Friday, October 23, 2009

Flimflam

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a trick or deception, especially a swindle or confidence game involving skillful persuasion or clever manipulation of the victim
2. a piece of nonsense; twaddle; bosh
-verb (used with object)
3. to trick, deceive, swindle, or cheat

Examples:
"The scam artist flimflammed me into paying full price for a fake diamond bracelet."
"Instead of using the traditional 'trick or treat' greeting this Halloween, amaze your friends with your intelligence by saying, 'flimflam or treat!'"

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1530s, a contemptuous echoic construction, perhaps connected to some unrecorded dialectal word from Scandinavian (cf. Old Norse flim 'a lampoon'). From 1650s as a verb."

Awkwardness rating: 7

I would never flimflam you. These are all genuine diamonds! (bridalsjewelrytips.blogspot.com)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Quaff

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-verb (used without object)
1. to drink a beverage, esp. an intoxicating one, copiously and with hearty enjoyment
-verb (used with object)
2. to drink (a beverage) copiously and heartily
-noun
3. an act or instance of quaffing
4. a beverage quaffed

Examples:
"Most of the party he was at the bar quaffing beer."
"Officer, I do not drink alcohol, I quaff."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1510s (implied in quaffer), perhaps imitative, or perhaps from Low German quassen 'to overindulge (in food and drink),' with -ss- misread as -ff-. Related: Quaffed; quaffing. The noun is attested by 1570s, from the verb."

Awkwardness rating: 5

I'm too refined to drink. I quaff. (naturechronicle.com)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Titillate

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-verb (used with object)
1. to excite or arouse agreeably
2. to tickle; excite a tingling or itching sensation in, as by touching or stroking lightly

Examples:
"The film attempts to titillate viewers with extensive special effects."
"His plan is to titillate her with his dance moves and then ask her out."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1610s, back formation from titillation (early 15c., 'pleasing excitement,' from Latin titillationem (nominative titillatio) 'a tickling,' noun of action from titillare 'to tickle,' imitative of giggling)."

Awkwardness rating: 9

What a titillating program! (gainesvillescene.com)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ginormous

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-adjective
1. informal. extremely large; huge

Examples:
"The portions at the restaurant were ginormous; one plate could have fed the entire table!"
"The bill for this wedding must be ginormous."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1948, perhaps originally military colloquial, from a merger of gigantic + enormous."

Awkwardness rating: 7

Glad I'm not footing that ginormous bill. (patheos.com)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flabbergasted

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-verb (used with object)
1. to overcome with surprise and bewilderment; astound

Examples:
"The cat was flabbergasted that her owner tried to feed her store brand cat food."
"After hitting on his prospective boss during the interview, Bob was flabbergasted that he did not get the job."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1772, mentioned (with bored) in a magazine article as a new vogue word, perhaps from some dialect (in 1823 flabbergast was noted as a Sussex word), likely an arbitrary formation from flabby or flapper and aghast."

Awkwardness rating: 7

Oh no you didn't! (imbapic.com)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Blurb

Suggested by Tim B. & Lucy F.

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a brief advertisement or announcement, especially a laudatory one

Examples:
"She writes little blurbs for the website about new products; I guess you could call her a blurbist."
"You should write a blurb about your business to go in the newspaper ad."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"used by U.S. scholar Brander Matthews (1852-1929) in 1906 in 'American Character;' popularized 1907 by U.S. humorist Frank Gelett Burgess (1866-1951). Originally mocking excessive praise printed on book jackets."

Awkwardness rating: 4

The blurbist at work. (wisegeek.com)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bamboozle

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-verb (used with object)
1. to deceive or get the better of (someone) by trickery, flattery, or the like; humbug; hoodwink
2. to perplex; mystify; confound
-verb (used without object)
3. to practice trickery, deception, cozenage, or the like

Examples:
"She has one of those things to put jewels all over your clothes...what do you call it...a Bamboozler?" "No, that would be a BeDazzler."
"I was bamboozled into coming to this stupid party; there was supposed to be some awesome band here."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1703, originally a slang or cant word, perhaps Scottish from bombaze 'perplex,' related to bombast, or French embabuiner 'to make a fool (lit. 'baboon') of.'"

Awkwardness rating: 5

I won't be bamboozled again. (visiondjs.com)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fuddyduddy

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a person who is stuffy, old-fashioned, and conservative
2. a person who is fussy or picayune about details; fussbudget
-adjective
3. stuffy, old-fashioned, and conservative
4. fussy; picayune

Examples:
"My Mom can be such a fuddyduddy about dating."
"Whenever you want to stop being such a fuddyduddy, maybe we can have some fun."

Origin: (from dictionary.com)
1900–05; of obscure origin

Awkwardness rating: 5

Everyone's favorite fuddyduddy. (quickboise.com)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fussbudget

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a fussy or needlessly fault-finding person

Examples:
"Mariah Carey is rumored to be a big fussbudget."
"You have overspent your fuss budget for the day, you fussbudget!"

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1904, from fuss (n.) + budget (n.). One of several similar formulations around this time: Cf. fussbox (1901); fusspot (1921)."

Awkwardness rating: 8

I'm only a fussbudget if my hair isn't perfect. (thedivarules.tumblr.com)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tot

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a small child

Examples:
"Someone needs to put a leash on that little tot over there."
"This doll would be perfect for a tot!"

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"'little child,' 1725, Scottish, of uncertain origin, perhaps a shortened form of totter, or related to Old Norse tottr, nickname of a dwarf (cf. Swedish tutte 'little child,' Danish tommel-tot 'little child,' in which the first element means 'thumb'). Tot-lot 'play ground for young children' is recorded from 1944."

Awkwardness rating: 5

A tot and her teddy bear. (kidztrainer.com)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kumquat

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a small, round or oblong citrus fruit having a sweet rind and acid pulp, used chiefly for preserves
2. any of several citrus shrubs of the genus Fortunella, native to China, that bear this fruit

Examples:
"Be sure to try our brand new kumquat flavored energy drink!"
"That boy has the IQ of a kumquat."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1690s, from Chinese (Cantonese) kamkwat, from kam 'golden' + kwat 'orange.' Cantonese dialectal form of Chinese kin-ku."

Awkwardness rating: 6

Kumquats prepared for your enjoyment. (needsupply.com)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hobnob

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-verb (used without object)
1. to associate on very friendly terms (usually followed by with)
2. archaic. to drink together
-noun
3. a friendly, informal chat

Examples:
"I wish I could go hobnob with the celebrities at the Oscars!"
"I don't think it's appropriate for you to hobnob with your professor like that."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1763, 'to drink to each other,' from hob and nob (1756) 'to toast each other by turns, to buy alternate rounds of drinks,' from c.1550 hab nab 'to have or have not, hit or miss,' probably ultimately from Old English habban, nabban 'have, not have,' with the negative particle ne- attached, as was customary. Modern sense of 'socialize' is 1866."

Awkwardness rating: 5

A party is a great place to hobnob. (eventup.com)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Schmo

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. slang. a foolish, boring, or stupid person

Examples:
"That schmo over there took the last cupcake."
"Quit being such a schmo and apologize to her."

Origin: (from etyomonline.com)
"also schmo, 'idiot, fool,' 1948, euphemized form of schmuck."

Awkwardness rating: 5

That schmo is eating my cupcake!
(dudeswithbeardseatingcupcakes.tumblr.com)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Heebie-jeebies

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun (used with a plural verb)
1. slang. a condition of extreme nervousness caused by fear, worry, strain, etc.; the jitters; the willies (usually preceded by the)

Examples:
"Yo Mama so ugly, her face gives me the heebie-jeebies."
"When you say you've got 'the heebie-jeebies' I can't tell if you mean you're scared or you have a bug infestation."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1923, said to have been coined by U.S. cartoonist Billy De Beck (1890-1942), creator of 'Barney Google.'"

Awkwardness rating: 8

Even Dorothy gets the heebie-jeebies! (theartoftakingaction.com)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Podunk

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. any small and insignificant or inaccessible town or village

Examples:
"This is the most podunk town I've ever been to - there isn't even a traffic light."
"He's from some podunk place upstate, so you really can't judge him on his fashion sense."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"legendary small town, 1846, originally the name of a small group of Indians who lived around the Podunk River in Connecticut; the tribe name is in colonial records from 1656 (as Potunck), from southern New England Algonquian (Mohegan or Massachusetts) Potunk, probably from pautaunke, from pot- 'to sink' + locative suffix -unk, thus "'boggy place.' Its popularity as the name of a typical (if mythical) U.S. small town dates from a series of witty 'Letters from Podunk' which ran in the 'Buffalo Daily National Pilot' newspaper beginning Jan. 5, 1846."

Awkwardness rating: 6

It's real! (eccentricroadside.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Persnickety

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-adjective
1. informal. overparticular; fussy
2. informal. snobbish or having the aloof attitude of a snob
3. informal. requiring painstaking care

Examples:
"That cheerleader is so persnickety about her hair."
"Don't be so persnickety about studying for that exam - you're going to fail anyway."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1889, alteration of pernickety"

Awkwardness rating: 3

Persnickety? Is that a candy bar? (cdeminski.files.wordpress.com)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Coagulate

Suggested by Karen R.

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
1. to change from a fluid into a thickened mass; curdle; congeal
2. biology. (of blood) to form a clot
3. physical chemistry. (of colloidal particles) to flocculate or cause to flocculate by adding an electrolyte to an electrostatic colloid

Examples:
"My friend left out the milk for so long it coagulated."
"You have to wait for the jello to coagulate before you eat it."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"early 15c., from Latin coagulatus, past participle of coagulare 'to cause to curdle,' from cogere 'to curdle, collect' (see cogent). Earlier coagule, c.1400, from Middle French coaguler."

Awkwardness rating: 4

Delicious coagulation. (momontimeout.com)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lallygagging

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-verb (used without object)
1. informal. to spend time idly; loaf

Examples:
"I really should stop lallygagging on Awkward Words Blog and study for my exam."
"One of my favorite activities is to procrastinate by lallygagging on Facebook."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"'dawdle, dally,' 1862, lallygag, American English, perhaps from dialectal lolly 'tongue' + gag 'deceive, trick.'"

Awkwardness rating: 6

Garfield knows how to lallygag properly. (dioclese.blogspot.com )

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Higgledy-piggledy

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-adverb
1. in a jumbled, confused, or disorderly manner; helter-skelter

Examples:
"They picked up the trash scattered higgledy-piggledy across the floor after the party."
"She acted all higgledy-piggledy after the soccer ball hit her in the head so we took her to the emergency room."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"'confusedly, hurriedly,' 1590s, a 'vocal gesture' [OED] probably formed from pig and the animal's suggestions of mess and disorder. Reduplications in the h-/p- pattern are common (e.g. hanky-panky, hocus-pocus, hinch(y)-pinch(y), an obsolete children's game, attested from c.1600)."

Awkwardness rating: 9

The leftovers spread higgledy-piggledy after Mardi Gras. (vi.sualize.us)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Dynamo

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. an electric generator, especially for direct current
2. an energetic, hardworking, forceful person

Examples:
"He was a dynamo in the kitchen - no food left unless it was cooked to perfection."
"Three hours of practice each day makes her the only dynamo in underwater basket weaving in the world."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1882, short for dynamo-machine, from German dynamoelektrischemaschine 'dynamo-electric machine,' coined 1867 by its inventor, German electrical engineer Werner Siemans (1816-1892), from Greek dynamis 'power.'"

Awkwardness rating: 4

Gordon Ramsay is the ultimate dynamo in the kitchen. (caffevita.com)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bog

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. wet, spongy ground with soil composed mainly of decayed vegetable matter
2. an area or stretch of such ground
-verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
3. to sink in or as if in a bog (often followed by down)

Examples:
"I spend my summer days harvesting cranberries from the bog."
"I'm so bogged down with work I decided to move into my office to save time."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
noun: "c.1500, from Gaelic and Irish bogach 'bog,' from adjective bog 'soft, moist,' from PIE *bhugh-, from root *bheugh- 'to bend' (see bow (v.)). Bog-trotter applied to the wild Irish from 1670s."
verb: "'to sink (something or someone) in a bog,' c.1600, from bog (n.). Intransitive use from c.1800."

Awkwardness rating: 2

Did you know cranberries are grown in a bog? (pumpkinpolarbear.blogspot.com )

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Straddle

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-verb (used without object)
1. to walk, stand, or sit with the legs wide apart; stand or sit astride
2. to stand wide apart, as the legs
3. to favor or appear to favor both sides of an issue, political division, or the like, at once; maintain an equivocal position
-verb (used with object)
4. to walk, stand, or sit with one leg on each side of; stand or sit astride of
5. to spread (the legs) wide apart
6. to favor or appear to favor both sides of (an issue, political division, etc.)
-noun
7. an act or instance of straddling
8. the distance straddled over
9. the taking of a noncommittal position

Examples:
"The politician straddled between the two sides of the issue to please all his constituents."
"The wrestler straddled his opponent and pinned him to the ground."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1560s, 'spread the legs wide,' probably an alteration of striddle (mid-15c.), frequentative of striden (see stride (v.)). Transitive sense 'place one leg on one side of and the other on the other side of' is from 1670s. U.S. colloquial figurative sense of 'take up an equivocal position, appear to favor both sides' is attested from 1838. The noun is first recorded 1610s."

Awkwardness rating: 4

Straddling issues is a favorite tool of many politicians. (czarjustice.com)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Glob

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1.a drop or globule of a liquid
2. a usually rounded quantity or lump of some plastic or moldable substance

Examples:
"After the cook-out there were globs of ketchup everywhere."
"Be sure to flatten out that glob of paint on the wall."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1900, perhaps suggested by blob, gob, etc."

Awkwardness rating: 6

Not even Monet could avoid paint globs. (flickr.com/photos/shardtor)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Angina

Suggested by Kristen P.

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. pathology
a. any attack of painful spasms characterized by sensations of choking or suffocating
b. any disease of the throat or fauces

Examples:
"He had a bad case of angina."
"Her angina was acting up and she had to leave the party."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1570s, from Latin angina 'infection of the throat,' from Greek ankhone 'a strangling' (see anger); probably influenced in Latin by angere 'to throttle.' Angina pectoris is from 1744, from Latin pectoris, genitive of pectus 'chest' (see pectoral (adj.))."

Awkwardness rating: 10

My angina is out of control! (mommasays.net)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Moist

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-adjective
1. moderately or slightly wet; damp
2. (of the eyes) tearful
3. accompanied by or connected with liquid or moisture
4. (of the air) having high humidity

Examples:
"The sheets in that cheap hotel were moist."
"The brownies were so moist and delicious."

Origin: (from etyomonline.com)
"late 14c., 'moist, wet; well-irrigated,' from Old French moiste 'damp, wet, soaked' (13c., Modern French moite), from Vulgar Latin *muscidus 'moldy,' also 'wet,' from Latin mucidus 'slimy, moldy, musty,' from mucus 'slime.' Alternative etymology [Diez] is from Latin musteus 'fresh, green, new,' literally 'like new wine,' from musteum 'new wine' (see must (n.1)). If this wasn't the source, it influenced the form of the other word in Old French."

Awkwardness rating: 8

So moist. So delicious. (pixelatedcrumb.com)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hoopla

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. bustling excitement or activity; commotion; hullabaloo; to-do
2. sensational publicity; ballyhoo
3. speech or writing intended to mislead or to obscure an issue

Examples:
"The kids thought they saw a mermaid in the ocean and there was quite a hoopla. Unfortunately, it was just a deflated raft."
"Sounds like a lot of hoopla to make over a little Krabby Patty, right?" - From "Spongebob Squarepants"

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1877, hoop la, American English, earlier houp-la, exclamation accompanying quick movement (1870), of unknown origin, perhaps borrowed from French houp-là 'upsy-daisy,' also a cry to dogs, horses, etc."

Awkwardness rating: 6

Well said. (weheartit.com)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gnome

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. (in folklore) one of a species of diminutive beings, usually described as shriveled little old men, that inhabit the interior of the earth and act as guardians of its treasures; troll
2. an expert in monetary or financial affairs; international banker or financier

Examples:
"Your grandpa looks like a gnome."
"I swear the gnomes in her garden are watching me."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"'dwarf-like earth-dwelling spirit,' 1712, from French gnome, from Modern Latin gnomus, used 16c. in a treatise by Paracelsus, who gave the name pigmaei or gnomi to elemental earth beings, possibly from Greek *genomos 'earth-dweller' (cf. thalassonomos "inhabitant of the sea"). A less-likely suggestion is that Paracelsus based it on the homonym that means 'intelligence' (preserved in gnomic). Popular in children's literature 19c. as a name for red-capped German and Swiss folklore dwarfs. Garden figurines first imported to England late 1860s from Germany."

Awkwardness rating: 3

We are always watching. (thecraftyhostess.com)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sasquatch

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. Big Foot (a very large, hairy, humanoid creature reputed to inhabit wilderness areas of the U.S. and Canada, especially the Pacific Northwest)

Examples:
"If you get any taller you'll look like a sasquatch."
"When I went camping last year a sasquatch knocked my tent over."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1929, from Halkomelem (Salishan), a native language of the Pacific Northwest, sæsq'ec, one of a race of huge, hairy man-monsters supposed to inhabit the Pacific northwest woods in American Indian lore and also known as bigfoot."

Awkwardness rating: 5

It was the sasquatch who did it, Mom, I swear! (upstatebouldering.blogspot.com)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Crevice

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a crack forming an opening; cleft; rift; fissure

Examples:
"I looked into the crevice to see what lurked inside."
"The Duchess of Cambridge got her heel stuck in a crevice once so I feel better when it happens to me."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"mid-14c., from Old French crevace (12c., Modern French crevasse) 'gap, rift, crack' (also, vulgarly, 'the female pudenda'), from Vulgar Latin *crepacia, from Latin crepare 'to crack, creak;' meaning shifted from the sound of breaking to the resulting fissure."

Awkwardness rating: 7

Even royalty can be felled by a crevice! (itv.com)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Platypus

By popular demand...

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a small, aquatic, egg-laying monotreme, Ornithorhynchus anatinus, of Australia and Tasmania, having webbed feet, a tail like that of a beaver, a sensitive bill resembling that of a duck, and, in adult males, venom-injecting spurs on the ankles of the hind limbs, used primarily for fighting with other males during the breeding season

Examples:
"Peter picked a pretty purple platypus."
"The male platypus has venomous ankle spurs."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"Australian duck-mole, 1799, from Modern Latin, from Greek platypous, literally 'flat-footed,' from platys 'broad, flat' (see plaice (n.)) + pous 'foot' (see foot)."

Awkwardness rating: 5

A platypus! (edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mucilaginous

Inspired by Caitlin M.'s Suggestion

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or secreting mucilage
2. of the nature of or resembling mucilage; moist, soft, and viscid

Examples:
"Marshmallows were historically made from the mucilaginous root of a plant."
"Babies are cute until they give you a mucilaginous surprise."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"early 15c., 'viscous, sticky,' from Medieval Latin muscilaginosus, from Late Latin mucilaginosus, from mucillago (see mucilage)."

Awkwardness rating: 6

A marshmallow getting back to its mucilaginous roots. (dirtygourment.com)

Unguent

Suggested by Kris F.

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. an ointment or salve, usually liquid or semiliquid, for application to wounds, sores, etc.

Examples:
"He rubbed the unguent on her leg."
"The doctor prescribed me some unguent for my infection."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"'ointment, early 15c., from Latin unguentem 'ointment,' from stem of unguere 'to anoint or smear with ointment,' from PIE root *ongw- 'to salve, anoint' (cf. Sanskrit anakti 'anoints, smears,' Armenian aucanem 'I anoint,' Old Prussian anctan 'butter,' Old High German ancho, German anke 'butter,' Old Irish imb, Welsh ymenyn 'butter')."

Awkwardness rating: 8

Unguent looks about as awkward as it sounds! (frugallysustainable.com)

Eyeball

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. the ball or globe of the eye
2. informal. eyeballs: people who view or read something
-verb (used with object)
3. informal. to look at, check, or observe closely
-idioms
4. slang. give (someone) the hairy eyeball. to look at (someone) with eyelids partly lowered, as in hostility or distrust

Examples:
"I think there is something on my eyeball."
"Place the contact lens on the center of your eyeball."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"also eye-ball, 1580s, from eye (n.) + ball (n.1). As a verb, 1901, American English slang."

Awkwardness rating: 8

Some eyeballs are made to be eaten! (candyfavorites.com)