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Feb 21, 2003
This week's theme
Words with interesting etymologies

This week's words
sobriquet
erudite
indite
pentimento
cockamamie
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

cockamamie

Pronunciation RealAudio

cockamamie (KOK-uh-may-mee) adjective, also cockamamy

Ridiculous; nonsensical.

[The origin of the term cockamamie is not confirmed. It's believed that it's a corruption of decalcomania, the process of transferring a design from a specially prepared paper to another surface. In the beginning, a cockamamie was a fake tattoo, moistened with water and applied to the wrist. How it took the sense of something pointless is uncertain. It's perhaps been influenced by such terms as cock-and-bull or poppycock.]

"Don't know about you, but if I had been a board member at Vivendi Universal SA, I would have pushed Jean-Marie Messier out the door long before now. It wasn't the company's 2001 loss of $11.8 billion (US), the largest in French history, that did me in. Nor the cockamamie convergence idea that saw a one-time water utility become the world's second largest media and communications company."
Jennifer Wells; Crooning Set Tone for Messier Ouster; The Toronto Star (Canada); Jul 3, 2002.

"For these reasons, the delegates were unwilling, as late as two weeks before the end of the convention, to endow the presidential office with substantive powers. Then somebody proposed the electoral college -- a complicated, cumbersome, one might say cockamamie scheme -- that overcame all the objections, and it was adopted."
Gary L. Gregg and Matthew Spalding; Patriot Sage: George Washington and the American Political Tradition; ISI Books; 1999.

X-Bonus

Life is mostly froth and bubble, / Two things stand like stone, / Kindness in another's trouble, / Courage in your own. -Adam Lindsay Gordon, poet (1833-1870)

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