My life as a writing center director can easily become mundane. As my staff and I look at academic essay after research paper after class project, we quickly drown in correct grammar, active voice, and other aspects of formal writing for judging eyes that will ultimately grade the work with which we assist. Sometimes, though, we want to avoid the highfaluting, perfection sought in scholastic endeavors. We let our hair down and guffaw over words that tickle the tongue, cheer the ear, and satisfy our sensibilities. Are you ever like that? Do you, too, seek words that challenge your tongue and cause your brain to do a double take? Recently, I composed a list of words to share with a particular Writing Consultant who savors words as a chef does an exquisite dish of tempting flavors. Without further ado, let’s explore four tongue pleasing, ear thrilling words.
When is the last time someone in your presence uttered “walloped”? Has it been so long that even the meaning escapes your conscience? Perhaps the following context will help: Ellie May told a whopper (lie), and Daddy walloped her for it. Now, you and I might think he spanked her, but others might see a walloping more as a beating. You decide, but know this is a term and an action we hope has died. However, if two boys are duking it out and one wallops the other, you know there was a clear winner.
I’m as old as dirt, and only recently I discovered the word foofaraw. What a great word! Say it loud and clear: FOO-FAR-ALL! Now, wasn’t that satisfying? What does it mean? Who cares; it’s so much fun to say! Oh, wait. You do care? Well, it means much attention given to a minor matter: The students created a foofaraw when the professor announced they’d have an extra day to study. Now, don’t you feel smarter already? Or are you laughing, as am I?
My partner in seeking eccentric words giggles with me over hubbub. Say hubbub fast three times. It’s almost impossible, isn’t it? Say it loud enough and with enough laughter, and you’ll BE the hubbub, which is a loud hullabaloo. How’s that for an explanation? You say that using an obsolete word to define an archaic word doesn’t work for you? Well, fine. Hubbub is a noisy situation caused by loud talking and laughter. A hullabaloo is similar but may be more negative – less laughter more irritation.
Friends, those are four words that cause much laughter, hubbub, and even foofaraw in your favorite Writing Center. We love language, and we enjoy unusual, uncommon terms. In fact, we like them so much that we just might share a few more outdated, amusing words in another blog. Share your favorite funny words in the comment section; we could always use more laughter.