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Jan 11, 2022
This week’s theme
Birds

This week’s words
black swan
gowk
lame duck
henpeck
ostrichism

gowk
Cartoon: Dan Piraro

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

gowk

PRONUNCIATION:
(gouk, gohk)

MEANING:
noun:1. A foolish person.
 2. A cuckoo.
verb tr.:To make a fool of or to stupefy.
verb intr.:To stare foolishly.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Old Norse gaukr (cuckoo). Earliest documented use: 1325.

NOTES:
Cuckoos don’t get no respect. Don’t know what this fine bird did to deserve such opprobrium. The bird isn’t known to stare awkwardly either. Sure, it lays eggs in others’ nests, but that doesn’t count as foolishness. It may have something to do with its monotonous call.
If you were ever sent on a gowk hunt, you have been had. Or maybe it was just April Fools’ Day. A rock that just stands and stares is also called a gowk, though Milton may have a more favorable opinion of such a rock. Also see cloud-cuckoo-land.

USAGE:
“You can find a gowk and send him off to get an unobtainable item (like striped paint or a one-ended stick).”
The Original April Fools’ Pranks; The Washington Post; Apr 1, 2007.

“I don’t doubt we all gowked at the girl as if she had been a two-headed calf.”
Michael Innes; Lament For A Maker; Orion; 1985.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. -William James, psychologist (11 Jan 1842-1910)

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