Category Archives: words

“Hey, Dude! Where’d That Word Come From?”

dudeHey, Dude, don’t make it bad.
Take a sad song and make it better . . .

If you recognized those as the first words of a popular Beatles song, then you likely spotted the error. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote  Hey Jude to comfort Lennon’s young son, Julian, during Lennon’s divorce from Julian’s mother, Cynthia—ancient history! Had they written Hey Jude today, they might have called it “Hey Dude!”

The word “dude” pops up everywhere these days.

In America, it first became popular in the 19th century when it described fashion-conscious men who dressed and acted like wealthy Europeans.

“Hey, look at that dude!”

EKD_18th Century Fashion Plate 108From the New-York Mirror of February 24, 1883:

“. . . a new and valuable addition has been made to the slang vocabulary. … We refer to the term “Dood.” For a correct definition of the expression the anxious inquirer has only to turn to the tight-trousered, brief-coated, eye-glassed, fancy-vested, sharp-toes shod, vapid youth who abounds in the Metropolis at present. …

As the American West evolved and Easterners, “city slickers”, moved west, the word “dude” described a man from the city, clueless about country life.

By the early 20th century, former dudes saw a business opportunity providing vacationing dudes from the East with a country/cowboy experience, and the term “dude ranch” was born.

Fast-forward through the first half of the 20th century to the early 1960s, and you’ll find the word attributed to someone carefree and laid back. “Surfer dudes” hung out all day at beaches working on their tans and riding the waves.

florida_surfer_dude_m


This casual, laid back image of a “dude” persisted throughout the 20th century, mostly used by guys to greet and refer to each other in an informal way.

Then in the 21st century, the word came full circle and regained the same level of popularity it had in the early 1800s. Today everyone uses it, men, women, kids . . .

Dude. Dude? Dude!!!

What does it mean?
Is it a statement? A question? An exclamation?
You decide.

_____________________________

Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post daily articles
and inspiration for writers.

fbheader617 copy
_____________________________

*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under fun with words, Uncategorized, word origins, words

What Is Big Enough for a Dolomphious Duck to Catch a Frog In?

Christy_NaMee_Eriksen_-_All_These_Words_are_Made_Up_01a_1024x1024Answer: a runcible spoon! Just one of many made-up words and phrases coined by Edward Lear. “Higher-cynths” and “Lower-cynths” are two others.

Made-up words (nouns, verbs, modifiers) used sparingly can add speculation, surprise, poetry and humor to your writing. Just make certain to use them in ways that provide readers with a sense of what they mean.

You can make up nonsense words:

“And oh, what a terrible country it is! Nothing but thick jungles infested by the most dangerous beasts in the entire world — hornswogglers and snozzwangers and those terrible wicked whangdoodles. A whangdoodle would eat ten Oompa-Loompas for breakfast and come galloping back for a second helping.” (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—Roald Dahl)

Combine existing words:

Lewis Carroll created what he called “portmanteau words” (The blending of preexisting words. The word “brunch” and “tween” are examples). Carroll explained:

“For instance, take the two words “fuming” and “furious”. Make up your mind that you will say both words, but leave it unsettled which you will say first. Now open your mouth and speak. If your thoughts incline ever so little towards “fuming”, you will say “fuming-furious”; if they turn, by even a hair’s breadth, towards “furious”, you will say “furious-fuming”; but if you have that rarest of gifts, a perfectly balanced mind, you will say “frumious.”

Turn nouns into verbs, verbs into nouns, adverbs or adjectives:

verbing_weirds_language(Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson, 1993)

Examples: Google it; “Let’s do lunch”; Supposably 

04aa8e3c0489b8a3a65bab0968e4bbd5

You can add humor to character dialogue by using malaprops:

Malapropism was one of Stan Laurel’s comic mannerisms. In Sons Of The Desert, for example, he says that Oliver Hardy is suffering a nervous “shakedown” (rather than “breakdown”), and calls the Exalted Ruler of their group the “exhausted ruler”; in The Music Box, he inadvertently asked a policeman, “Don’t you think you’re bounding over your steps?” meaning “stepping over your bounds” (From Wikipedia)

Remember: Always have a motive for using made-up words and phrases in your writing. Use them cautiously and in moderation to add flavor to your language and to evoke a specific feeling from your readers.

_____________________________

Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post daily articles
and inspiration for writers.

august2016wordpress
_____________________________

*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under Creativity, descriptive writing, fun with words, neologisms, Uncategorized, unusual words, words

Quiz: Can You Guess the Meanings of These Unusual Words?

26 Words That Probably Aren’t In Your VocabularyHere are 26 unusual words —one for each letter of the alphabet. See how many you know. Their definitions are at the bottom of the post. Give yourself two points for each correct answer.

A anonymuncle (n.)

B blatteroon (n.)

C cribble (v.)

D diplasiasmus (n.)

E engastrate (v.)

F fuscoferuginous (adj.)

G galeanthropy (n.)

H haptodysphoria (n.)

I illeism (n.)

J jowfair (n.)

K kyphorrhinos (n.)

L lexiphanic (adj.)

M mabble (v.)

N nosism (n.)

O oligosyllable (n.)

P pyknik (adj.)

Q qualtagh (n.)

R redactophobia (n.)

S smellfungus (n.)

T turngiddy (n.)

U umbecast (v.)

V vernalagnia (n.)

W witzelsucht (n.)

X xenobombulate (v.)

Y yeuky (adj. you-kee)

Z zenzizenzizenzic (n.)

(BONUS: Add 50 points if you can
1. pronounce “zenzizenzizenzic” correctly,
2. find an online reference to prove it,and
3. say it fast 10 times without stumbling!)

______________

anonymuncle:
a petty anonymous writer (Have anonymuncles left comments on your blog?)

blatteroon: a person who blabbers or boasts incessantly

cribble: to pass something through a sieve

diplasiasmus: the incorrect doubbling of a letter when spelling a word

Turduckenengastrate: to stuff one bird into another (Ever heard of a turducken?)

fuscoferuginous: having a dark rusty color

galeanthropy: the mental condition of thinking that one has become a cat

haptodysphoria: an unpleasant feeling caused by handling any fuzzy surface (Peaches anyone?)

illeism: the practice of referring to oneself as “he” or “she”, or by one’s name (Jean likes this one.)

jowfair: an event which does not occur after much planning, such as a wedding without a groom

kyphorrhinos: a nose with a bump on it

lexiphanic: the use of pretentious words (Hmmm… Is this a lexiphanic blog post?)

mabble: to wrap up

nosism: the practice of referring to oneself as “we” (Often used by editors and known as the “editorial we.” WE found errors in these definitions.)

oligosyllable: a word with fewer than four syllables

pyknik: short and fat

qualtagh: the first person entering a house on New Year’s Day

26 Words That Probably Aren’t In Your Vocabularyredactophobia: a fear of editors or editing (Are you redactophobic?)

smellfungus: a person who finds fault with everything; a complainer

turngiddy: dizzy

umbecast: to ponder

vernalagnia: spring fever

witzelsucht: inappropriate or pointless humor

xenobombulate: to malinger

yeuky: itchy

zenzizenzizenzic: the eighth power of a number

_____________________

How well did you do? A perfect score, including the bonus, is 102.
If you didn’t do well, give yourself two points for each new word you learned today!

_____________________________

january2016facebook

Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post daily articles and inspiration for writers. And while you’re there, I’d appreciate it if you’ll click on the “like” button near the top of the page. Thanks!

_____________________________

1 Comment

Filed under Fun, fun with words, Quizzes, Uncategorized, unusual words, words