Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oompa Oompa

funny word of the day: tuba

My husband and I just watched the one and only season of "Freaks & Geeks" on DVD and I thought it was great that Seth Rogen's burnout character fell in love with a tuba player in the school band (who was born w/both male & female body parts but that's a whole separate post).

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈtü-bə, ˈtyü-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Italian, from Latin, trumpet
Date: 1852
: a large low-pitched brass instrument usually oval in shape and having a conical tube, a cup-shaped mouthpiece, and a usual range an octave lower than that of the euphonium
— tu·ba·ist \-bə(-i)st\ or tub·ist \-bist\ noun

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who You Calling Cuckoo?

funny word of the day: cuckoo

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈkü-(ˌ)kü, ˈku̇-\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural cuckoos
Etymology: Middle English cuccu, of imitative origin
Date: 13th century
1 : a largely grayish-brown European bird (Cuculus canorus) that is a parasite given to laying its eggs in the nests of other birds which hatch them and rear the offspring; broadly : any of a large family (Cuculidae of the order Cuculiformes) to which this bird belongs2 : the call of the cuckoo3 : a silly or slightly crackbrained person

Function: adjective
Date: 1627
1 : of, relating to, or resembling the cuckoo2 : deficient in sense or intelligence : silly
cuckoo clock
Function: noun
Date: 1789
: a wall or shelf clock that announces the hours by sounds resembling a cuckoo's call

Saturday, September 26, 2009

That's a Bunch of Blarney!

funny word of the day: blarney

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈblär-nē\
Function: noun
Etymology: Blarney stone, a stone in Blarney Castle, near Cork, Ireland, held to bestow skill in flattery on those who kiss it
Date: 1784
1 : skillful flattery : blandishment
2 : nonsense, humbug

— blarney verb

Blarney legend - The seeds of the 'gift of gab' legend might trace back all the way to Queen Elizabeth I. The story goes something like this; Lord Blarneys' particular talent was distracting (and sidetracking) his colleagues during conversation. It was a talent he particularly used with zest any time there was a promise he was requested to keep. And, Lord Blarney had made a number of promises to the Queen. In fast, after repeated efforts to gain Blarneys' cooperation, the Queen could only express her frustration by repeating "Blarney, Blarney". Thus, the word "Blarney" became synonyms with someone who tells a good but untrue story.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nacho Libre

funny word of the day: nacho

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈnä-(ˌ)chō\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural nachos
Etymology: American Spanish, perhaps from Spanish nacho flat-nosed
Date: 1949
: a tortilla chip topped with melted cheese and often additional savory toppings (as hot peppers or refried beans)

Proving that there's a website for everything, I found this one:, whose tagline is "for everyone who loves nacho cheese." The person running this site clearly has too much time on his hands (and likely a few extra pounds on his frame from eating nacho cheese!).
Nachos are very easy to make but here's a recipe in case you don't know how:

I also enjoyed the film "Nacho Libre" starring Jack Black as an orphanage caretaker by day/Mexican wrestler by night. It was absolutely ridiculous but also extremely funny.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Whale of a Time

funny word of the day: harpoon

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \här-ˈpün\
Function: noun
Etymology: probably from Dutch harpoen, from Middle Dutch, from Old French harpon brooch, from harper to grapple
Date: 1625
: a barbed spear or javelin used especially in hunting large fish or whales
— harpoon transitive verb
— har·poon·er noun

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Love a Good Juggler

funny word of the day: juggler

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈjə-g(ə-)lər\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English jogelour minstrel, magician, from Anglo-French jugleur, jogolur, from Latin joculator, from joculari
Date: 14th century
1 a : one who performs tricks or acts of magic or deftness b : one skilled in keeping several objects in motion in the air at the same time by alternately tossing and catching them
2 : one who manipulates especially in order to achieve a desired end
My husband can juggle (no, that's not a picture of him at right, thank god) but he doesn't get much occasion to. I would like him to juggle for me more often -- it's very entertaining.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tea & Crumpets, Anyone?

funny word of the day: crumpet

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈkrəm-pət\
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps from Middle English crompid (cake) wafer, literally, curled-up cake, from crumped, past participle of crumpen to curl up, from crump, crumb crooked, from Old English crumb; akin to Old High German krump crooked
Date: 1638
: a small round unsweetened bread cooked on a griddle and usually split and toasted before serving

These are kind of like bigger, more British English Muffins (could you get more English than "English muffins"? Hmmm...) They're delicious with butter (or clotted cream, if you're trying to be more British) and jam. Yum.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Howdy, Folks(ingers)!

funny word of the day: hootenanny

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈhü-tə-ˌna-nē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural hoo·te·nan·nies
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: 1929
1 chiefly dialect : gadget 2 : a gathering at which folksingers entertain often with the audience joining in

Although I'm not familiar with it, according to Wikipedia, there was a television show called "Hootenanny" in the 1960s. Hootenanny was a musical variety television show broadcast in the United States on ABC from April 1963 to September 1964. The program was hosted by Jack Linkletter. It primarily featured pop-oriented folk music acts, including The Journeymen, The Limeliters, the Chad Mitchell Trio, The New Christy Minstrels, The Brothers Four, Ian & Sylvia, The Big 3, Hoyt Axton, Judy Collins, Johnny Cash, The Carter Family, Flatt & Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, The Tarriers, Bud & Travis, and the Smothers Brothers. Although both popular and influential, the program is primarily remembered today for the controversy created when the producers blacklisted certain folk music acts, which then led to a boycott by others.

Fashizzle My Grizzle

I've been so busy over the past week that, while I've posted a FWOTD on Twitter and Facebook, I haven't had a sec to post on the blog. So, in the style of my good friend Michael, I've made a sentence out of my funny words from the past week (in italics):

As I blurted out a hodgepodge of funny words while dressed in a baggy pair of pants, everyone around me started to titter which really made me grizzle.

To see definitions of any of the above words, here's a link to Merriam-Webster:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Put a Cork in It!

funny word of the day: cork

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈkȯrk\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, cork, bark, probably from Middle Dutch *kurk or Middle Low German korck, from Old Spanish alcorque, ultimately from dialect Arabic qurq, from Latin quercus oak — more at fir
Date: 14th century
1 a : the elastic tough outer tissue of the cork oak that is used especially for stoppers and insulation b : phellem
2 : a usually cork stopper for a bottle or jug
3 : a fishing float

I particulary like the phrase "Put a cork in it!" which basically means "Shut up!"

Yesterday's FWOTD was: schlep

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Variant(s): or schlepp also shlep or shlepp \ˈshlep\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): schlepped also shlepped; schlep·ping also shlep·ping
Etymology: Yiddish shlepn, from Middle High German sleppen, from Middle Low German slēpen
Date: 1922
transitive verb
: drag, haul
intransitive verb
: to proceed or move especially slowly, tediously, awkwardly, or carelessly

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I'm Not the Only One who Thinks Moist is a Funny Word

Funny and gross, according to this article from today's NY Post:

Attention, advertisers: Some people hate the word “moist.”

Hated words take the cake

Last Updated: 4:09 AM, September 12, 2009

Posted: 3:18 AM, September 12, 2009

“Cloudy and moist, with a chance of showers”? — think again. “Creamy?” Oh no, you did not just use the “C” word!

The animosity has grown so strong, it’s cropping up on Web sites and Facebook groups, some solely devoted to disdain for the word “moist” and other seemingly innocuous vocabulary entries.

A Google search of the words “moist” and “hate” turns up nearly 1 million entries.

“The word moist makes me throw up in my mouth a little,” says Andrea, a member of the Facebook group “I Hate the Word Moist,” which boasts nearly 1,000 members. Other terms tagged by people as linguistic losers include: “panties,” “fleshy,” “chunks,” “insert” and “used.”

That’s just a smattering of vocabulary words singled out as offensive simply because of how they sound.

“Words that evoke emotions, are touchy-feely or extremely physical are very powerful and extremely important aspects of language,” says Wolfgang Wolck, a professor emeritus at the University at Buffalo who specializes in social linguistics. He says many of the words that are problematic fall under the category of what researchers call kinesthetic, or the ability to feel physical sensations and movement.

“People are negatively reacting to words that describe things that are touchy-feely,” says Wolck.

Other visceral reactions may come from words that just sound plain icky.

“In the English language, there can also sometimes be a backlash against words that are onomatopoeias,” says Wolck, using a term that describes words that imitate or suggest the source of the sound they are describing — such as animal noises, like “oink.” In these cases, he says, he has seen bias against words such as “slimy,” or “slithery.”

“The one thing they all seem to have in common is that they have something to do with liquidity,” says Wolck. Somewhere, Duncan Hines, with its armada of moisture-rich cake products, has got to be cringing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I've Always Wanted One of These

funny word of the day: gazebo

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \gə-ˈzē-(ˌ)bō also -ˈzā-\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural ga·ze·bos
Etymology: perhaps from 1gaze + Latin -ebo (as in videbo I shall see)
Date: 1752
1 : belvedere 2 : a freestanding roofed structure usually open on the sides

These are so silly looking but it would be cool to have one. I live in an apartment with no backyard, though, so that would be difficult. Oh, well...maybe someday.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Anyone ever had Beer Goggles?

funny word of the day: goggles

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈgä-gəlz\
Function: noun plural
Date: 1715
1 : protective glasses set in a flexible frame (as of rubber or plastic) that fits snugly against the face
2 : an electronic apparatus that covers the eyes and is used to enhance vision (as at night) or to produce images (as of a virtual reality)

— gog·gled \-gəld\ adjective

Goggles are a funny word and also look funny when people wear them. "Beer goggles" has become a popular term that, according to Wikipedia, is a slang term for a phenomenon in which consumption of alcohol lowers sexual inhibitions to the point that very little or no discretion is used when approaching or choosing sexual partners. It can also refer to literal goggle-like devices used to distort vision to simulate the effects of drunkenness. Sometimes waking up after a night of wearing proverbial beer goggles is not funny at all.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Grandma Chic

funny word of the day: doily

I owe this one to my friend Meryl, who was over my apartment today and suggested this as a FWOTD.

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

  • doi·ly
  • Pronunciation: \ˈdȯi-lē\
  • Function: noun
  • Inflected Form(s): plural doilies
  • Etymology: Doily or Doyley fl1711 London draper
  • Date: 1711

1 : a small napkin 2 : a small often decorative mat

I'm not sure what the point of doilies is. They're ugly and not all that useful but grandmothers have been using them for years and years and now that country chic is making a comeback, I suspect doilies are here to stay.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Smushy, Squishy, Same Thing

funny word of the day: squishy

Definition from the American Heritage Dictionary:

squish·y (skwsh)
adj. squish·i·er, squish·i·est
1. Soft and wet; spongy.
2. Sloppily sentimental.

I wanted my word today to be "smushy" but evidently it's not a real word (at least it's not in the dictionary). Oh well, squishy is close enough.

Yesterday's FWOTD: dribble

Thursday's FWOTD: smock

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Headscarf or Grandma? Both!

funny word of the day: babushka

My colleague at work owns a website that sells babushkas ( and I wasn't sure if the word would be in the English language dictionary since I believe its origin is Yiddish...but, alas, here it is:
Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \bə-ˈbüsh-kə, -ˈbu̇sh-, ba-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Russian, grandmother, diminutive of baba old woman
Date: 1938
1 a : a usually triangularly folded kerchief for the head b : a head covering (as a scarf) resembling a babushka 2 : an elderly Russian woman

I love that it means both a Russian grandmother and a kerchief for the head, which is now worn by young women and men alike (aka doo-rags).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Great Game for a Rainy Day

funny word of the day: boggle

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈbä-gəl\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): bog·gled; bog·gling \-g(ə-)liŋ\
Etymology: perhaps from bogle
Date: 1598
intransitive verb 1: to start with fright or amazement : be overwhelmed 2 : to hesitate because of doubt, fear, or scruplestransitive verb 1 : mishandle, bungle 2 : to overwhelm with wonder or bewilderment
— boggle noun

Boggle is also a popular word game that I played growing up. According to Wikipedia, Boggle was designed by Allan Turoff and trademarked by Parker Brothers and Hasbro. The game is played using a grid of lettered dice, in which players attempt to find words in sequences of adjacent letters. You can play it for free online here: