While I didn’t check out the Art-o-rama, I did find myself wondering, what the heck is an o-rama? When added to the ends of words, it usually promises excitement and conjures up images of things you’ve never seen before – or perhaps things you have seen but in such amazing quantity and variety that you find yourself standing on the precipice of a sensory overload.
Welcome to the Bagel-o-rama! Please be sure to check out the 3 million flavours that are here today – and don’t miss the Bagel Rainbow demonstration at noon!
So where does that -o-rama suffix come from originally?
You have probably heard the words panorama and diorama at some point in your life. One refers to a visual scene, the other to an ecosystem project you did in grade school. You know, that three-dimensional thing you agonized over for days that didn’t even compare to that one kid’s ecosystem, which was done completely to scale – plus the trees moved realistically when he turned on the tiny fan he’d rigged up to be the wind? Um, sorry, I digress…
From those two examples, you can probably guess that the suffix -o-rama (or simply -rama) is related to something visual.
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, -rama as a suffix was first recorded in 1824, to mean a “spectacular display or instance of” something. It was likely taken from the word panorama, which was coined by the Irish painter and inventor, Robert Barker, sometime around 1789. Panorama comes from the Greek words pan (meaning all) and horama (meaning a view or sight).
So when we tack -o-rama onto something, it indicates an impressive display of that thing, which, in modern usage, encompasses more than just visual displays.
Davey wondered why the organizers of the Pig-o-rama hadn’t coordinated with the people running the Smell-o-rama next door. It’s hard to choose aromatherapy oils when all you can smell is pig.
And there you have it – o-ramas really are as exciting as they sound. Or they should be, though I imagine some probably don’t live up to expectations.
You can imagine Penelope’s disappointment when she threw open the doors to the Penny-o-rama, only to discover a room filled with staid coin collectors and not a room filled with kindred souls named Penny.