How does "easy-peasy" have the meaning of "very easy”?

In my dictionary, there is no word "peasy". What's the meaning of it?

  • FWIW, a peasy is a dialect word for a small marble, about the size of a pea, per Wright's English Dialect Dictionary. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 6 '19 at 9:34

"Easy-peasy" probably originated in a children's schoolyard chanting game, played e.g. when skipping over a rope, or to choose someone for a forfeit or to be chased. Chants often use nonsense words to achieve a rhyme and are frequently reduplicative like ‘easy-peasy'. My sister played "Ibble Obble". The chant went "Ibble obble, black bobble, ibble obble OUT!" Girls stood in a circle around one girl. She would select one of the circle and touch her, saying "ibble", the next one got "obble", and so on. The one who got "OUT!" had to then run away and be chased by the other girls, caught and dragged back (much screaming!), when it was then her turn to stand in the centre and it started again. "ibble" and "obble" are not in any dictionary. There is the infamous "Eeny-meeny miny mo” chant also.

easy-peasy adjective UK ​ /ˌiː.ziˈpiː.zi/ US ​ /ˌiː.ziˈpiː.zi/ uk informal or child's word ​ very easy

Easy-peasy (Cambridge Dictionary)

A folk-etymology theory is that an extended form, "easy-peasy lemon squeezy' originated in a 1950s British TV advertisment for a lemon-scented washing up liquid ("dish soap") product called 'Lemon Sqezy' [sic]. Since documented examples of 'easy-peasy' have been traced back to at least 1953, and UK commercial TV only started in 1954, I think the TV ad writers used an existing saying, at least for the first part.

Notes on the origin of 'Easy-peasy'

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  • Not sure it's that old. It start appearing in ngrams only in the 60's. – laugh salutes Monica C Jan 5 '19 at 13:52
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    It was used in a 1952 film, and was almost certainly not invented specially for it. Google N-Grams are not authoritative guides to usage, and, in any case, are obtained by indexing printed books, so data about frequency of conversational or mainly spoken usages is likely to be unreliable or misleading. – Michael Harvey Jan 5 '19 at 14:32
  • According to the link you have provided, it does not appear in the film but in an American journal (Cincinnati Enquirer) review of the film. This specific occurrence does not necessarily represent spoken language either. I'm just saying it's hard to tell since when an expression is popular. – laugh salutes Monica C Jan 5 '19 at 14:56
  • Yes, you are right, the film review was dated 17th January, 1953, which is slightly after 1952, and well before the 1960s. – Michael Harvey Jan 5 '19 at 16:37

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