Hoighty Toighty

I have connected with several members of my mother’s family over the past four years, both in the US and in Germany. The family name is Bartels, which is a patronymic name that is short for Bartholomew in German.  My Grandfather Bartels and his two brothers and four sisters all settled in Minnesota in Rock and Pipestone counties in the early years of the 20th century. They all lived within 20 miles of one another.

The name is properly pronounced BARtels, with the emphasis on the first syllable.  When my grandmother married my grandfather, she changed the pronunciation to BarTELS, which she considered more posh.  She was a city girl from Hamburg and considered my grandfather’s family too rustic for words.  It  only served to distance her from the family, and caused some hard feelings. After all, they were all in the same boat and were all starting over in a new country.  It didn’t much matter what you might have had over there, since now you were over here with not much. Grandma considered herself superior because she spoke formal German, not Plattdeutsch.

We have the same issue here with a German-Hungarian family with the last name of Lefor.  It is rightly pronounced Lefor, (like leper). The more hoighty toighty members of the clan pronounce it LeFOR, as though they are French.  They all live in the same county, and it is quite amusing.

I like the words hoighty toighty. I don’t know its derivation, but it sure captures a concept.

Who do you know who is hoighty toighty? Why do you think they do that? What makes you think well of a person?



34 thoughts on “Hoighty Toighty”

  1. H. L. Mencken was a snarky intellectual who wrote in the 1930s and 1940s. He coined the word “booboisie,” a term he used to mock rubes with common taste. Mencken’s snobbery haunted my mother. She hotly defended her tastes, and yet it was one of her deepest fears that her tastes were actually common and embarrassingly shallow. She was uneasy in the presence of anyone she suspected of being “elite.”

    My dad was not so defensive. He found pretentious people foolish and spent a lifetime poking fun at folks with bloated notions of themselves. My dad was earthy and vulgar at times, and it amused him to see through the delusions of people who were overly proud.

    My parents, for quite different reasons, were dedicated enemies of hoighty toighty. Together they raised a son who would base his career on candor and avoidance of pretension.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. From Snopes: “Hoity-toity” has nothing to do with French (or the French), however. The expression comes from our penchant for creating rhyming phrases such as “loosey-goosey” or “helter-skelter,” and in this case its base is “hoit,” an obsolete 16th century verb whose meaning is “to play the fool” or “to indulge in riotous and noisy mirth.” (“Hoity-toity” was more commonly used to describe those who engaged in thoughtlessly silly or frivolous behavior before it became more of a synonym for “pretentious.”)


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  3. I have a “friend” who is hoity-toity. Whatever she does is perfect, at least according to her. Her way is the best. My way is definitely inferior. Her house is always perfectly neat. Mine is always a total mess. Her garden rows are perfectly straight and have no weeds. Mine are crooked and have lots of weeds. Her brownies are the BEST – she makes them from a box mix and EVERYBODY thinks they are AMAZING (the last time I had one of hers, I did not tell her that compared to the browned butter-walnut brownies I make, hers tasted definitely blah). Even when my eyes tell me something different, she claims that she lives up to an impeccable standard.

    I severely limit time spent with her, not that she seems very eager any more to spend much time with me (oh, darn).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Gosh, if she has any free time in her perfect world she can come over and try and make mine a little more perfect. Cuz if we leave it up to me we know that’s going nowhere.


      1. She would do that, but you might not like it. She’s very bossy. Her suggestions come across like orders.

        To be fair, as a neighbor, she would do anything to help. So, great to have as a neighbor when you have a need – just not very fun in everyday life.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I believe Hyacinth is the personification of hoity-toity AND hoighty-toighty. If you haven’t had the experience, the first couple minutes of this give you the flavor… last name is Bucket, but of course Hyacinth wants it pronounced “Bou-quet”. I saw an interview with Patricia Routledge, and apparently she had a ball playing Hyacinth, and exposing the H-T.


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  5. Oh, and to answer the question – it must make them feel bigger and more important than they usually feel… So many TV sitcoms, movies, etc. have as the plot the main character pretending to be someone s/he is not, to impress someone else (usually a person s/he desires to be with). These drive me crazy now – I stop reading, or turn off the TV.

    I most admire in people their ability to let me see the real person… eye contact… being able to laugh at ourselves and our foibles.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was once discouraged because the Midwest had no discernible culture (unlike the South, New England, the West Coast, etc). But that is just not so. There is a regional culture here. People like Garrison Keillor have helped us all see that. One key to that culture is intolerance for pretension. Being able to laugh at one’s self, as BiR points out, is part of the Midwest culture..

    Minnesota has at least one senator who exemplifies that regional culture. Amy Klobuchar is not only a woman working in a man’s world but a Midwestern person working with people who take themselves VERY seriously. She’s a workhorse, not a show horse, and she’s refreshingly committed to public service (not self promotion).

    Years ago she told a story about going on a blind date, dinner at a nice restaurant. Amy had been wearing contacts for hours, and they were getting uncomfortable. At one point she went to the ladies’ room to remove the contacts and put on her glasses. The date, she had decided, was a botch, and she wanted to be comfortable again. Things turned out better than she thought, and that is the guy she married. I can’t imagine any of the male senators telling that kind of story.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. The most unusual result I have seen so far is that the sole Republican candidate for the seat held by longtime Congresswoman Betty McCollum has 100% of the Republican vote. Usually there are a few weird write-in votes, even if there is no challenger. This guy can’t be happier tonight, with a perfect 100. Won’t help him in November, though.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I think my grandmother was so ashamed of her father’s gambling and his financial and legal problems in Germany that she tried to find anything that gave her a scrap of dignity.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi-
    Good day as election judging. Been steady and busy. Running about 20% for us.

    I do theater. Or “Thea-a-tah” as the hoighty tonight’s might say. As opposed to doing “Thee-a-ter”.
    It’s like going to a “wedding” or a “weddin!”.
    Sometimes we are in the “Dramatic Arts”.
    Sometimes there are “histrionics”.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You know, I really thought I had actually typed “hoighty toighty”. Dang.

      Home. Our old town hall is a lovely place but it lacks AC. We had a breeze part of the day. …if you were sitting in the middle.
      We opened all the windows and that helped.
      It was sure getting sticky by the end of the day.
      Ended up with 292 of 1023 voters so almost 30%. Pretty impressive for midterm primary.
      And overall, the DFL won in our township! Yay voters! Lots of people I haven’t seen vote in a long time!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds quite a bit like the precinct where I worked. Not my home precinct, but a high school a little bit south of my neighborhood. No A/C there either. Setting up the equipment, and the voting booths, my face dripped sweat quite literally (and liberally). There was some sort of track competition in the late afternoon, and one of the athletes was brought indoors after a sprint. He slumped against the wall for a bit, and then tried to get relief on the relatively cool vinyl tile floor, and pretty promptly the school personnel called an ambulance for him. He started panting in a pretty distressing way, obviously pushed way too hard.

        Turnout was high.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. I don’t know about hoity-toity but I have a friend who is high maintenance. Once on a work-related trip we got to the hotel in Athens and the hotel had screwed something up and we had to share a room for 3 nights. By the time we had been in the hotel an hour, she had COMPLETELY covered the bathroom sink with every kind of lotion / cosmetic / soap / shampoo / conditioner / make-up conceivable. I ended up putting my toothbrush and toothpaste in a glass on the table next to my bed.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. As of the moment very good results. I guess my pain level at 4-5. It was 7-8 going in.There are a dozen people who work at the surgery center who have become very invested in the success of this.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. An irony for you: could not sleep. I was not excited about the improvement. I have a weird theory why. I have thought for a long time my brain puts me to sleep because of the pain.


    1. Last night we watched on Netflix Guernsey Literary and Pitato Peel Society. The marvelous Tom Courtney was in it. Old but still has it. One of my favorite British actors. Sort of a story of the haughty versus the down to earth.

      Liked by 1 person

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