Conrad H. Roth, the learned and acerbic proprietor of Varieties of Unreligious Experience (and self-described “unmoored intellectual desperately seeking a thesis-topic”), has a post that brings to my attention an unusual slang term. After a discussion of “the old WW1 satirical journal, The Wipers Times” (Wipers being a jovial deformation of the name of the Belgian town Ypres), and quoting a nice quatrain by Gilbert Frankau, he concludes:
The Wipers texts, both prose and verse, are full of slang still vibrant and uncontained; a famous example is na poo or narpoo, from the French ‘il n’y a plus’, meaning ‘there’s none left’, or more generally, ‘no good’. Hence:
The privit to the sergeant said
“I wants my blooming rum.”
“Na poo,” the sergeant curtly said,
And sucked his jammy thumb.
Narpoo indeed. An example of a word dragging meaning into itself like a vortex, the finest moments of a popular vocabulary; compare ‘fuck’ now, or ‘quoz’ in the 1840s (for which see Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions, chapter 13).
The Cassell Dictionary of Slang lists it as:
napoo [1910s-40s] finished, ended.
The OED, in a June 2003 draft revision, says it’s “colloq. (orig. Army slang). Now rare” and includes two more recent citations:
1973 L. Meynell Thirteen Trumpeters v. 81 Prudence.. fell down dead in the croupier’s bag. Fini. Napoo.
1989 V. Scannell Soldiering On 54 Compree mon Kamerad? Jig-jig, parley-voo, Shufti zubrick, quois-kateer San fairy ann, napoo.
“Shufti” (from Arabic) is slang for ‘a glance, look’ and “San fairy ann” is evidently ça ne fait rien, but I have no idea what “zubrick” and “quois-kateer” might be. [Charles Perry in the comments solves the mystery: "'Quois kateer' is Arabic 'kwayyis katiir,' very good. It shows up in the chorus of an old Army song, 'You're my little Gyppo bint [Egyptian girl], you’re quois kateer.’ … ‘Zubrick’ (zubrak) I fear, means ‘your penis.’”]
And here‘s the online text of Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds (1841), courtesy of MetaFilter; if you’ve never encountered it, it’s well worth your while.