Fun Words

As a writer, I am always fascinated by words, how people use them, how they change meaning over time, and how synonyms differ from one another enough that they all stay in the language. One class of words that particularly intrigues me is invented slang with a humorous undertone, words like gobbledygook, flimflam, shebang, and balderdash. What these words have in common is that they are all, without exception, based on the Anglo-Saxon roots of English—none of them is derived from French, Latin, or Greek. And while I can’t prove it, my sense is that all of them were deliberately invented by individual speakers or writers to express an idea that made them laugh.

Among my favorites in this category are flibbertigibbet, monkeyshine, and taradiddle. The mere sound of these words makes me smile.

I found forty words of this genre in a list of interesting words prepared by Kathy Temean on her website. Each word is unique and stays in the language because no other word has the same precise meaning.

So I invite readers to enjoy a boondoggle and lollygag with this non-highfalutin poppycock set of words. You’ll be boffo at it.

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