Friday, October 11, 2013

Driblet

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a small portion or part
2. a small or petty sum

Examples:
"I only asked for a driblet of blood to quench my thirst but she screamed and ran away." - Dracula
"The driblet of Halloween candy offered at each house made the trick-or-treaters angry."

Origin: (etymonline.com)
"1590s, diminutive of drib (n.)."

Awkwardness rating: 4

Only a driblet? We'll be back with some eggs! (theguardian.com)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hubbub

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a loud, confused noise, as of many voices
2. tumult; uproar

Examples:
"There was a great hubbub in the living room after Dad's favorite football team lost the game."
"The hubbub coming from the classroom could only mean that the teacher had just announced a pop quiz."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1550s, whobub 'confused noise,' generally believed to be of Irish origin, perhaps from Gaelic ub!, expression of aversion or contempt, or Old Irish battle cry abu, from buide 'victory.'"

Awkwardness rating: 5

Make sure to hubbub-proof your home this football season. (walkoffpunt.wordpress.com)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Flibbertigibbet

Suggested by Helena G.

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. a chattering or flighty, light-headed person
2. archaic. a gossip

Examples:
"Don't trust Barbie with your secrets; she's a flibbertigibbet."
"They should create a tabloid called 'Flibbertigibbet.' It would be an appropriate title."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1540s, 'chattering gossip, flighty woman,' probably a nonsense word meant to sound like fast talking; as the name of a devil or fiend it dates from c.1600."

Awkwardness rating: 9

My favorite tabloid, "Flibbertigibbet." (cliparts101.com)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Twelfth

Suggested by Deven T.

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
- adjective
1. next after the eleventh; being the ordinal number for 12
2. being one of 12 equal parts
-noun
3. a twelfth part, especially of one (1/12 )
4. the twelfth member of a series

Examples:
"I will go out with you on the twelfth of never."
"Nothing rhymes with twelfth - it's that awkward of a word."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"Old English twelfta, cognate with Old Norse tolfti, Old Frisian twelefta, Old High German zwelifto, German zwölfte. Old English twelftan niht 'Twelfth Night,' the eve of Epiphany, which comes twelve days after Christmas, formerly was a time of merrymaking."

Awkwardness rating: 5

Don't cry orange, twelfth feels your pain. (needleful.com)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shilly-shally

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-verb (used without object)
1. to show indecision or hesitation; be irresolute; vacillate
2. to waste time; dawdle
-noun
3. irresolution; indecision; vacillation
-adjective
4. irresolute; undecided; vacillating
-adverb
5. irresolutely

Examples:
"My girlfriend said I can't shilly-shally about our future together. Why would she think I was dancing about our relationship?"
"Congress seems to be stuck in permanent shilly-shally these days."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"'to vacillate,' 1782, from adverbial expression to stand shilly-shally (1703), earlier shill I, shall I (1700), a fanciful reduplication of shall I? (cf. wishy-washy, dilly-dally, etc.). From 1734 as an adjective, by 1755 as a noun."

Awkwardness rating: 7
C'mon everybody, do the shilly-shally! (mid-centurypink.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tipple

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-verb (used without object)
1. to drink intoxicating liquor, especially habitually or to some excess
-verb (used with object)
2. to drink (intoxicating liquor), especially repeatedly, in small quantities
-noun
3. intoxicating liquor

Examples:
"He told me he went to tipple at the local bar and I found him asleep on a park bench the next morning."
"After tippling all weekend, Brad experienced the longest Monday of his life at the office."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1530s, 'sell alcoholic liquor by retail,' of unknown origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source (e.g. Norwegian dialectal tipla 'to drink slowly or in small quantities'). Meaning 'drink (alcoholic beverage) too much' is first attested 1550s."

Awkwardness rating: 7

If you tipple all weekend, Monday might look like this. (richardtimothy.com)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Secretion

Suggested by Erin H.

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. (in a cell or gland) the act or process of separating, elaborating, and releasing a substance that fulfills some function within the organism or undergoes excretion
2. the product of this act or process

Examples:
"Christopher, secretion is a biological process - not something you do at the dinner table."
"I bet poison dart frogs are like, 'Hey bird, I made this secretion just for you!'"

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1640s, 'act of secreting;' 1732, 'that which is secreted,' from French sécrétion, from Latin secretionem (nominative secretio) 'a dividing, separation,' noun of action from past participle stem of secernere 'to separate, set apart.'"

Awkwardness rating: 6

Secretion: that's just how a poison dart frog rolls. (picture24gallery.blogspot.com)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rigmarole

Suggested by Dale H.

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-noun
1. an elaborate or complicated procedure
2. confused, incoherent, foolish, or meaningless talk

Examples:
"My mom told me that making pasta from scratch was a rigmarole, so the first time I went to an Italian restaurant I requested the rigmarole pasta - my parents will never let me live that down."
"Listening to the rigmarole statements coming out of my girlfriend's mouth makes me worry about the future of America."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1736, 'a long, rambling discourse,' from an altered, Kentish colloquial survival of ragman roll 'long list or catalogue' (1520s), in Middle English a long roll of verses descriptive of personal characters, used in a medieval game of chance called Rageman, perhaps from Anglo-French Ragemon le bon 'Ragemon the good,' which was the heading on one set of the verses, referring to a character by that name. Sense transferred to 'foolish activity or commotion' by 1939."

Awkwardness rating: 5

Could I have the rigmarole, please? (chow.com)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Flummox

Suggested by Adriana S.

Definition: (from dictionary.com)
-verb (used with object)
1. informal. to bewilder; confound; confuse

Examples:
"I spend most of my time in math class completely flummoxed."
"Sometimes I think technology exists just to flummox people rather than help them."

Origin: (from etymonline.com)
"1837, can't word, origin uncertain, probably from some forgotten British dialect. Candidates cluster in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, southern Cheshire and also in Sheffield. 'The formation seems to be onomatopœic, expressive of the notion of throwing down roughly and untidily.'"

Awkwardness rating: 6

Even Jackie Chan gets flummoxed sometimes. (memegenerator.com)

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Most Awkward Word of 2012: Malarkey

Merriam-Webster has published its "Words of the Year 2012" list and one of the words was featured on the Awkward Words Blog earlier this year: malarkey! This list is compiled based on word lookups on the Merriam-Webster website during 2012. Merriam-Webster defines malarkey as "insincere or foolish talk." It was popularized this year by Vice President Joe Biden during election debates.

Malarkey made the list - and that's no malarkey. (dailydot.tumblr.com)