Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Fun for the word nerds

Just pondering some words that are inherently funny. I don't mean words whose meanings evoke humor, but words that just sound funny all by themselves. As a group, I think the funniest are words that mean surprised or puzzled, like "kerfuffled," "bamboozled," "flummoxed" and "gobsmacked." The derivation of only the last one is clear, as in "being so surprised you slap your hand to your open mouth," or "gob" in British parlance, as in "Shut yer festering gob!" There are lots of other useful British words and phrases you should know... where was I? Oh yes... lots of animals have funny names even though the animal itself it not particularly amusing. I have to admit my views in this area are somewhat colored by Monty Python. I mean, how can you not suppress a chuckle at the mere mention, even in the most serious context, of "halibut," "wombat," "stoat," "vole" or "hedgehog"? To that list I would add "aardvark," "penguin," "cow," "moose," "flounder," "mackerel" and -- DUH! -- "yak." Here are a few random other words that strike me as funny: "accordion" (but not kazoo, which is too obvious), "soupcon," "pomegranate," "bloviate," "trollop," "wainscoting" (but not beadboard or crown molding), "doofus," "enchilada," "spectacles" (but not glasses), "wimple," "macerate," "sockdolager"... Here's a whole list I found. So what other words are funny?

A recent Becky remark: "I wish I didn't have a bladder in my life." Don't we all.

And finally, if you haven't already seen it, the abridged version of James Cameron's Titanic bloviation.

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