Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Kerflooey – Wordplay Wednesday™ 08/26/2020

20th Century Dinosaur of a Word 

What a dinosaur might have said when telling the story of how he lost his tail …  

Grandpa T-Rex sat back on the stub of his once-majestic tail. The dinosaur-dragon (they had long ago integrated their breeds) adjusted small, round glasses and peered over them at his grandchildren as he solemnly related, “I was just about to breathe mighty fire and roast my dinner, when a pranking nephew crept up behind me, set a stick of dynamite under my tail, lit the fuse …” and mimicking his wide-eyed look of surprise, he thrust his front legs up … “and my tail went …

KERFLOOEY (kɘr-ʹflü-ē; 1918) adj. – awry, kaput. [WW #283] 

Yep, it seems the silly T-Rex teen hadn’t calculated the effects of his trick. A perfect set-up for kerflooey!

This week’s word has been around awhile and still holding its place in the dictionary. Although, kerflooey doesn’t really even have its own definition; referring us instead, to the more common words of exasperation when our valiant efforts are thwarted, or a science project goes bad.

Great for period dialogue; with its early twentieth century addition to the dictionary, it may have originated as a colloquialism and worked its way up to a pseudo-word without a defining identity. But kerflooey is a fun alternative when you want to grab your readers’ attention. It got yours, didn’t it? 

Ask your parents and grandparents if they’ve ever used or heard of kerflooey. Collect a couple other old-timey words we’ve shared here, like flibbertigibbet and widdershins, and create a mini-survey. Could be an interesting research topic of words by the generations, or a humorous vocabulary diversion for family and friends.

“The best laid plans of mice and men …” and women trying to accomplish something, sometimes go kerflooey! Pick up the pieces and move on.

Word Challenge: KERFLOOEY. If I were to give it a true definition, it would be “out with a frustrating bang.” Give some thought to how you might define it, as you fit kerflooey into your week of curious writings and clever conversations.

Learning knows no prejudices or boundaries, and it isn’t fattening! Expanding your mind is a no-cost, simple joy. Do you feel that way too? What’s your inspiration? Share your creative genius and Wordplay Wednesday comments below.

Write first for yourself … only then can you write for others. (L.Rochelle) 

[LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and an author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books in her Blast from Your Past series (of three) about pioneering R&R Radio DJs. True behind-the-mic tales make GREAT Holiday and anytime Gifts available on Amazon (eBook and print): Book 1Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959; and Book 2Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Coming soon … The Psychedelic Seventies!]

*LR Notes: 1) Dictionary definitions are quoted from Webster’s New World College Dictionary. Yes, we sometimes present them out of “official” context—but that’s half the fun! Think of it as “creative context.” 2) a] Recent dictionary additions to definitions include a date of first use, if known; b] words in small caps indicate “see also.” 3) Neither I (LinDee Rochelle) nor Penchant for Penning are responsible for how you use information found here, that may result in legal action.


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