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.


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

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!)


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!



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

Most Writers and Readers Suffer From Manias & Phobias. Do You?


In a previous post, I wrote about hypergraphia and other unpleasant conditions affecting writers. Here are several more.

Typomaniaan obsession to write for publication, is most common among unpublished writers.

Some writers suffer from metromania, the compulsion to write poetry.

Negative criticism of one’s writing sometimes leads to phronemophobia, a fear of thinking, but almost never to sophophobia, a fear of learning.

Writers aren’t the only ones plagued by manias and phobias.
Readers are, as well.

come-organizzare-lagenda-di-lavoro_27d82465e5e2f5f8d92b606a5a77a419Biblioniomania, a word created by the folks over at Interesting Literature, means a mania for buying books. They also give us ambibibliopropria, being unable to remember when browsing in a second-hand bookshop whether or not you already own a particular book, and bibliosmia, the desire to smell books, especially old tomes.

If you are a voracious reader, someone who reads all the time, then you are a bibliophagist, one who devours books, and you might also be a bibliobibuli, someone who reads too much. If you run out of reading material, you might even resort to bibliokleptomania, an intense desire to steal books. And there are a few readers who fall prey to alogotransiphobia, the fear of being caught on public transportation with nothing to read.

There is one phobia much worse than the others:


Bibliophobia—a fear of books! Is there a bibliophobe in your circle of friends? Maybe you can plan an intervention.

All of these great words come from one of my favorite web sites:
Interesting Literature.
Head over there and take a look. Add it to your bookmarks.

Until next time—Happy writing and reading!



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!



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