Sunday, June 03, 2007

English Slang and American Weirdness

I've been reading "Scary Go Round" from the beginning, and I've learned some new British slang. Well, new to me anyway.
  • Skellington: variant of "skeleton." Pete pointed out it's also in the Cream song about the baby going down the drain. That song is awesome!
  • Trumps: farts.
  • Tupping: frickin'
  • Smalls: undergarments
"Skellington" is by far my favorite. Normally it's Americans adding extra sounds and syllables into English words ("burglarize" instead of "burgle," "Acclimatize" instead of "Acclimate", "Orientate" instead of "Orient"... there are other examples here and here - although it seems that some of the examples at those links are of British legthenings).

I've also been reading this great book about word origins that has some really wonderful, oft forgotten American words.
  • Hornswoggle: origin unknown. But it belongs to a group of "fancified" words invented in the American West to poke fun at the sophisticated. Why can't our anti-intellectuals invent words these days instead of "Blue Collar Comedy"? The next three are also examples of this.
  • Absquatulate: "to depart in a hurry." Faux-Latin affixes: ab- "away from;" -ate "to act upon in a specified manner." All around the made-up root -squatul-. Literally meaning: to squat away from. Hilarious!
  • Busticate: "to break into pieces."
  • Argufy: "to argue."
  • Buckaroo: from the Spanish "vaquero," or "cowboy." Interestingly, we got the word "cowboy" from translating "vaquero," and "buckaroo" from mispronouncing it!
  • Hosey: dibs. (Bostonian) Maybe from "call holdsies," maybe from the French "choisir," "to choose." But "I hosey shotgun!" is pretty neato.
There are others from that book, but I can't remember them. Also a neat word:
  • Grampus: kind of big fish in cold water. Also, an orc.
In fact, looking up "orc" to see if Pete could use it in Boggle is how we found the word Grampus.

::snicker:: grampus...


Eric said...

I've just got one word for you. Are you ready?


Aren said...

I've got two words for you:



Sydney said...

Wait, that wasn't Aren. That was Sydney. Damnit, it kept Aren's google login active on my stupid computer!

SonicLlama said...

I've always been amused that the word "yahoo" came from Gulliver's travels. They were these humanoid primitives who lived in a land ruled by anthropomorphic horse-beasts.
I guess "" didn't quite have the same ring to it.