Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Jumping off the Christmas bandwagon for a mo...a few rather odd words I've encountered, or odd usage of words; adding still more words, but these used beautifully, expertly strung together.

I came across the strange word "kayfabe" last week during that wee storm in a teacup resulting from a security breach in the Clinton campaign data, allowing certain members of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign to see stuff they shouldn't've.

Definition of kayfabe in English:
(In professional wrestling) the fact or convention of presenting staged performances as genuine or authentic: a masterful job of blending kayfabe and reality he’s not someone who can break kayfabe and talk about the business [as modifier]: I heard that AJ approached him to rehearse a kayfabe segment

1980s: origin uncertain; often said to have arisen in American traveling carnivals. One explanation interprets the word as an alteration of 'be fake' written backwards, while the -ay- element is typical of the way in which words are formed in pig Latin.

Derp - is another peculiar word I keep stumbling over:

Derp is an expression associated with stupidity, much like the earlier forms of interjections like “duh” and “dur.” In image macros, the subject is typically portrayed with eyes that are pointed to each side and a caption that reads “DERP.” The words “herp” and “derp” are often used in rage comics to replace nondescript names or parts of conversation.
More at Know Your Meme

Evolution/devolution of words:
"Dated" - these days in popular media-speak = slept with and reported it. The word 'Czar' has slid downward, and rather ignominiously to now describe, in journalese, a subordinate official put in charge of implementing a specified area of policy. And the suffix "-gate" can be, and is, tacked jauntily onto any word to describe a major or minor scandal, political, financial or sexual....bringing, irrelevantly, to mind the legendary Model Major General's words: I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral.

Some more words - but these have been very well put together by writers I've always enjoyed reading.

“We can't stop reading. Compulsively we find ourselves reading significance into dreams (we construct a science upon it); into tea-leaves and the fall of cards. We look up at the shifting vapours in the sky, and see faces, lost cities, defeated armies. Isolated in the dark, with nothing to hear and no surfaces to touch, we hallucinate reading-matter. Our craving becomes generalized – for 'the meaning of life'.

If we lived alone in a featureless desert we should learn to place the individual grains of sand in a moral or aesthetic hierarchy. We should long to find the greatest grain of sand in the world, and even (in order to find a fixed point of orientation in time as well as in space) the all-time greatest grain of sand; the grain of sand whose discovery changed our whole understanding of grains of sand for ever.”

― Michael Frayn, Constructions

“The almost egregiously English couple, Cedric and Rosamund Chailey, had slipped quietly away when the conversation turned to God. It had not seemed polite to be present when anything so American was being discussed.”
― Michael Frayn, Skios

I am firm. You are obstinate. He is a pig-headed fool.
Katharine Whitehorn

Americans, indeed, often seem to be so overwhelmed by their children that they'll do anything for them except stay married to the co-producer.
Katharine Whitehorn

“I know this goes without saying, but Stonehenge really was the most incredible accomplishment. It took five hundred men just to pull each sarsen, plus a hundred more to dash around positioning the rollers. Just think about it for a minute. Can you imagine trying to talk six hundred people into helping you drag a fifty-ton stone eighteen miles across the countryside and muscle it into an upright position, and then saying, 'Right, lads! Another twenty like that, plus some lintels and maybe a couple of dozen nice bluestones from Wales, and we can party!' Whoever was the person behind Stonehenge was one dickens of a motivator, I'll tell you that.”
― Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island

“The upshot of all this is that we live in a universe whose age we can't quite compute, surrounded by stars whose distances we don't altogether know, filled with matter we can't identify, operating in conformance with physical laws whose properties we don’t truly understand.”
― Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything.


mike said...

Our current American, embarrassing entertainment of politician wannabes yodeling their wares, asserting prowess for role as king or queen, has words at center stage. The jargon is being lobbed as weaponry, whether as lies, mockery, or direct insults. That pictures have more informational content than words, today's headlines indicate that Teddi Cruz is outraged over the Washington Post's editorial cartoon depicting his two daughters as monkeys performing to his organ grinding. He asserts that his daughters are off-limits. The cartoon is a satirical response to Cruz' use of his two daughters in a political video, allowing the viewer to infer Cruz' deep family values.

Interesting too, that Oxford Dictionary's word of the year is a pictograph of emoji! Not a word at all, but rather a hieroglyph...LOL.

Webster's Dictionary selected a suffix as word of the year: "-ism".

Is the world of lexicon and morphemes collapsing?!

mike (again) said...

P.S. - Sometimes less is more. Starbucks' red coffee cup sin words has caused a kerfuffle.

“Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups.” Joshua Feuerstein, evangelist

Twilight said...

mike ~ Getting seasonally silly all around isn't it ?!

Still - I learned a new word just from your comment: morpheme. I do not expect to be using it any time soon, but it's good to know its meaning. :-)

Starbucks would do better reducing their highly ridiculous prices than playing silly games with their darned cups!

Sonny G said...

so many of them and so often used for all the wrong reasons.

too bad the best 3 are the most overlooked.


Twilight said...

Sonny ~ So very true! If every "Holy Book" of every religion known to man were to be destroyed, and those 3 words put in their place, and voluntarily adhered to by all -
"what a wonderful world this would be!"

mike (again) said...

Yes, those derps that espouse the holy books and spoon-up the kayfabe should heed those three words...LOL.

mike (again) said...

I've been seeing "perp" all over the place. I checked with Oxford and it defines it as meaning perpendicular. Not. The slang term is: one who perpetrates a crime.

Sonny G said...

yep Perp has been in my vocabulary since the early 80's.. family in the sherriff and police departments.

mike (again) said...

Sonny - ?Que pasa? You previously said you'd be extra busy right now preparing for the holiday. Things good?

Kidd said...

"But Kidd... the word is 'ob-fus-cate' ... not 'ob-fuss-ti-cate"
- "I'm sorry man ... but my Mom was a Virgo"

I've never used 'perp'
- In the land of Dudley Do-Right ... we use 'suspect'

Twilight said...

mike ~ I picked up the meaning of "perp" from watching Law and Order SVU and repeats of same before we acquired Roku and Netflix. See - TV IS educational! ;-)

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Your birthday is coming up isn't it? In case I forget on the day - Many Happy Returns - I hope you have a wonderful day!

Twilight said...

Kidd ~ LOL! Virgos do like to fuss! Well, Dudley Do-Right is definitely a suspect show ! I'd never heard of it until I crossed the pond. ;-/