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Hanky Panky

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QUESTION:
Hyun in Korea wants to know what “hanky panky” means.

ANSWER:
Hanky panky is used in two major ways. First,  “hanky panky” is used to describe a secret sexual relationship that is against the rules or that is not generally acceptable, perhaps because the two people involved are married to other people, or they work in a company that does not allow its employees to be romantically involved.  If you suspect something is going on, you migh say, “I think there is some hanky panky going on between those two.”

A second way it is used is to describe improper or bad behavior, often something that is done secretly so other people, such as those in authority (with power), don’t know about it.  It’s usually something that is bad or wrong, but that is not too major or important.  For example, your mother packs (puts into one container) you a lunch with healthy foods, but you trade (give something in exchange for something else) your carrots for someone else’s candy.  One day, you return home and your mother sees a candy wrapper (paper that candy is packaged in) in your lunchbox.  She may say, “I think there’s some hanky panky going on here.”

There is also a very well known oldie (old, classic song) that mentions “hanky panky.”  I’ll let you decide which meaning the song is referring to.

~ Lucy


My Baby Does the Hanky Panky (1963)

by Tommy James and the Shondells

My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky!

My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky!

I saw her walking on down the line.
You know I saw her for the very first time.
A pretty little girl standing all alone.
Hey baby, can I take you home?
I never saw her, never really saw her.

My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky!

I saw her walking on down the line.
You know I saw her for the very first time.
A pretty little girl standing all alone.
Hey baby, can I take you home?
I never saw her, never really saw her.

My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky!

My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky,
My baby does the hanky panky…

9 Responses to “Hanky Panky”

  1. Peter Says:

    Nice to have you back guys. Believe me or not ,This blog is like my ivory tower. Thanks Lucy ,for the new entry.

    By the way ,I am back in game. I managed to land a job as a translator for newcomers. It is a side line job , the pay is not very good,but better than nothing. It is not the point ,the point is I passed the assigned written test and interview with flying colours ,using a lot of what I have learnt from you Lucy and Jeff.

    I have always appreciated the podcast of yours that entails way more than I bargained for.

    I didn’t mean to bore you guys. But, I saw this as my duty to thank for your giving hand. It is the least I can do.

    God bless you guys,

  2. Peter Says:

    What I bargained for . Sorry a million

  3. elcomandant Says:

    Hi there, at last you come back.

    The song is beautiful because it has many rhythm and music remind me when I was teenager.

    However the lyrics is uhm…. how would say it?. Perhaps …. I don’t know. I’m sorry but I am not capable to describe how is the lyrics. I have no words. I just think that the writer of lyrics this song was doing hanky panky when he or she was writing it.

    On the other hand, I’m glad because the Blog is working already. I’m sure the waiting will be worth trouble.

    Regards.

  4. Elisângelo Says:

    wow… nice to be here again posting on the eslblog… I really got very frustrated the last time I was posting at the previous blog and as soon I clicked on the submit botton. the site returned me a error message….

    ok! I should be used to, since I ‘ve been handling pcs for about 9 years; and as everybody knows… those machines freak out sometimes!

    Nevertheless, it`s pretty good to be able to posting on the esl blog again.

    my best regards to all of you from the eslteam,
    preto.

  5. emiliano Says:

    Again at home, thank you so much ESL team, I have missed you quite a lot friends and sure it has been a great effort by your part to give us the opportunity of posting our letters once again.
    Congratulations Peter, you have to be happy of getting a new job.

  6. Peter Says:

    Thanks My dear classmate Emiliano,

    With all the economy shrinking ,I take what I can get.

  7. Katty Wayar Says:

    You are back, great news :) I missed you guys

    as usual, great post, love the song! Thanks!

  8. Tania Says:

    Hi ! Again together like in a family ! It is wonderful.

    Simple songs but very useful writing its text as it is difficult to understand/to hear the words of a song . And amusement …

    All the best for you all ,

    Tania

  9. Tania Says:

    Hi , Peter ! We all are glad for your new job. That means you know English very well. Good luck !

    Tania