Monday, February 16, 2009

Play On Words

As a writer, I love to look up words that suddenly strike my fancy. The following are a few that I ran across and thought I'd share with you. Please don't forget to make a comment. Love to hear from you.

BALDERDASH – (1674) Webster’s Dictionary states the word as a noun, meaning nonsense. No one truly knows where the word originated. However, in 1766 it was referred to as a verb meaning a muddled mixture or adulterated liquors, better known as balderdash.

Statement: The wine merchants of Nice brew and balderdash, and even mixed it with pigeon's dung and quicklime. --Smollett.

That must have been a good balderdash mixture. Augh! I prefer today’s wines.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

FLIBBERTIGIBBET – The word originated in the 15th century from Middle English flepergebet, meaning featherbrain, scatterbrain, rattlehead, etc. Several dictionaries give the definition as: a silly flighty person, a gossip, a babbling meaningless statement or conversation, a foolish woman. Ouch, that smarts.

CHEAPSKATE - (1896) means a tight-fisted, stingy or miserly individual, not sharing or caring. The word is actually from two words:

Cheap coming from Middle English for good price, inexpensive.

Skate meaning a contemptible, deceitful person or a second-rate sportsman. This word is believed to have originated in Scotland referring to flamboyant dandies who dabbled with the women.

“Cheapskate” is a single from a British band, SUPERGRASS, in their album In It For the Money, released 1997.


Helen Ginger said...

I remember Flibbertigibbet from a movie. Mary Poppins?

Janet Grace Riehl said...


I use all three of these words with pleasure. They sound so good in your mouth!

I'm glad to know their origins.

Thank you.

Janet Riehl

Morgan Mandel said...

I don't use the other two words, but I use cheapskate often.

Morgan Mandel

Fairy Lady said...

Hi. One of my favorite words has always been phantasmagorical. It means magical, weird or bizarre. It's fun to say and sounds just like what it means.

Bobbie Hinman

Anonymous said...

I love flibbertigibbet!