Impudent Huzzy!

Items of historical significance.

Impudent Huzzy!

Postby lnrw » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:14 am

‘Impudent Huzzy!’: How to Speak Like a Founding Father Read more: ... z2Y5dYymoU


How many mickles are in a muckle? Well now, that’s a question for George Washington, who espoused a great many words that would put today’s Americans in a tizzy.

In honor of Independence Day, NewsFeed has put together a list of tantalizing terms that our Founding Fathers pronounced on their patriotic tongues. Some are slang, some are now obsolete and some are simply wonderful words that aren’t used enough these days. For many items, we’ve included quotations straight from the Fathers themselves, all taken from citations in the Oxford English Dictionary.

In the name of historical appreciation, Americans might resolve to use at least one of these tomorrow. Goodness knows plenty of Yankees will be heading to the tippling house:

alphabeted (adj.): arranged in alphabetical order. This is a prime example of a “verbed” noun that is more economical than spelling the whole thing out. Washington didn’t arrange ledgers in alphabetical order in 1771; he alphabeted them.

blackguardism (n.): abusive or scurrilous language; swearing. Blackguard was shorthand for a villainous attendant or follower, so by extension bad language got this name. “The public,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1799, “wish to hear reason instead of disgusting blackguardism.”

Bloody Bones (n): a bogeyman or bugbear, especially invoked to frighten children. In some tales, Bloody Bones skulks in ponds, waiting to drown kiddies; he was often mentioned along with “Raw Head,” a scary skull-faced thing. TJ used the metaphor to talk about fellow politicos: “Hancock and the Adamses were the raw-head and bloody bones of Tories and traitors,” he wrote in 1817.

crapulous (adj.): characterized by gross excess in drinking or eating; intemperate, debauched. In the year that the U.S. Constitution came to be, Jefferson took time to write about other men’s “crapulous habits.” (We might reprise this today as a word meaning approximately “so bad, it’s good.”)

frowzy (adj.): ill-smelling, fusty, musty; having an unpleasant smell from being dirty, unwashed, ill-ventilated or the like. In all his various pursuits, Benjamin Franklin was bound to come across some frowzy — also frouzy — things. “It is the frouzy, corrupt air from animal substances,” he declared in 1773.

gimcrack (n.): a person who has an aptitude for mechanical things; a jack-of-all-trades. “There is also a gimcrack corkscrew,” Franklin wrote in 1766, “which you must get some brother gimcrack to show you the use of.” Everyone take a moment to consider who among your friends you can start calling “Brother Gimcrack” (pronounced Jim-krak). And keep in mind that the word has other meanings.

hatchet man (n.): a pioneer or axeman serving in a military unit. Back in Washington’s day, a hatchet man was exactly what it sounded like. Later, the term was used in the U.S. to refer to hired Chinese assassins. And today a hatchet man is typically a person employed to attack and destroy other people’s reputations.

More there to see.

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Re: Impudent Huzzy!

Postby The Dharma Bum » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:20 pm

Wow, was in this tiny little town inthe middle of nowhere today and it had a road called Frowzy Lane.

I literally wondered where they came up with that word as I drove by and now I know. Wonderful!

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