Sunday, May 17, 2009

Truly Playing In The Word-Farm

Recently I asked my family and friends to share family phrases, linguistic foibles, childhood mispronunciations carried forward into adult life.

The suggestions that I gave from my own life were -

"Cheap Seats" - When my wife and I are watching a baseball or basketball game in the living room and the hour is getting late we will "hit the cheap seats" - get in bed and watch the rest of the game there.

"Barfle Duster" - When I was a child my Mom would tell me to go clean my room. If I did a poor job of it she would accuse me of using the "Barfle Duster" to clean the room. Eventually the phrase became "Go clean your room. And the Barfle Duster stays in the closet!".

The answers came flooding in and often left me laughing hysterically. This truly is Playing In The Word-Farm!!

Readers may judge for themselves which entries deserve to wear The Hoffer Hat of Linguistic Awesomeness. I am truly grateful to all who replied - it was a wonderful exercise!

Here, unedited, are the results of my query.

my dad says 'geedunk' which means junk foody snack or anything else that is unhealthy and very delicious. "I'm going to the store, you want a geedunk?" I think it's a term he picked up in the navy, so it might not work.

my husband has his own word for junk foody snack of delicious doom... "I've got the fungries." That means he wants to eat for fun.

Foofoos = (noun) the little ball-like pieces of lint that attach to ones clothing or material and you can't get them off without pulling them off. As in, "Since I've washed my shirt with the towels, now I have foofoos all over my shirt."

Duhn, Duhn is our word for guitar, cause it goes duhn duhn.

When Rob was little, he couldn't say, "Double Decker Bus." He always said, "Buckle Deckle Bus." So did we, from then on. He also said, instead of saying, "That took me by surprise," "That one hit me sideways." So from then on, even a surprise party was a party that "Hit us sideways."

'you big stupe' for doing something stupid. 'jesus mary and joseph' by my very RCC grandmolther when frustrated lol

my sisters and I would challenge each other with “Upper-upper”. This meant a contest to see which hard-boiled egg would crack first when tapped together. You won it if the other’s did.

schalooza - as in, “I’m feeling kind of schalooza” -you want to eat something, but you don’t know what you want to eat.

In our family, if the conversation borders on gossip someone will inevitably stage whisper, "And they say her stomach was biggern' a watermelon!" Everybody cracks up and the topic changes.

Well, hubby calls me "ralph"...from TV commercial about Uncle Ralphie and something about some cereal, I think....

“Going shopping on mom’s dresser” was used by me and my sisters whenever we would sneak into our parents’ bedroom and borrow jewelry to wear on a date.

COITH is a word uttered to compliment or brag. It means freshly bathed or showered, and it translates: Cleanest One In The House.

Cream of Refrigerator Soup - leftovers.

Mustgo Stew. Everything in the fridge must go! Seems this was the meal when ever mom was cleaning the fridge or getting ready for yet another move!

The Odditorium - Our attached mother-in-law apartment.

kabeebahs: any small, usually unidentifiable particles, such as when you clean a wall with a sponge, there will be some kabeebahs left behind.

My wife and I have cats, but got bored discussing plain old “cats”, so we came up with new words: purzles, furzlers, purfurzles, fruzzles, purzelators, or just the stratocatsters.

TWIGA - that which is going around - the pediatrician’s word for whatever virus was making its rounds through the school. Closely related to MOTW - Malaise Of The Week.

Airplane - as in “Don’t bother explaining it; to him, its an airplane” - something that goes right over the other person’s head.

“The ‘O’ in Devon” = a non-existent place from a family vacation of my growing up years when my mother tried to direct us to a town which turned out not to exist because it wasn’t a town but the “o” in the name of a county superimposed on the map.

Peekapocker - helicopter
Parthenon - outhouse at the family weekend place.

My mom is great at coming up with new phrases the family now uses. For example, “shovelling the rug” is vacuuming – same physical action, same clean walking surface, different implement. She also was the first to “rent a chicken,” or buy a cooked rotisserie chicken from the deli. She would also "drown the dishes" after dinner.

Ghost poop - packing peanuts

“they’re in the pasture Hyacinth” – taken from the BBC show "Keeping up Appearances". “Mind the cows Richard!”. “They’re in the pasture Hayacinth” “Yes, but *mind* them!” Usually said in response to a wholly unnecessary warning. (i.e. “Mind the fire, it’s hot” - “They’re in the pasture Hyacinth!”)

in our family, a shirt can be worn ‘tucked in’ or ‘tucked out’.

“The acolyte” — A family pet who has an unreasonably worshipful attitude toward one particular family member.

Going to listen to the mattress - Taking a nap. Also - "kissing the fluffy marshmallow."

Slurg - the name for those ghastly brown chunks of frozen slush that form behind a car’s wheels. From slush + iceberg, which they resemble in shape.

pifflehead: a dope, an idiot, someone who does something dumb.

Pididdle - said when you see a car with one headlight out.

“See you in the soup” – good night

purrcolating – sound a very happy cat makes when purring enthusiastically.

“You’ve got great icing, but you haven’t got a cake!” - My mother, upset that we’d redecorated our room rather than clean it.

lo-lo’s: left-over left-overs in the fridge, or a meal that still isn’t gone after the 3, 4, 5 day. mystery mounds: lo-lo’s assembled for a meal, usually on a fri night.

"Show Murphy the door!" - Usually shouted in exasperation when a simple job turns complicated. (Murphy's Law)

Changing the light bulb- Bathroom light burned out, stood on toilet to change it, toilet rocked, tightened it and bolt stripped out, removed toilet and found flange loose, tried to replace flange and saw that pipe was cracked, needed jack hammer to chip out slab to replace pipe. So now we refer to any project that grows as : Changing the light bulb.

tanjewberrymuch and lubjewberrymush

Kinda silly and plain..but when we're at the motocross races......we sometimes will buy or make a MotoMuffin. Bacon/egg/cheeese on an english muffin.(or sausage)...

Feeding the sewer trout - flushing the toilet.

ditwods - dit wauds drivers in traffic with out driving skills - (something I encounter daily).

Driving the porcelan bus - Vomiting so bad that you sit in front of the toilet and wrap your arms around it to hang on.

birdie bread — stale bread and crusts no one will eat.

Sock Dropper - A particularly violent sneeze.

procrappinating = taking a long time in the bathroom.

“It’s All Full of Dark” = something that’s been left outside overnight.

Gesnicklefritz - gesundheit.

A mopine is a dishtowel. Also, we called an apron a “Guanawatza”.

bug-a-hum: the vacuum cleaner, washashumshum: washing machine, wait-and-see-pudding: the answer to “What’s for dessert?”

“Go get me something to hit you with!” According to family legend my aunt was so mad at one of her kids she screamed that and got even madder when all of the kids collapsed in laughter at her. Now we use it when somebody is being unreasonably lazy or difficult.

“Left-handed smoke shifter” - Whenever the extended family camps out, and the smoke starts blowing in someone’s face, the inevitable question is, “Did anybody remember the left-handed smoke shifter?”.

“Flug”- the lint in the bottom of your pockets. “Gnarble”- the other useless stuff in the bottom of your pockets

My Dad had a phrase that he would use if we said or wrote something was was convoluted. He would say: “Throw me down the stairs a broom.” We quickly understood what he was getting at, and got his message. I’ve enjoyed using the same phrase with my kids for the same reason.

Our children developed “updoors” and “downdoors” as very logical parallels to indoors and outdoors.

We do have a word nabo, which is an alert to the presence of a good looking guy. We still use that word in every day conversations with each other even though we don't hang out and nudge the other and say it anymore. NABO stands for "not a bad one"

My aunt and I say "Coz o you" to each other. It started when I blamed her for something when I was about 10 or so. I dont even know what was "her fault". When she heard the sort of new song "Because of You" it made her think of me. lol

I have a mischievious family (on moms side) They came up with saying "Get a job" whenever they saw someone riding a bike. It morphed into "Get a gog".

My husband and I have a word "rut roh" like what scooby doo says, only it doesn't mean uh oh. It's what we say when we end up getting a parking spot in closest to the building. It means 'front row'.

My husband has always used the word "hutcher" to mean a bad, mean, horrible person. lol

And last, but definitely not least - Of the 74 replies received, 51 of them had some reference to "passing gas"!?!

prump, boof, wilbur, plut, foof, spoofy, queef, phoozer, parp, beef, boompse, knicker ripper, Bronx Cheer, Cockney Cheer, I burped my bottom!, bruff bark, barking spider, ducking gopher, Sparky sputter, Tushie Burp, speefle-tweezer, oofanokie, Stepping on a frog, Shoot a bunny, boup soup, Was that an angel I heard?, talking behind your back, wiffle-wafting, backdoor fog, pocket fog, musky turnip, shooting the pursuit, rumpies, pot-shots, dropping a hint, the missing puzzle piece, crop dusting, cushion creeper, barking backwards, freep, frit, great big flowery woof woof, Sir Launchaloaf, trouser trumpet, tanker, Tommy Squeaker, soup cooler, pyroclastic flow, paint peeler, inflating the air mattress (If done between the sheets), southerly wind, morning thunder, cutting the cheese, stepping on a toad, cutting loose, air bubble, gassers, stinkers, puffers, politics as usual, Global Warming, whisper of death, brocoli's revenge, loose floor boards, another county heard from, secret ballot, buzz-saw backfire, backdoor thaw, air biscuits, elephant fly-by, and low-flying ducks and geese.

And there just had to be the theological reference - Luke 12:55 - "And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, there will be heat; and it cometh to pass".


  1. You have the beginnings of a book, Stan. I'm sure there are plenty more where these came from...and you could illustrate, opine, and elucidate. :-)

  2. Too funny!!! re passing gas: I forgot our family name for that was making a crack! My brother did so in 5th grade and the teacher said what did you do? why is everyone laughing. he said i made a crack....teacher: what did you say? brother: nothing, I made a crack. Teacher YES I KNOW what did you SAY? NOTHING i made a crack....ended up in the principal's office!!!

    And mispronunciations: Montgomery Wards was referred to by my little daughter as MC GOVERNY WARDS. HMMMmmm...yes, we LOVED McGovern in our early days of stupidity!!! :)

    Thanks Stan, this was GREAT!!!!!!!! Too many favs to choose the funniest..

    Karen C (Karna)

  3. Good to see us Brits represented! Looking forward to your memories of being "over here".

    Yvonne Wallace