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Friday word: Lollapalooza

noun lol·la·pa·loo·za \ˌlä-lə-pə-ˈlü-zə\

: one that is extraordinarily impressive; also : an outstanding example

Did You Know?

Some readers may recognize lollapalooza as the name of an American music festival, now held annually in Chicago. Actually, the word lollapalooza has been around since at least the 1890s, though etymologists aren't sure where it comes from.

Occasionally, it has been used as a gambling term for a made-up hand used to trick an inexperienced player-but primarily the term is used in a way very similar to humdinger and doozy.

It is spelled in a number of ways. Lallapalooza, lalapalooza, and lollapaloosa are among the variants, and in the past it was sometimes lalapaloozer. Pulitzer prize-winning cartoonist Rube Goldberg may have contributed to the popularity of this term with "Lala Palooza," one of his cartoon characters from the 1930s.


First Known Use:

Thursday word: steenbok

Another theme week over in my main journal: aminals (as the resident preschooler sometimes still calls them). Continuing that --

steenbok (STAIN-bok, incorrectly STEEN-bok) - n., a small grasslands antelope (Raphicerus campestris) of southern and eastern Africa.

Also sometimes called steinbok or steinbuck, first used in English around 1770 or so. In Dutch and German, the name refers to the ibex (mountain goat, the name meaning "stone buck"), but for some reason the Afrikaner settlers applied the name to this small, short-haired, tawny, grasslands critter. It's a danged cute one, too. Ears!

We saw three steenboks, five springboks, and an eland, plus a lazy leopard in a tree.



Monday word: cater-cousin

cater-cousin (ˈkeɪtəˌkʌzən), noun

(archaic) An intimate friend; a person who is treated as a cousin but is not a blood relation.

Etymology:  1500s.  The most popular explanation is that 'cater-' means "crooked" or "angled".  Similar to cater-corner (diagonally across from).
In my part of the country, "cater-corner" has been corrupted to "kitty corner"; as far as I know, cater-cousin never experienced such changes.

Friday word: Chyron

chyron, n. chy·ron \ˈkī-ˌrän\

: a caption superimposed over usually the lower part of a video image (as during a news broadcast)

The word is a proprietary term, and was trademarked by the Chyron Corporation in 1976 (the company is now known as ChyronHego), as a term for the crawling or stationary text that appears at the bottom of a television screen during a broadcast.

Chyron (which may be commonly found written with either a lower-case or an upper-case initial C) appears to be joining the ranks of many trademarked words which have moved into the realm of generic use (google, xerox, granola and heroin are a few of the others which have made a similar transition).

Recent example from the CNN scandal

Thursday word: riprap

riprap (RIP-rap) - n., a quantity of broken stone used in a foundation, embankment, et cet.; a foundation or wall of stones thrown together irregularly.

Used to strengthen slopes of soft soil and prevent erosion, in places such as river and harbor banks, roadway embankments, and so on, piled with or without mortar. As in, that's what that's called. Can also be used as a verb, to build with or strengthen with stones. The origin is obscure, but it's apparently a reduplicative form of rap in the sense of a blow/strike, and it's been around since the 1570s.

The children scrambled down the riprap to the lake water.

(To readers in the States, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, whether it be on or away from a shoreline.)


Monday word: gosport

gosport (gŏs′pôrt′), noun
A flexible speaking tube that was used for communication in compartments or cockpits of airplanes.

Etymology:  named after Gosport in southern England, where the apparatus was invented.

The communication was one-way:  one end of the tube had a funnel that was held over one person's mouth, and the other end was attached to the helmet over the ears.  This archived article from Air Force Magazine has some great information on its history and use.

Friday word: Knipperdolling

Knipperdolling, n.

Definition: a religious fanatic

Berndt Knipperdolling was a prominent Anabaptist (a member of a sect of 16th century Protestants who advocated the baptism and church membership of adult believers only), born in Munich at the end of the 15th century. Knipperdolling’s religious views were not shared by some authorities, and he came to an untimely end as a result of them. While initially knipperdolling was simply used as a term for an Anabaptist, it came to later take on the connotation of religious fanaticism.

…there starts up another kind of Government, hatch'd by a Committee of Safety; (of slavery, they meant) who were a rude rabble of Factious, Illiterate, Phanatick, Disloyal Rebels; a knot of Knipperdolings; of the same stamp with that German Botcher, Jack-a-Leyden: the very merdaille and excrementitious offscouring of the Nation.
—J. G. (gent.), The Sage Senator Delineated, 1660

(Source: Merriam-Webster Online "10 polite words for impolite people")

Thursday word: cacuminous

cacuminous (ka-KYUU-mi-nuhs) - adj., having a pointed or pyramidal end.

Like an obelisk. This apparently applies only to long thin objects, including trees. Origin is obscure -- clearly Latin, but which word? Per the OED, it's from cacūmen, tree-top -- but they think its first use is 1871, and this blogger finds a use from 1633; this dictionary of entomology traces it instead to cacuminis, limit, which I can't find in Lewis & Short. So who knows. Either way, we now know there's a word for it. Taking that 1633 citation as an example:
Though every day alone he did repair,
And 'mongst the cacuminous thick beeches shade,
In vain, this idle stuff, to hills, and woods bewray'd.
—William Lathum, Phyala lachrymarum



Monday word: crambo

crambo (krăm′bō), noun
A word game in which one person must find a rhyme to a word or line given by another.

Etymology:  from Latin crambe repitita, "warmed-over cabbage".

This makes me think of The Princess Bride, and the back-and-forth between Inigo and Fezzik:
Inigo Montoya: That Vizzini, he can *fuss*.
Fezzik: Fuss, fuss... I think he like to scream at *us*.
Inigo Montoya: Probably he means no *harm*.
Fezzik: He's really very short on *charm*.
Inigo Montoya: You have a great gift for rhyme.
Fezzik: Yes, yes, some of the time.
Vizzini: Enough of that!
Inigo Montoya: Fezzik, are there rocks ahead?
Fezzik: If there are, we all be dead!
Vizzini: No more rhymes now, I mean it!
Fezzik: Anybody want a peanut?

Friday phrase: Cupboard-lover


Definition: one who insincerely professes love for the sake of gain

This delightful term is fashioned from the earlier noun cupboard love. Rather than give a dry and precise definition of this we shall instead quote from our earliest citation for cupboard love, which comes from 18th century British court records, The Proceedings at the New Bayley (1756): “Now, there is a Kind of Love in the Old Stile, termed Cupboard Love; and it often happens, that what People judge to be an Intrigue with a young Woman, turns out, on a nearer View, to be only an Intrigue with a Leg of Mutton and Turnips. This Kind of Love is frequently seen among certain Gentlemen at Counry Quarters, the Curates in City Parishes, Attornies Clerks, and young Barrister, and may, doubtless, descend to all Persons who have larger Stomachs than Purses. So, Gentlemen, go out.”

Bread-and-cheese-friend, e. A true friend as distinguished from a cupboard-lover.
—Rev. W. D. Parish, A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect, 1875

(from Merriam-Webster Online, "List of 10 Polite Words for Impolite People")

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