Word of the day for Monday, March 14th

Today is Fancy Notions’ 14th birthday, which means it’s ready for high school. All I can say about that is

zooterkins! Which I’m told means “blimey,” “cripes” or “zounds,” none of which sound especially celebratory (especially considering the latter derives from “God’s wounds”). And maybe that’s appropriate. I can’t help thinking about how my little baby blog is going to be able to drive in a couple of years, and before too long it’s going to move out and get its own place. They grow up so fast, don’t they?

Published in: on March 14, 2022 at 4:55 pm  Comments (1)  
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Everybody’s All-USian

Here we are, folks. If you’re reading this and you’re a US citizen, I really hope you have already voted or have made a plan to vote today. I don’t care if you’re a

wooden nutmeg or a buckeye,
a jayhawker, a buzzard or a sage hen,
a bean eater, a bug eater or a beef-head,
a green mountain boy, a granite boy or a rover,
fox or wolverine,
lizard or alligator or web-foot,
a beadle or a gun-flint,
a toothpick
or even a puke,

go and make your voice heard. Don’t fuck it up.

Most nicknames A Dictionary Of Victorian Slang via the Public Domain Review; t-shirt by John Kilduff

Word of the day for Wednesday, October 16th

Well, look what we have here. The Public Domain Review is sharing yet another treasure with us, this time A Dictionary Of Victorian Slang. I’ve already found an excellent word, and I’m only at the A’s. By way of a very complicated explanation, the word

arfarfanarf comes to us. Meaning drunk. Basically, an arfanarf is a drink consisting of half ale and half beer, and the first arf is either a half pint or a full quart of arfanarf. It’s hard to follow. It’s possible the person who wrote the dictionary entry was arfarfanarf, ready for some mafficking. I hope they weren’t too Bob, Harry and Dick the next morning.

Published in: on October 16, 2019 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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I love misspellings on government-issued signs. This one is so close. Could go either way.

I don’t know if I would litter for Flipper, but I would probably hang out a while if I thought he was going to show up.

Published in: on October 9, 2019 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Word of the day for Wednesday, September 25th

You know how you sometimes put something special in a super secret place so nobody will find it, and then that place winds up being so super secret that you can’t find the thing either? This kind of happened a few years ago to the editors of the Chambers Dictionary, a reference book for crossword nerds and Scrabble lovers. They highlighted all their favorite words, then decided to erase the highlighting, and when they removed the highlighting they removed the words that were highlighted as well.

Thankfully, they realized the error and reinstated the words, and put together a list of those words in case something dumb like that ever happened again.

It’s going to take me a while to get through the whole list, but one word stuck out for me immediately:

antigropeloes, which are simply waterproof leggings. And, for no particular reason, here is a picture of Johnny Cash wearing some antigropeloes:

I wonder if I can illustrate all my favorite words in this list with a picture of Johnny Cash. Stay tuned.

Published in: on September 25, 2019 at 8:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Word of the day for Thursday, June 13th

In high school I had a friend that at certain points I considered to be my best friend, even though from my perspective I was always just trying to get her attention and from her perspective I was always competing with her. I disagreed with her perspective because we didn’t look alike, didn’t think alike, weren’t good at the same things, and weren’t really interested in the same things. I guess that doesn’t sound like a very good foundation for a friendship from either perspective. Maybe I just had a crush on her. She was a rather magnetic presence.

At some point in our adult lives she completely broke off contact with me without explanation, though when I saw her across the room at a school reunion she gave me a small smile and didn’t run away or anything. When a mutual friend died, I contacted her through an email address on her blog to let her know. She acknowledged receipt of my email a week later. When I read her email, it was late at night and I was drunk on wine so I wrote back immediately, something to the effect of “oh my god you wrote back oh thank god let’s talk please we have so much to talk about oh wow.” I woke up the next morning, looked at what I had sent the night before, and wrote another email that said, “Never mind. You don’t need to talk to me if you don’t want to talk to me.” And I never heard from her again.

I miss this person, but five years or so later (I’m a little slow) I’ve finally come around to the fact that yes, she doesn’t want to talk to me. And even if she did want to talk to me at this point, it would be a bit of

cavoli riscaldati, wouldn’t it? An Italian phrase meaning “reheated cabbage” that is used to describe an attempt to revive a long dead, unworkable relationship. A smelly, limp mess. Give it up. There must be something better in the fridge.


Published in: on June 13, 2019 at 4:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rhymes with seven and heaven

Here we are on Pi Day and Fancy Notions’ 11th anniversary, and I’m home sick trying to write a post. On anniversary days I usually try to write something incorporating the number of the anniversary, but looking at lists about rhymes for eleven has melted my brain. It seems there’s seven, heaven, and Kevin. Some places are trying desperately to sell me on McNevin (?), Stevan (not quite) and Estefan (get outta here), but I’m not buying that.

And then once I do delve into some famous “eleven” rhymes, that heaven/seven stuff just starts sounding stupid after a while. The best one I found was from Buck Owens:

I had six kids and you had eleven
And we had a boy, and they grew like flowers
I wish you’d come back, without you ain’t heaven
‘Cause your kids and my kids are beatin’ up ours

I don’t know how that applies here, but it’s amusing. Anyway, I’ll keep plugging on and even though my initial goal was to make it to ten years, I promise I’m going to keep doing this for a bit longer and will keep trying to look forward rather than

froward, which means difficult and contrariwise. Have a good rest of your day and think about flaky crusts and circumference/diameter ratios for me, will you?



Word of the day for Wednesday, January 16th

This company I used to work at once bought some new chairs for the conference room that were a bit of a disaster. The back and sides of these chairs were made out of bungee cord material, and while that made these chairs very comfortable, it also made it hard not to bounce on the chairs while sitting in them. People bouncing in their chairs was not especially conducive to attentiveness in a staff meeting. At some point the conference room got new chairs but the bungee chairs weren’t thrown away, and every once in a while you could see a person bobbing up and down in a cubicle with a satisfied look on their face.

If this company had been in Finland, a person could have pointed to the bobbing worker and said, “Ah, there’s a bit of

hyppytyynytyydytys over there,” and someone else could have said, “Well, that’s not exactly hyppytyynytyydytys, as they are enjoying bouncing on bungee cords; they are not enjoying bouncing on a bouncy cushion,” and the first person could have said, “Yes, you are correct. Want to grab some some lunch? I hear there is a new place with really good cloudberries and squeaky cheese down the street.” At least that is what happens in my mind when you are talking to a work colleague in Finland.


Published in: on January 16, 2019 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Word of the day for Wednesday, November 7th

Well, I don’t know. I don’t feel like talking politics today. I just don’t. Let’s go to Scotland. Let’s learn a word for pig. It would be great if that word were something fun sounding like

grumphie. Hey, we’re in luck according to Merriam-Webster. “Grumphie: pig, specifically sow. Chiefly Scottish.” Thank you for brightening my day with your name, Scottish pigs.

Published in: on November 7, 2018 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Perhaps he’s gone off the deep end

While trying to find out where the phrase “lost your marbles” came from, I found this article on the Oxford Dictionaries blog that ties together lumber, furniture, Virginia Woolf and Nicholson Baker. There are some astounding leaps in the progression of the idiom in the theory being proposed, so astounding that they remind me of the origin of “raspberry” (in lieu of “Bronx Cheer”). So that’s making me figure that the theory must be correct. Slang never makes sense.

Why was I looking up “lost your marbles”? Well…

Published in: on August 22, 2018 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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