Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What I Feel Like These Days

funny word of the day: heifer

Definition of Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈhe-fər\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English hayfare, from Old English hēahfore
Date: before 12th century
: a young cow; especially : one that has not had a calf

BTW, I feel like a heifer because I'm five months pregnant!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Remember Cabbage Patch Kids?

funny word of the day: cabbage

From Wikipedia:

"The cabbage is a popular cultivar of the species Brassica oleracea Linne (Capitata Group) of the Family Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae), and is used as a leafy green vegetable. It is a herbaceous, biennial, dicotyledonous flowering plant distinguished by a short stem upon which is crowded a mass of leaves, usually green but in some varieties red or purplish, which while immature form a characteristic compact, globular cluster (cabbagehead).

The plant is also called head cabbage or heading cabbage, and in Scotland a bowkail, from its rounded shape. The Scots call its stalk a castock,[1] and the English call its head a loaf[citation needed]. It is in the same genus as the turnip – Brassica rapa L.

Cabbage leaves often display a delicate, powdery, waxy coating called bloom. The sharp or bitter taste sometimes present in cabbage is due to glucosinolate(s).

Boiling tenderizes the leaves and releases sugars, which leads to the characteristic "cabbage" aroma. Boiled cabbage has become stigmatized because of its strong cooking odor and the belief that it causes flatulence. Boiled cabbage as an accompaniment to meats and other dishes can be an excellent source of vitamins and dietary fiber."

I also think that Cabbage Patch Kids, those slightly creepy, baby-faced dolls that were all the rage when I was a little girl, are funny. I had two -- a little black bald preemie boy named Arnie Frederick and a brunette girl named Dyna Merrill (is it scary that I remember their names after 25 years?). My mom knitted Dyna a tiny cardigan sweater that was so cute.

I also like corned beef and cabbage, the traditional Irish meal that for whatever reason, my Jewish mother used to make when I was growing up.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Not Something I Enjoy Seeing my College Football Team Do Every Week!

funny word of the day: fumble

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈfəm-bəl\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): fum·bled; fum·bling \-b(ə-)liŋ\
Etymology: probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Swedish fumla to fumble
Date: 1534
intransitive verb
1 a : to grope for or handle something clumsily or aimlessly b : to make awkward attempts to do or find something c: to search by trial and error d: blunder
2 : to feel one's way or move awkwardly
3 a : to drop or juggle or fail to play cleanly a grounder b : to lose hold of a football while handling or running with it
transitive verb
1 : to bring about by clumsy manipulation
2 a : to feel or handle clumsily b : to deal with in a blundering way : bungle
3 : to make (one's way) in a clumsy manner
4 a : misplay b : to lose hold of (a football) while handling or running

— fum·bler \-b(ə-)lər\ noun

— fum·bling·ly \-b(ə-)liŋ-lē\ adverb

Though this is a funny-sounding word, it is not at all funny when my college football team from the Univ. of Michigan fumbles multiple times in one game, which has happened three times so far in today's game against Penn State and generally has been happening more often this season than I'd like. They used to be so good! What happened?
Yesterday's FWOTD: doozy
Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Variant(s): or doo·zie \ˈdü-zē\ also doo·zer \-zər\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural doozies or doozers
Etymology: perhaps alteration of daisy
Date: 1916
: an extraordinary one of its kind

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You can't have any pudding if you don't eat your meat!

funny word of the day: pudding

From Wikipedia:

Pudding most often refers to a dessert, but can also refer to a savory dish in some dialects.

In the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth countries, pudding refers to rich, fairly homogeneous starch- or dairy-based desserts (e.g. rice pudding, Christmas pudding), or, informally, is used to refer to any dessert. The word is also used for fairly homogeneous encased savory dishes, e.g. black pudding, suet pudding.

In the U.S., pudding denotes a sweet milk-based dessert similar in consistency to egg-based custards as well as to more traditional puddings such as bread pudding or rice pudding.

The word pudding probably comes from the French boudin, originally from the Latin botellus, meaning "small sausage," referring to encased meats used in Medieval European puddings.

Pudding is also used in one of my favorite lines from Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall":

"If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat!"

The sweet version was also made famous by Bill Cosby who, for years, was a spokesman for Jello Pudding. Here's one of his commercials from the 80s:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Smocks are Funny but Rarely Sexy

funny word of the day: smock

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈsmäk\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English smok, from Old English smoc; akin to Old High German smocco adornment
Date: before 12th century
1 archaic : a woman's undergarment; especially : chemise
2 : a light loose garment worn especially for protection of clothing while working

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Play that Funky Music (White Boy)

funny word of the day: funk

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈfəŋk\
Function: noun
Etymology: probably ultimately from French dial. (Picard) funquer to give off smoke
Date: 1623
: a strong offensive smell

Function: verb
Date: circa 1739
intransitive verb
: to become frightened and shrink back
transitive verb
1 : to be afraid of : dread
2 : to shrink from undertaking or facing

Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps from obsolete Dutch dial. (Flanders) fonck
Date: 1743
1 a : a state of paralyzing fear b : a depressed state of mind
2 : one that funks : coward
3 : slump

Function: noun
Etymology: back-formation from 2funky
Date: 1959
1 : music that combines traditional forms of black music (as blues, gospel, or soul) and is characterized by a strong backbeat
2 : the quality or state of being funky

My favorites are the first and last definitions. I like Funk music (nothing like a good George Clinton or James Brown song to get you going); however, I am not a fan of funky smells, which I encounter often on the NYC subway and when I pass homeless people on street corners.

Here's a list of the 100 Greatest Funk songs: http://digitaldreamdoor.nutsie.com/pages/best_rb-funk.html

Funk is also used to describe a feeling of depression or sadness, like in the phrase "in a blue funk."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Remember the Mansierre?

funny word of the day: brassiere

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \brə-ˈzir also ˌbra-sē-ˈer\
Function: noun
Etymology: obsolete French brassière bodice, from Old French braciere arm protector, from bras arm — more at bracelet
Date: 1911
: a woman's undergarment to cover and support the breasts

Does anyone remember that classic Seinfeld episode where George's father went into sales of the man-sierre (or as Kramer liked to call it, the "Bro"), an undergarment for men's breasts? If not, I urge you to loo it up on YouTube. It was hilarious.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Swedish Chef

funny word of the day: smorgasboard

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈsmȯr-gəs-ˌbȯrd\
Function: noun
Etymology: Swedish smörgåsbord, from smörgås open sandwich + bord table
Date: 1879
1 : a luncheon or supper buffet offering a variety of foods and dishes (as hors d'oeuvres, hot and cold meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads, and relishes)
2 : an often large heterogeneous mixture : mélange
I have to admit: I'm getting very hungry.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Get Blotto, Bumble About and Then Skedaddle

funny word of the day: blotto

Definition from FreeDictionary.com:

blotto [ˈblɒtəʊ]
Slang unconscious, esp through drunkenness
[from blot1 (vb); compare blot out]

Yesterday's FWOTD: bumble

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈbəm-bəl\
Function: intransitive verb
Inflected Form(s): bum·bled; bum·bling \-b(ə-)liŋ\
Etymology: Middle English bomblen to boom, of imitative origin
Date: 15th century
1 : buzz
2 : drone, rumble

Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): bumbled; bumbling
Etymology: perhaps alteration of bungle
Date: 1532
intransitive verb
1 : blunder; specifically : to speak ineptly in a stuttering and faltering manner
2 : to proceed unsteadily : stumble
transitive verb
: bungle

— bum·bler \-b(ə-)lər\ noun

— bum·bling·ly \-b(ə-)liŋ-lē\ adverb

Tuesday's FWOTD: skedaddle

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ski-ˈda-dəl\
Function: intransitive verb
Inflected Form(s): ske·dad·dled; ske·dad·dling \-ˈdad-liŋ, -ˈda-dəl-iŋ\
Etymology: probably alteration of British dial. scaddle to run off in a fright, from scaddle, adjective, wild, timid, skittish, from Middle English scathel, skadylle harmful, fierce, wild, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skathi harm — more at scathe
Date: 1861
: run away, scram; especially : to flee in a panic

— ske·dad·dler \-ˈdad-lər, -ˈda-dəl-ər\ noun

Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't Be Snooty!

funny word of the day: snooty

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈsnü-tē\
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): snoot·i·er; snoot·i·est
Date: 1919
1 : looking down the nose : showing disdain 2 : characterized by snobbery
— snoot·i·ly \ˈsnü-tə-lē\ adverb
— snoot·i·ness \ˈsnü-tē-nəs\ noun

This word is often used to describe British people (and evidently also foxes who dress in hunting clothes).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

That Fruit is Smokin'

funny word of the day: hookah

Definition from American Heritage Dictionary:

hook·ah (hk)
An Eastern smoking pipe designed with a long tube passing through an urn of water that cools the smoke as it is drawn through. Also called hubble-bubble, narghile.
[Urdu, from Arabic uqqa, small box, the hookah's water urn, from aqqa, to be true, be suitable; see qq in Semitic roots.]

According to Wikipedia, a hookah (Hindi: हुक़्क़ा, Urdu: حقّہ hukkah), nargile in Turkish, or nargila (Hebrew: נרגילה‎ nar-gee-la), or shisha (Arabic: شيشة ""shee-sha""‎) is a single or multi-stemmed (often glass-based) water pipe for smoking shisha (a type of tobacco). The concept of filtered smoke through a pipe originated in India and later developed into the modern hookah in Iran.

Hookahs have gained immense popularity, especially in the Middle East and are gaining popularity in the USA, UK, and elsewhere.[6] Today, some of the highest quality and most extravagant hookah pipes come from Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Turkey. The hookah operates by water filtration and indirect heat. They can also be used for smoking fruits.

Good to know since smoking fruit is something I'm interesting in doing. Not.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mug Shot

funny word of the day: mug

Hard to believe that there's actually an entry on Wikipedia for this word, but there is. Here's the intro in case you've only ever drunk out of your hands:

"A mug is a sturdily built type of cup often used for drinking hot beverages, such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Mugs, by definition, have handles and often hold a larger amount of fluid than other types of cup. Usually a mug holds approximately 12 fluid ounces (350 ml) of liquid, double a tea cup. In formal settings a mug is usually not used for serving hot beverages, with a teacup or coffee cup being preferred. Shaving mugs can be used to assist in wet shaving."

We had some funny mugs growing up -- favorites included "Happy Divorce!" (that was my mom's), "Yuppie Manual" which featured cartoon versions of male and female Yuppies with arrows pointing at all their Yuppie accoutrements i.e. loafers, briefcase, headbands, and my prized Smurf mug that I still have today (pictured above). A guy I work with has a funny one as well -- it says "My name is Chad and I'll be your mug today."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Facial Hair can be Funny, Especially this One

funny word of the day: goatee

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \gō-ˈtē\
Function: noun
Etymology: from its resemblance to the beard of a he-goat
Date: 1844
: a small pointed or tufted beard on a man's chin
— goa·teed \-ˈtēd\ adjective

Sported by many celebrities, athletes and hipsters, the goatee, for whatever reason, has come back into fashion of late. According to Wikipedia, the word probably originated from the tuft of hair seen on an adult goat. There are several different types of goatees, detailed below:

French Fork – a double pointed goatee
Musketeer – a small, pointed goatee with an English moustache (narrow, prominent), as worn by the French mousquetaires
Van Dyck – a thick goatee and moustache with upturned ends, as worn by the 17th century Flemish painter Sir Anthony van Dyck. In modern usage, a Van Dyck is often any moustache and goatee combination.

My talented husband, a copywriter, created a genius (if I must say so myself) iPhone app called UArt, which allows you to snap a picture of yourself or someone else, upload it and add any facial hair you'd like, then shave it. So, for example, you could put a beard on someone and shave it into a goatee, if you so desired. It's really fun and you can download it in the Apple iPhone app store.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Remember The Bedazzler?

funny word of the day: bedazzle

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \bi-ˈda-zəl, bē-\
Function: transitive verb
Date: 1596
1 : to confuse by a strong light : dazzle 2 : to impress forcefully : enchant
— be·daz·zle·ment \-mənt\ noun

When I was a little girl, I owned a Bedazzler, which was a contraption that alllowed you to add rhinestones to just about anything you could punch through. I decided to buy a slew of white sailor hats and bedazzle them with gems and then sell them to my friends. Needless to say, there wasn't a big market in rhinestone-laden sailor hats and I had a stack of them on my closet shelf for years until my mom finally threw them out.

Yesterday's FWOTD: mirth

Monday, October 5, 2009

Squab is Funny Til You Find Out What it is...

funny word of the day: squab

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈskwäb\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural squabs
Etymology: probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Swedish dial. skvabb loose, fat flesh
Date: 1664
1 a : couch b : a cushion for a chair or couch2 or plural squab : a fledgling bird; specifically : a fledgling pigeon about four weeks old3 : a short fat person
— squab adjective

My husband and I were out to dinner at a restaurant in Brooklyn that had been written up in New York Magazine and featured a chef who had been a contestant on Top Chef. The special of the night was stuffed squab and my hubby bravely ordered it. Well, after taking forever to arrive at the table, he was faced with essentially a dead pigeon with its head and claws in tact. It was one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen...and I've seen a lot of disturbing things. He attempted to eat it because he was starving but barely made it through three bites. After the meal, the waitress (who had raved about the special) asked how it was and we said "not so good." Luckily they were nice enough to remove the squab from our bill -- thank god because we found out it cost $32! For a glorified pigeon? We could have killed one perched on our windowsill for free!
While there was nothing funny about that meal, squab is still a funny word (and funny bird -- I made a rhyme!). And by the way, we should have known better -- that chef was kicked off his season of Top Chef pretty early. Now we know why.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

SpongeBob Square Pants is Funny Too

funny word of the day: sponge

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈspənj\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English, from Latin spongia, from Greek
Date: before 12th century
1 a (1) : an elastic porous mass of interlacing horny fibers that forms the internal skeleton of various marine animals (phylum Porifera) and is able when wetted to absorb water (2) : a piece of sponge (as for scrubbing) (3) : a porous rubber or cellulose product used similarly to a sponge b : any of a phylum (Porifera) of aquatic chiefly marine simple invertebrate animals that have a double-walled body of loosely aggregated cells with a skeleton supported by spicules or spongin and are filter feeders that are sessile as adults
2 : a pad (as of folded gauze) used in surgery and medicine (as to remove discharge)
3 : one who lives on others
4 a : a soft mixture of yeast, liquid, and flour that is allowed to rise and then mixed with additional ingredients to create bread dough b : a whipped dessert usually containing whites of eggs or gelatin c : a metal (as platinum) obtained in porous form usually by reduction without fusion d : the egg mass of a crab
5 : an absorbent contraceptive device that is impregnated with spermicide and inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse to cover the cervix

synonyms see parasite

— sponge·like\ˈspənj-ˌlīk\ adjective

I suppose SpongeBob Square Pants, star of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon of the same name, is the kind of sponge that is an aquatic animal that are mostly found in marine waters. To me, he just looks like a regular kitchen sponge, except with a face and pants. Regardless, he's really funny. Should I be embarrassed that I regularly watch that show even though I don't have kids yet? Perhaps. But I'm not ashamed.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I Smelt the Smelt & It was Not Pretty

funny word of the day: smelt

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈsmelt\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural smelts or smelt
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Norwegian smelte whiting
Date: before 12th century
: any of a family (Osmeridae) of small bony fishes that closely resemble the trouts in general structure, live along coasts and ascend rivers to spawn or are landlocked, and have delicate oily flesh with a distinctive odor and taste

While I've never eaten smelt, it honestly doesn't sound the least bit appealing to me.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Nose Knows...

funny word of the day: nostril
Definition from Merriam-Webster:
Pronunciation: \ˈnäs-trəl\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English nosethirl, from Old English nosthyrl, from nosu nose + thyrel hole; akin to Old English thurh through
Date: before 12th century
1 : either of the external nares; broadly : either of the nares with the adjoining passage on the same side of the septum 2: either fleshy lateral wall of the nose

Some people, like Amy Winehouse, for example, like to put substances up their nostrils. Others prefer nose rings. Neither is my thing.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Are You Out of Your Gourd?

funny word of the day: gourd
Since it's now official autumn, there's a slight chill in the air (at least in NYC) and the temporary Halloween costume shops are starting to abound, I thought this fall vegetable/decorative object was an appropriate word.

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: \ˈgȯrd, ˈgu̇rd\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English gourde, from Anglo-French gurde, gourde, from Latin cucurbita
Date: 14th century
1 : any of a family (Cucurbitaceae, the gourd family) of chiefly herbaceous tendril-bearing vines including the cucumber, melon, squash, and pumpkin 2 : the fruit of a gourd : pepo; especially : any of various hard-rinded inedible fruits of plants of two genera (Lagenaria and Cucurbita) often used for ornament or for vessels and utensils
— out of one's gourd also off one's gourd : crazy

I like that this word is also used in a phrase that indicates someone is crazy.