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August 04, 2006

Sounding Funny

Sounding Funny

Some words are funny.  Some words actually mean something serious, but they just sound funny.  I'm not making fun of people with Scurvy, but the word makes me laugh.  Who thought that one up?   Someone sat in his office (OK, probably below decks, and maybe it was just a bunk, but you get the drift) and said to himself: "Hmmm.  Many of these Pirates seem to be suffering from a lack of ascorbic acid.  We can't just keep calling this condition the f&*#ing curse - that's too confusing.  Rickets and Syphilis are already taken.  I know, we'll call it Scurvy."  And thus a funny disease name was born.

Piratescaribbean22063006 Gout is a funny word.  And why do people insist on calling it "The Gout?"  "Did you hear about Ferdinand?"  they'll say in hushed tones, "the poor bastard's got The Gout."  We don't refer to gum disease as The Gingivitis.  Sure, you've got The Clap, but that's not really its official name.  That probably started on another Pirate ship when they finally realized that there was more than one kind.  Pirates should also get credit for the words Plunder and Booty.  Plus, the Pirate word "Aarrrgh" is both funny and versatile.  It can mean hello, or goodbye, or what the hell, or back off, Jack - that treasure's mine.  Try saying the Pirate 'aarrrgh' without closing one eye and angling your jaw.  You just can't do it.  And if you can, take that stick out of your ass and try it again.  Geez.

If I had taken Latin in school, I might know more about the derivation of these words.  How about pickle?  Or better yet, Picklepuss.  Picklepuss is a funny word.  Just saying it causes most people to make a funny face, like a cartoon character.

My son and his friends will laugh themselves sick over words that don't even amuse me: underpants, for example.  Bum.  Poophead.  Anything having to do with something expelled from the body.  Excrement sounds like it could be a funny word, but it's not.  You could change it to picklepuss and it would still refer to something so not funny that the word loses any chance of giggle points.  Giggle is a funny word.  Add a suffix and it gets even better: gigglebum, gigglepants, giggleguts.  You can keep these kids entertained for hours.

The word dick is a funny word.  Maybe it's the K sound, or maybe it's just that it's close to dork, which is also funny.  Maybe it's the relation to two other funny words: schnitzel and frankfurter (another kid favorite).  Or maybe because it's so often short for dickhead.  I don't know, and the fact that I find it funny does not make me guilty of misandry, so chill.

I read somewhere that comedians have determined that certain sounds are funnier than others.  I believe it - I mean, Peter Piper didn't pick a peck of bananas, did he?

So what sounds funny to you?

P.S.  Don't forget about the Name Our Book Club Contest - we've gotten some great suggestions and the contest runs through August 12th.  Also, our first online Book Club meeting will be on Friday, September 1st, when we'll discuss The Cinderella Pact.  For more details, check out my Blog entitled "It's All About the Book Clubs".


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If you haven't seen the movie WORDPLAY yet, you really must. It's a hoot from start to finish, even if you're not a crossword puzzle fanatic. I'm being honest here.--I laughed and laughed. It's completely charming. The whole subject of how crosswords are created includes a discussion of which words puzzle makers heartily wish they could use--but can't print in a family newspaper that is read at the breakfast table.

I did take Latin, and although the etomology of words is a fascinating subject, I have found that I only used those language skills when trying to decipher what the veterinarian was saying. I think he felt he had to give me my money's worth when he charged $150 to examine a bump on a Dalmatian's belly.

Oh, heavens, I have a seven-year-old...don't get me started on how he thinks any variation of the word "poop" is the highest form of humor.

"Bleb" is a funny word.

I had a law professor tell us to always use obscure Latin phrases with clients, so they feel like they're paying you for something.

There are lots of wonderful legal words that don't make me laugh, exactly, but I love they way they roll off your tongue. Words like "subpoena," "ademption," and "federalism." As for words that make me giggle, "kumquat" takes the cake. And that's actually how it's spelled! LOL!

I have a routine on my "Greatest Hits of Dr. Demento" CD where some people say funny words at a busstop. Gazebo. Bouffant. Macademia. And others.

"Subpeona" always sounds like a bit of male anatomy to me.

The biggest joke going around my high school Latin buddies was "Semper ubi sub ubi", which they translated as "Always wear underwear". Still makes me smile. Sometimes it's the person saying the word that makes it funny. I was checking out at the local IGA yesterday when the bag-boy(almost too young to shave) called out to one of the other checkers, "Hey John, come hither!" I almost fell down. I managed to regain my composure enough to tell that Romeo used that one on Juliet and got in one heck of a mess :o) And how about discombobulated ?
Happy happy Friday!

Nancy - we try not to use the words male anatomy and bit in the same sentence. It can upset them.

I had a very old college professor who pronounced the word subpeona as 'sub-pee-nee'. Brought the house down every time. He also prounced the word ego as 'egg-o', which would always start mutterings of 'leggo my eggo, but don't stop touching my super-eggo'. Yeah, I know it's really id, but see, super eggo sounded funnier.

Should we come up with an amusing Latin name for the book club?

Funny words: fiddle faddle (also a very good snack, but I don't think they make it any more - and what was the other snack with the bright yellow popcorn and nuts - it was a funny word too.

Also, persnickety.

A Latin name for the book club:

How about Lipsticka Ipsa Loquitor

Very Loose translation: the Lipstick Tarts Speak for Themselves.

ae, plural.

Where is Miss Fay when we need her?

We could be the Bibliotarts :o) Or Tarts Libris...can you tell I took Spanish in high school ?

And for those PBS fans...Mrs. Slocomb on Are You Being Served used to get tons of laughter when she mentioned her Tiddles and 'pussy' in the same sentence :o)

Just about every Bond Girl's name makes me laugh:

Pussy Galore
Honey Rider
Holly Goodhead
Fatima Blush
Xenia Onatopp
Plenty O'Toole

Those writers must have had a riot trying to see what the studios would go for.

Always liked "Shapoopi" from "The Music Man". Also, I get a lot of satisfaction from "conundrum".

When I taught middle school,
I created my own honor society,
Delta Gamma Mu.

My students had the opportunity to change the measurement of education,
which, in layman terms - is EXTRA CREDIT.

I asked my girlfriend if she'd ever tried krumkake (pronounced kroom-kaka) and she started laughing. She thought I was making a joke. Norwegian cookies are no laughing matter, thank-you-very-much! But that's only because I'm mostly German and let's face it, German words take the kuchen or kake.

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