I heard myself the other day saying at work “It’s all tickety-boo!”. Where did that come from?! That just came out of my mouth, and this was probably the first time I used it.
Was I trying to scare someone? Nope. Did I buy tickets for some event? Well yes, but that’s not what I was talking about. I was just trying to say that all was going well with some stuff I had to do for work.
So I did some research to check I hadn’t said something I didn’t mean and I could keep my cool at work, and found out not only I used it right, but it had some unexpected origins! While it’s a modern British English word, “tickety-boo” seems to come from the times when the Bristish Army was in India and adapted a Hindi phrase with a similar sound: “ठीक हैं बाबू” /theak hai, babu/ (mute h), which is translated as “it’s all right, sir”.
Makes sense, I guess.
I’ve been a little in the doldrums and that’s why it took me some time to update.
Now, this doesn’t mean I’ve been in some exotic destination isolated from the world with no internet access, although Wikipedia says doldrums are regions of the ocean near the equator marked by calm and light variable winds. It seems like in the olden days when a vessel hit one of these calm regions of the ocean, it could be stuck there for days, and sailors called that being in the doldrums.
But no sir, what I was referring to was the other meaning of the word: a state or period of stagnation or slump, which means I’ve been a little bit lethargic, in a state of inactivity.
Well, it’s mostly that I’ve been just too lazy about the blog, but thought I’d use this awesome word as an excuse for a new post 🙂
Enough! It’s been more than a year from my last post, and I’ve decided it’s time for resurrection.
…So here I come again!
Along with the magnificent Fawlty Towers, another one of the best British sitcoms of all times is Blackadder: Mr. Bean meets Dr. House. And Stephen Fry. And John Cleese. Well, half the Monty Pythons, really.
Edmund Blackadder manages to survive the dark medieval era, the Elizibethan times, the reign of King George III and finally World War I. It was in this last season where the General Stephen Fry declares that he likes the term gobbledygook and orders to take note of it because he wants to use it more often in conversation.
So do I!
A journalist in the 40s in the US said once about politicians: They are always gobbledy gobbling and strutting with ludicrous pomposity. And after that glorious statement, people started using gobbledygook to castigate unintelligible language, especially jargon or bureaucratese. Inspiration: the turkey sounds.
Gobble, gobble, people.
Yes, I’ve been quiet for some time, but I have a good excuse. I have been thinking about this word I learnt last Friday at work: disgruntled.
It just means angry or discontent. It’s not the meaning what is peculiar about this word, though. It’s that, as one would expect, if you want to say the opposite (that you are happy or content) you should be able to just use the term “gruntled”.
Disgruntled is part of a kind of words known as unpaired opposites. Other examples are dismayed, disheveled, unkempt, unruly, disconsolate or uncouth. It is very often the negated form which has survived. I wonder why…
So how may you be disgruntled if you are not previously gruntled?
After some research, I’ve found the word “gruntled” once existed as a Middle English form of the word “gruntelen”, which is a form of the verb “to grunt”. Focus, people: we are talking about the Middle English grunt, which expresses a feeling of satisfaction, not the current English grunt, which is the sound pigs make. So apparently the English used to be gruntled in the Middle Ages, but nowadays they don’t grunt so much. Aw :_(
Grunt, Brits, grunt!
I didn’t have any favourite words today, so I was writing a post on “quirky”, which is a random word I like, but didn’t know how to explain it right. So I looked for examples on quirky things (weird things, but good weird – hey, I didn’t need a post for that!) and run into somebody who was afraid of ovens as she had dreams where she “somersaulted” into one and died.
Not sure about how quirky that is, but I liked “somersault” a lot!
To somersault is to do an acrobatic stunt in which the body rolls forward or backward in a complete revolution with the knees bent and the feet coming over the head.
Well, that’s definitely something I could only do in my dreams. I would just try to aim for something other than an oven.
I spotted this term for the first time in a David Bowie’s LP, and forgot about it until I heard it again today, after the fire alarm was triggered at work and after checking there were no problems they said “It’s all hunky dory“. You can get by the context they meant everything was in a satisfactory condition.
I made a little research on it’s etymology, as “hunky dory” sounds quite peculiar to me, and found out it has an American origin. The “hunky” bit seems to come from the American slang “hunkey“, which means “all right”, but the “dory” bit doesn’t seem so easy to track. The only info I found comes from a theory of the 1800s that traces “hunky dory” to “honcho dori“, said to be a street in Yokohama, Japan, where sailors went for diversions of the sort sailors enjoyed that time.
I got my first suggestion for the blog!
To snaffle is to take something for oneself, typically quickly or without permission. It has some connotations, like it is done usually in a cheeky fashion. That means snaffling is politically incorrect, but it is endearing and acceptable.
Wikipedia says that “historically to snaffle may also mean to simultaneously sniff and lick an object“. EW. Also, how do you lick and sniff at the same time? And here’s something that troubles me a little: who simultaneously licks and sniffs stuff so often to came up with a word to describe it?? Ah, never mind.