Dictionary Challenge Week Five: Knock off the Bafflegab

Good news! While I’m still behind, I’m no further behind than I was last week. Here’s to the start of the comeback. And I’ve also made it all the way through the As! Only 25 letters to go…

It’s been very hard to pick my top 5 each week. Some words roll off the tongue nicely, others mean something beautiful, still more have an interesting definition that sparks further thought on origins and relatedness to yet other words. Some just make me smile. Like Axilla. Don’t you picture a giant lizard wreaking havoc on downtown New York with a gargantuan-sized axe? No? Just Me? Either way, it means armpit.

Now that the appetizer is over with, here are my top five in no particular order:

  1. Arsenic hour – the period in late afternoon when youngsters become particularly cranky and unmanageable
  2. Arrabbiata – a pasta sauce of tomatoes, garlic, bell peppers, and hot peppers
  3. Assassin – a person who is hired to kill someone, usually for political or religious reasons
  4. Autumnal – past the prime of life
  5. Bafflegab – official or professional jargon which confuses more than it clarifies

Okay, before jumping into things, I’ve decided I have to give honourable mention to bada bing bada boom, bada boom bada bing. I love that this nonsensical phrase has legitimate merit.

Definion of bada bing bada boom

Now for the big guys.

Arsenic hour. I know some moms and pops out there who read that and were like YUP. I feel quite inclined to personally expand that definition and use the term for 6 am – the time of day when adults awaken and become cantankerous zombies before a hot brew turns them into human beings again.

Up above, I mentioned the words that roll of your tongue. Say arrabbiata out loud. Really purr it out. Now you have to admit – that’s some fun stuff right there. But it’s about more than the tongue roll; the word comes from Italian for ‘enrage’ which alludes to it’s spiciness. Anybody like me who finds themselves sucking back a glass of milk after a chance encounter with a jalapeno understands this connection of rage to mouth-on-fire spice. I’d really like to see someone tell their waiter, “I’ll have a caesar… with a lot of rage.” Well, maybe not. They’d probably get a black eye along with the drink and the waiter would just say, “that’s what you asked for.”

While I’m not into violence at all, I had to put assassin on the list this week. Again, not because of the actual definition, but because is comes from medieval Latin assassinus from Arabic hassas which means hash-eater since the medieval assassins were ‘reported to consume hashish to fortify themselves for action’. That’s right, folks. Your highly trained, professional killer is high as a kite. Maybe it helps with the guilt…

Although there are a few other definitions of autumnal, the one that reached out to me was the one above. It sounds so much nicer to say that you’re an autumnal woman rather than an old geezer. No one likes to admit when the prime of their life has passed and that death seems much closer than you ever thought it would be. But here you have this nice, easy-going word to make it seem alright that you’re growing older and can no longer throw a fastball or dance the boot scootin’ boogie like you used to. It’s going to be okay. You’re just autumnal.

On to bafflegab. I really liked the frivolous sounding nature of the word, but it’s the potential application that excites me. When someone is using all these big, fancy words you don’t understand – you just pull out this dipsy-doodle of a word and put a stop to it in true mic-drop fashion. What comes to mind is the scene in every movie when someone gets diagnosed with cancer:

Doctor: We used a fluoroscopy during your biopsy to get a sample from the parenchyma. After testing, we’ve discovered that you have adenocarcinoma and will require curative surgery, followed by adjuvant chemotherapy.

Patient: What does that mean in English?

So I’d like to rewrite that scene to have the patient say, “knock off the damn bafflegab and give it to me straight doc.”

Week Five Stats

Starting word: Argentina                      Ending word: balance sheet

Pages: 69-103                                        Total Pages: 103/1815

Ahead/Behind: -71 pages

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