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Nov 18, 2018
This week’s theme
Ridiculous words

This week’s words

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Words from music

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AWADmail Issue 855

A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Tidbits about Words and Language

Sponsor’s Message: You think you’re pretty intelligent, right? Probably got a college degree, or two. A goodish job. Fairly well-read. Large vocabulary. We could throw “recalcitrance” out there and you might not even flinch. Same here. But we can honestly and definitively say you may be smart but you aren’t wicked smart. Don’t believe us? Then please join this week’s Email of the Week winner, Sue Parman (see below), as well as all the other know-it-alls out there for an old’s cool lesson in enlightenment and delightenment. Click here, classical liberals >

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the Net

Your Fake Australian Accent Is Terrible, Mate
The New York Times

”We All Talk, But We Don’t Really Know How”
The Guardian

From: Larry Nelson (lnelson uiuc.edu)
Subject: Ridiculous words

Don’t know why, but this week’s first word reminded me of one of my favorite “rediculous” words -- transmogrify -- or so I thought it was until I discovered it was a real word and not made up by Bill Watterson, creator of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, wherein Calvin proudly shows off his new invention, a transmogrifier (a cardboard box) to the ever wise and sardonic Hobbes.

Larry Nelson, Champaign, Illinois

From: Chip Taylor (via website comments)
Subject: metagrobolize

I know that I am a day late (and a dollar short) but I have to comment that this one is a winner! I have already been able to incorporate it into my daily conversation today and am looking with relish for the next occasion to use it. Use it twice in a week and a word is yours forever (paraphrased from my 10th grade English teacher).

Chip Taylor

From: Scott Swanson (harview montana.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--quaquaversal

I remember being taught this word in high school. Since the very quaquaversal Teton Butte was just down the road, it was easy for our teacher to give us an example!

Scott Swanson, Pendroy, Montana

From: Joshua H. Cohen (joshua.hal.cohen gmail.com)
Subject: quaquaversal

I was just talking this weekend about how I don’t like biking in my neighborhood in cold weather because everything slopes downward from my house, and you stay freezing for the first full half of the ride before you finally turn around and start to head back. Now I have a word for it!

Joshua H. Cohen, New York, New York

From: Jonathan Danilowitz (jonathan.danilowitz gmail.com)
Subject: quaquaversal

This reminded me of a penpal from Que Que, once upon a time a village in Southern Rhodesia. Today Kwekwe, Zimbabwe.

Jonathan Danilowitz, Tel Aviv, Israel

From: Pattie Whitehouse (pattie pacificcoast.net)
Subject: whigmaleeries

Whigmaleeries is quite a lovely Scottish country dance. (videos)

Pattie Whitehouse, Metchosin, Canada

Email of the Week Old’s Cool = Old School + Wit - Life’s ludic and lovely lessons upside the head.)

From: Susan Parman (sparman fullerton.edu)
Subject: Whigmaleerie and thingamajig

I’m reminded of a song I learned as an American student doing a year abroad at the University of Edinburgh in 1964-65. It might be an old Harry Lauder song sung at tourist gatherings to tangle tongues.

Oh the nicht we wauchled hame frae Auchtermuchty
on the road tae Auchenshoogle through the glen,
all the haggises were yelpin as they get their nichtly skelpin
doon at Angus Auchterloony’s but n ben.
There’s a shoochly tattie bogle in the gloamin
suppin brose and playin pibroch a the while
as they birl awa like fairies on a wheen o whigmaleeries
ye gang hame tae put the kettle on the bile.

Roughly translated:
The night we walked home from Auchtermuchty (a real town)
on the road to Auchenshoogle (a fictional town deriving from early Scottish
comic strips, perhaps derived from Auchenshuggle, a neighborhood in Glasgow) through the glen,
all the haggises (technically, a Scottish dish composed of seasoned innards and oatmeal cooked in a sheep’s stomach but often personified as creatures portrayed on tourist items) were yelping as they get their nightly skelping (beating)
down at Angus Auchterloony’s but and ben (Scots for a two-room cottage).
There’s a wobbly ghost/scarecrow in the twilight
eating porridge and playing a mournful tune on the bagpipes.
As they play gracenotes like fairies on a goodly number of whigmaleeries
you go home to put the kettle on the boil.

From this song I assumed whigmaleeries were a kind of musical instrument. I probably misheard and misinterpreted the words. Out of such confusions are new meanings born.

PS: I grew up knowing thingamajig, but in Scotland I learned a new word that means the same thing: hoojeekapifee (as in, “Hand me that hoojeekapiffee, love” -- the thing whose name one can’t remember).

Sue Parman, professor emeritus of anthropology, author of Scottish Crofters and other books, Hillsboro, Oregon

From: Phyllis Charney (charnyllis nyc.rr.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bamboozle

I adore BAMBOOZLE! Haven’t used it myself lately but always remember how Malcolm X used it in one of his most famous speeches in Harlem, with his signature burst of synonyms. Couldn’t find actual Malcolm X clip but here’s Denzel Washington as Malcolm in the 1992 Spike Lee film. In my opinion, he should have gotten the Oscar for it, he didn’t, but at least he was nominated:

“You’ve been had! You’ve been took! You’ve been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Led astray! Run amok!” (video, 2 min.)

Phyllis Charney, New York, New York

From: Patricia L. O’Day (2pinephone gmail.com)
Subject: Bamboozled, literally

A neighbor in NC years ago complained that the plants a landscaper sold her as heavenly bamboo weren’t actually a bamboo at all, but the shrub Nandina domestica. We had to acknowledge that she had, perhaps, truly been bamboozled.

Patricia O’Day, Bend, Oregon

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: flapdoodle and metagrobolize

Since day one of his presidency, building a “tremendous”, “huge” wall separating the southern border of the US from Mexico has been a Trumpian obsession, a major campaign pledge of fulfillment to his xenophobic, myopic supporters. Admittedly, in this scenario I’ve ventured into the realm of the purely nonsensical, bordering on the absurd... “the hyperbole zone”, attempting to underscore, to the extreme, how unresolved, impractical, and clueless much of Trump’s decision-making has proven to be. A great border wall constructed of made-in-Denmark LEGO interlocking blocks would be very cool... and colorful, but hardly practical. (D’ah!) From a here-and-now perspective, many of Trump’s policy moves, like setting seemingly arbitrary, harsh tariffs against our long-standing allies and his fervor for building walls of division -- physical and metaphorical -- between nations, instead of trying to build bridges of cooperation and amity, IMHO, is a retrograde, isolating, and frankly dangerous and scary path to attempt to navigate.

flapdoodle metagrobolize
I must confess I’m hardly a magic aficionado, or frankly, much of a fan of the art of illusion. Let’s just say, the likes of famed magicians Penn & Teller, or David Copperfield, never tickled my fancy. The great Harry Houdini, on the other hand... hard to ignore. Yet I have to admit that the now somewhat hackneyed magician’s trick of apparently sawing his model/assistant in half has thoroughly metagrobolized me since my first witnessing this astounding feat as a youngster, most likely on a B&W TV. It continues to befuddle me. But I’ve never been curious enough to try to demystify this bizarro illusion by probing more deeply into how it’s actually pulled off. That might take the fun out of it, no?

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

Ridiculous words
1. metagrobolize
2. quaquaversal
3. whigmaleerie
4. bamboozle
5. flapdoodle
1. amaze so; bewilder
2. domical
3. a fable or whim
4. gull, soap, or daze so
5. tu quoque, bilge, or drivel
-Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Limericks

At tax time the forms metagrobolize
Despite all the brain cells I mobilize.
‘Tis true, though unfortunate,
The government’s importunate.
I need some deductions of larger size.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

Know how to say metagrobolize?
Well, it’s pronounced me-tuh-GRAHB-uh-lyz.
When Stormy mentioned her job,
Donald felt himself throb
And then muttered “me too grabbed your thighs!”
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

She’s good at sudoku, kakuro;
Rubik’s cube, chess are her pocket borough.
Yet she can’t grasp alt-news,
metagrobolized world views.
Good bye politics, she vows, from tomorrow.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

This world metagrobolizes me.
People in it are a mystery.
We’re so different,
And if that is meant,
Then how is getting along likely?
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

If fiction and fact you homogenize,
You can angry white folks metagrobolize.
Says Donald, “The trick
Is to lay it on thick,
And to never, not ever, apologize.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Morticia welcomes as she sees fit,
Lurch guards the door with ease and grit,
But both will greet --
A family treat --
The quaquaversal hair of Itt.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Now Jack and Jill went up the hill.
Jack wanted to give Jill a thrill,
But fall quaquaversal,
Not in Jack’s rehearsal,
Caused him a large medical bill.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The first time that Madge made Macaroni cheese
Is not a memory that recurs to please!
The cheese sauce boiled over, quaquaversal,
It was not a good “chef rehearsal!”
And she was the object of never-ending tease!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

On maps, the North Pole’s quaquaversal,
But why is this not controversial?
In Australia and Chile,
They think it’s just silly;
“We’d fall,” they point out, “off the circle!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Once upon a vote-day dreary
We elected a whigmaleerie.
Little did we then realize
That he would us metagrobolize!
The approaching disaster much ... do fear we!
-Barry Thomas, Athens, Ohio (thomasb ohio.edu)

“What’s this thingamajig?” boss inquired.
“Sir, it’s just what you said you required.”
“Got it wrong again! Clearly,
I said whigmaleerie,
doohickey, or gizmo. You’re fired!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Though she’s just a Steve Jobs whigmaleerie,
My husband loves chatting with Siri.
While they talk about fishing
And football, I’m wishing
That skank would commit harakiri.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Don told Mike, “You just take a perusal:
These shrewd Dems with their constant refusal
To comply with my rules,
They must think we are fools,
Though no matter how hard I bamboozle.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Of his tweets, if you do a perusal
you see many attempts to bamboozle.
He lies all the time,
thinks collusion’s no crime.
Accept blame? There is always refusal.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“The public you helped me bamboozle,”
Said Donald. “So what’s this recusal?”
Answered Jeff, “Y’all are full
Of what’s inside a bull
And comes out when it takes Metamucil.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The nonsense he spouts is absurd.
Such flapdoodle I’ve never heard.
But since he’s the Prez
Whatever he says
Reporters record word for word.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

When running to catch his plane,
He got caught in a torrent of rain.
The flapdoodle fella
Threw down his umbrella
In a bumbling legerdemain.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

“Ze cost may be many a ruble,
But ve’ll turn ze US to flapdoodle,”
Said Vlad. “You’re exotic,
Now be patriotic;
Go pee in his room and canoodle.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Metagrobolize, flummox, bamboozle
Are all words for attempts to confuse you.
Whigmaleerie’s a whim,
(The ‘h’ silent, as in ‘im).
That’s enough quaquaversal flapdoodle.
-Brian Bocking, Cork, Ireland (bockingbrian gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Ridiculous words

Love your site, Anu, but your absurd words call for add homonym attacks.

Upon returning from Grobol Land the lad announced, “I metagrobolize gonna marry!”

Scolded for missing a practice, the musician asked, “Quaquaversal was that?”

The Tory told his ally, “You’re wise to be suspicious of the whigmaleery friend.”

If you have no steel rods for scaffolding, bamboozle work just fine.

Call the sheriff when there’s trouble. No matter the flapdoodle settle things down.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

A word after a word after a word is power. -Margaret Atwood, poet and novelist (b. 18 Nov 1939)

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