Thursday, March 10, 2016


A zarf is the cardboard sleeve used on paper hot beverage cups.

There are lots of things commonly referred to as doohickeys, thingamajigs or whatchamacallits that have actual names.  
Thanks to BuzzFeed we can now know everything!!  
Are you familiar with any of these? 

Cornicione: the outer part of the crust on a pizza.

Barm: the foam on a beer.

Minimus: your little toe or finger.

Griffonage: illegible handwriting, like Mrs. Cranky's shopping list.

(The word "pepper" was written by Cranky, himself.)  

Defenestrate: to throw out a window.

Snellen chart: the chart you look at when you take an eye exam.

Brannock device: the thing they use to measure your feet at the shoe store.

Interrobang: what it’s called when you combine a question mark with an exclamation point like this: ?!

Phloem bundles: those long stringy things you see when peeling a banana.

Crapulence: that sick feeling you get after eating or drinking too much.

Obelus: the division sign (÷).

Ideolocator: a “you are here” sign.

Mamihlapinatapai: the look shared by two people who both hope the other will offer to do something that they both want but aren’t willing to do.
Octothorpe: the pound (#) button on a telephone.

Scurryfunge: the time you run around cleaning frantically right before company comes over.

Nurdle: A tiny dab of toothpaste.

(Does anyone know why Google randomly
changes type sizes & fonts?
Is it just because they can?

Aphthongs: silent letters.

Snollygoster: A person guided by personal advantage rather than consistent principles. See: every politician ever.

Tmesis: when you separate a word into two for effect. Example: “Fishducky writes the asbo-freakin’-lutely best blog on the planet!!”

Lemniscate: the infinity symbol.

Wamble: Stomach rumbling.

Agraffe: the wired cage that holds the cork in a bottle of champagne.

Natiform: something that resembles a butt.

Glabella: The space between the eyebrows. 
You are now looking at Ryan Gosling’s glabella.

Vagitus: The cry of a newborn baby.

Gynecomastia: Man-boobs.

Chanking: Spat-out food.

Misophonia: Getting mad at someone for eating or breathing too loudly (among other things). It’s also a brain disorder.

Overmorrow: The day after tomorrow.

Niggly Wiggly: The paper ribbon at the top of Hershey’s Kiss.

But it's not always learning new words that's a problem.  My Ducky Carole sent me this email that shows how we forget a lot of perfectly good old words.  Thanks, Carole!!

Heavens to Murgatroyd!"  Would you believe the email spell checker did not recognize the word 'murgatroyd'?

Lost Words from our childhood:

Words gone as fast as the buggy whip! Sad really! The other day a not so elderly (65) lady said something to her son about driving a Jalopy and he looked at her quizzically and said what the heck is a Jalopy? OMG (new phrase!) he never heard of the word jalopy!!

So they went to the computer and pulled up a picture from the movie "The Grapes of Wrath." Now that was a Jalopy! She knew she was old but not that old...

I hope you are 
'Hunky dory' after you read this and chuckle...

by Richard Lederer

About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included "Don't touch that dial," "Carbon copy," "You sound like a broken record" and "Hung out to dry." A bevy of readers have asked me to shine light on more faded words and expressions, and I am happy to oblige:

Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie. We'd put on our best bib and tucker and straighten up and fly right. Hubba-hubba! We'd cut a rug in some juke joint and then go necking and petting and smooching and spooning and billing and cooing and pitching woo in hot rods and jalopies in some passion pit or lovers lane. Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumping Jehoshaphat! Holy moley! We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley, and even a regular guy couldn't accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!

Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when's the last time anything was swell? Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A.; of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal pushers. Oh, my aching back. Kilroy was here, but he isn't anymore. Like Washington Irving 's Rip Van Winkle and Kurt Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim, we have become unstuck in time.

We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we can say, I'll be a monkey's uncle! or This is a fine kettle of fish! we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards. Poof, poof, poof go the words of our youth, the words we've left behind. We blink, and they're gone, evanesced from the landscape and wordscape of our perception, like Mickey Mouse wristwatches, hula hoops, skate keys, candy cigarettes, little wax bottles of colored sugar water and an organ grinders monkey.

Where have all those phrases gone? Long time passing. Where have all those phrases gone? Long time ago: Pshaw. The milkman did it. Think about the starving Armenians. Bigger than a bread box. Banned in Boston. The very idea! It's your nickel. Don't forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Turn-of-the-century. Iron curtain. Domino theory. Fail safe. Civil defense. Fiddlesticks! You look like the wreck of the Hesperus. Cooties. Going like sixty. I'll see you in the funny papers. Don't take any wooden nickels. Heavens to Murgatroyd! And awa-a-ay we go!

Oh, my stars and garters! It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter had liver pills. This can be disturbing stuff, this winking out of the words of our youth, these words that lodge in our heart's deep core. But just as one never steps into the same river twice, one cannot step into the same language twice. Even as one enters, words are swept downstream into the past, forever making a different river.

We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeful times. For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It's one of the greatest advantages of aging. We can have archaic and eat it, too.

See ya later, alligator!
(To which the only proper response is "after a while, crocodile!!)

This should have been included in the first section:
Vocable: the "na na nas" & "la la las" in song lyrics that don’t have any meaning, also many of fishducky's posts.



  1. 'We can have archaic and eat it, too.' Good to hear. What flavours does arachaic come in?

  2. I couldn't use any of those words, can;t remember them or pronounce them, except "nurdle" I will use that one.

    Mrs. C says thank you and wonders if she is now famous.

  3. These are good! I saved them on a spread sheet so I can sound smart next time I see a butt thing.

    1. I've met several people that are natiform!!

  4. Snollygoster? Great word and one I intend to use.

  5. Ha ha, and that was one of Mrs. Cranky's most legible lists:) Love all those lost words and I do still use some of them. Perhaps one word that has had real staying power is "cool." It was relevant in the 50s and is still used today by the youngsters.

    1. Don't you think it's cool that cool kids today still say "Cool!!"?

  6. the only proper response is 'IN a while, crocodile', well it is here downunder, in the land of young whippersnappers. We've lost so many of our unique Australianisms; I can't remember the last time I heard someone silly called a 'muttonhead'.

    1. They may no longer be called that, but there are still LOTS of them around!!

  7. How do they come up with those words, such as Niggly Wiggly? When we went on car trips with our kids, we made up Burma Shave sayings, though they haven't been around for many years.


    1. I LOVED the Burma Shave signs--I may do a post on them!!


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