Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hippopotamus

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a large herbivorous mammal, Hippopotamus amphibius, having a thick hairless body, short legs, and a large head and muzzle, found in and near the rivers, lakes, etc., of Africa, and able to remain under water for a considerable time

Examples:
"I am hungry as a hippopotamus."
"A hippopotamus has a better chance of being skinny than you do of getting that girl's number."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1560s, from Late Latin hippopotamus, from Greek hippopotamus 'riverhorse' (earlier ho hippos ho potamios 'the horse of the river'), from hippos 'horse' (see equine) + potamos 'river, rushing water' (see potamo-). Replaced Middle English ypotame (c.1300), which is from the same source but via Old French. Glossed in Old English as sæhengest."

Awkwardness rating: 4

A baby hippo for your enjoyment. (1funny.com)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Snollygoster

Definition: (from thefreedictionary.com)
-noun
1. slang. one, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles

Examples:
"That politician is a snollygoster; he would do anything to get reelected even if it would harm his constituents."
"You knowingly charged me way too much for this car! You are a dirty snollygoster!"

Origin: (from word-detective.com)
"The most likely origin of 'snollygoster' is another, very similar, word — 'snallygaster.' From the German 'schnelle (quick)' plus 'geister (spirits),' a 'snallygaster' was a mythical monster (a giant reptilian bird, according to one source) said, among residents of Maryland, to attack and eat livestock as well as the occasional child. Just how Maryland’s version of Rodan came to be associated with avaricious politicians is anyone’s guess, but the resemblance of 'snollygoster' to 'snallygaster' is too striking to ignore."

Awkwardness rating: 9
A snollygoster or a giant reptilian bird? (leetaru.com)