Never Stops: Words (2)

Back to it:

Klutz: a clumsy or awkward person. It’s a very recent word, dating back only to 1967. It derives from the Yiddish klots, meaning a clumsy person or blockhead. The word’s literal meaning is block or lump. It derives from Middle High German klots—lump, ball.

Slew: a large number or quantity. The noun is from the Irish-Gaelic sluagh, meaning multitude. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word dates from 1839.

Blitz: The word is derived from blitzkrieg, an intense military campaign intended to bring about a swift victory. Blitzkrieg in German means literally “lightning war.” So “blitz” has come to mean a sudden overwhelming attack, not necessarily military or even physical.

Punk: something or someone worthless or inferior. It can also mean a young and inexperienced person. By extension, it means a young gangster or hoodlum. Its etymology is a mystery. It might be derived from Delaware (Algonquian) ponk, literally dust, powder, or ashes.

Niggle: to trifle, to spend too much effort on minor details. Its etymology is unknown. One guess is that it derives from a Scandinavian source. The Norwegian dialectal nigla means to be busy with trifles.

Amok: an adverb that means in a violently raging manner. The only usage I could find was with the word “run.” “Run amok” as a verbal phrase was first recorded in the 1670’s. The word derives from the Malay (Austronesian) amuk meaning attacking furiously. Earlier the word was used as a noun or adjective meaning “a frenzied Malay,” originally in the Portuguese form amouco or amuco.

More the next time the spirit moves me.

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