources).


1) In Scottish a Diddie (or Diddy) is a twit, confused person.[1] So, maybe this is an adjectival use of the term diddy, implying that she is a twit by the look in her eyes.

2) Apparently the Dublin eye is known, in true Dublinese, as the Diddly eye![2] So, maybe since she was focused on going to Dublin, she was Diddly-eyed.

3) In a variety of Scottish songs, the term diddly-eye appears in a series of what appears to be nonsensical terms.[3] In addition, this seems to be how it is used by Ned Flanders in an episode of the Simpsons.[4] So, maybe this is just a nonsensical expression.

4) Apparently there is such a things as Diddly-eye music.[5] But that use does not make much sense to me.

So, any thoughts? Any Irish people out there who can shed some light on this expression?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank you... either one makes sense... good enough... i've been wondering and now im relieved... i love leap year...

Sandy Schairer said...

On an internet search it says diddly-eye is a type of music with a prescribed specific and controlled format. I think Declan uses it to indicate what he sees in Anna and what she says frequently "I have everything under control." He is basically saying she's a control-freak. He mentions this directly when he says "If you stop controlling everything in the known universe..." while in the garden. Yes, I have memorized the movie.

Maël said...

Thanks for your comments, Anonymous and Sandy.

Sandy: It could be ... it would be interesting to see if by the first time Declan uses diddly-eye he had reason to use it in such a way ...

Anonymous said...

It is the sadness that lies at the heart of Irish music, a wistful melancholy wrapped in the crazy joy of every jig and reel

Found on one website about the music. I have heard this sadness in a number of Irish song I have heard. Singing in joy with an undertone of sadness. I don't know if this applies to Declan's references but the double entendre of this could very well be part of the mystery he is and expresses.

Anonymous said...

On the internet in Irish slang: "It can be a slang term meaning something similar to rubbish." I think Declan may mean foolishness. He may be referring to her shallowness in seeking romance rather than being real. I think it means a lot of things. I should put all this speculation on my own blogspot, huh? Diddly-eye.

joan said...

So happy I found this site. I just recently watched Leap Year, as it is currently on demand with Time Warner and I absolutely fell in love with the movie and with Anna and Declan and Ireland! Two very real characters, like we know them personally! The critics trashed the movie, but it has replaced the Proposal as my favorite romantic comedy. So uplifting! I also wondered about "diddly-eyed" and I think it was referring to Anna's sparkling, kind, blue eyes with a bit of perhaps naiveté about them.

Maël said...

Joan, thanks for the comments. Over the years, I have learned not to listen to critics when it comes to romantic comedies.

Anonymous said...

One critic did like the movie. Check out Roger Ebert's review on rogerebert.com.

Anonymous said...

I too have discovered this darling movie, I keep,watching it. I cannot believe it was a huge hit. A little it happened one night and little when Harry met Sally a little you've got mail and a lot of Jane Austin. I loved it. On my 10th viewing.



Anonymous said...

I too enjoyed Leap Year. Interesting to note that Matthew Goode, who played Declan, said he took the role only to be close to his girlfriend and newborn baby; he agreed with the critics and in interviews said that it was possibly the worst movie of 2010.

Maël said...

I did not know that, Anonymous.

justhink'n said...

I do not know the meaning of "diddly-eye" but in the mid 1940's my Scots-Irish grandmother would sing a little a little song which, between verses, would say, "Diddly-eye, diddly-eye, diddly-eye dee; Diddly-eye, diddly-eye, diddly-eye die"! I always figured it was simply a phrase to add a beat to the song. I was reminded of it when I watched Leap Year for the first time last night!

Maël said...

Thanks for the insight, justhink'n.

kim said...

Declan is saying she is being foolish and single minded, she is so intent on accomplishing a goal for all the wrong reasons.

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