Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Badabing

Posted by Elyse Bruce on April 17, 2013

We’ve all watched movies and TV shows where one of the characters uses the expression badabing to imply that a specific task was easily completed or should be simple to accomplish. It also implies that certain bits of information have been omitted because they are matter-of-course parts of the story.

James Caan’s character Sonny says it to Al Pacino’s character Michael in the 1972 movie, “The Godfather” and as such, it’s thought of as being a stereotypical Italian-American expression.

Whatcha gonna do? Nice college boy, eh? Don’t wanna get mixed up in the family business? Now you wanna gun down a police captain because he slapped you in the face a little bit, huh? Whataya think this is … the Army, where you shoot ’em a mile away? You gotta get up close like this … badaBING! You blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League suit. C’mere … you’re taking this very personal.

But the fact of the matter is, while the expression was embraced by many of Italian-American ancestry, it isn’t from that culture at all. The expression actually hails back to the days of vaudeville and music halls, and morphed from its original version of bada ching.

Back in the day, the ba represented the tom, the da represented the kick, and the ching represented the cymbal crash. In many ways, the bada ching was the equivalent of the modern-day laugh track, and indicated that the punch line had been delivered.  No matter how good or bad the joke was, everyone in the audience knew the joke had been told when they heard bada ching.

So whether you say badabing, or you say badabing badaboom or say badaboom badabing, in the end, it means the same thing. But isn’t it interesting to know where it came from originally?

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