I’M JUST CURIOUS: Fun with words

by Debbie Walker

I saw a small article about words that are fun to say, according to the writers in the January issue of “First.” On the list are words like indubitably, kumquat, brouhaha, flabbergasted, discombobulated, and flummoxed. I did not think some of them would be in the dictionary. Guess again! I looked them up and found out there was nothing new about these words.

Foofaraw: a disturbance or to-do over a trifle. First use known 1934.

Ballyhoo: noisy, flamboyant, exaggerated. First use known 1901.

Hurly burly: very active or confused state. First used 1539.

Williwaw: Sudden, violent gust of cold land air. First use 1842.

Indubitably: Certainly true, not to be doubted. First use 15th century.

Brouhaha: great excitement or concern. First use: original, French, 1890.

Flabbergasted: shock or surprise some one very much. 1772.

Discombobulated: upset, confuse. First use 1916.

Kerfuffle: disturbance, fuss. Scottish Gaelic 1946.

Hubbub: noise, uproar, confusion, turmoil. Irish 1555.

Flummoxed: confused. 1837.

Skedaddle: to leave a place very quickly, flee in a panic. British 1860.

Whatchamacallit: something whose name you have forgotten. 1928.

(My Aunt used to call things she had forgotten the names of ‘jigger’.)

Thingamabobs: thingamajig, whatchamacallit, whatsit, doohickey. 1750.

Mooncalf: Foolish or absentminded, 1614.

Lollapalooza: Extraordinary, impressive, outstanding. 1896.

Ripsnorter: something extra ordinary. 1840.

Sockdolager: something that settles a matter, a decisive blow. 1830.

Okay, as I said, I was so surprised that all these words were really in the dictionary. That got me curious as to how they choose the new words to add every year. I looked that up. You are encouraged to get a lot of people to use your new word.

The more often it is used the more likely it will be noticed by the dictionary editors and the rest is up to them.

Wandering Nana Dee uses the word ‘smartassery’, has for years. She says it is the adult version of smarty pants, and wise guy. Probably started using it about 1940s. Feel free to use it to help us get it added to the dictionary!

I have a few words left and I would like to use them to talk about our teachers in this time of medical emergency everywhere.

Teaching on a good day is difficult, but these days is a whole new experience. None of this group has any kind of experience with this process.

A regular day is difficult enough to teach a roomful of children but at least they can be taught by skill level in small groups. Now with trying to get everyone on computer or having to deliver actual paperwork, you can imagine the overload on all involved.

Tonight I was part of a conversation about attitude being a big part of preventing illness and aiding in healing. There are tests to prove that attitude goes a long way in health. Positive attitude helps with building your immune system.

These are uncharted days and weeks ahead of all, our patience will be tried more than once I am sure. Try to put yourself in the other person’s place. Pass on positive thoughts, pass on helpfulness.

I’m just curious what word your family may have made up! Contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org. Have a wonderful week. Thanks again for reading!


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