Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 17 1 2 3 16 17
#9368 10/30/00 02:50 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,346
F
veteran
OP Offline
veteran
F
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,346
What's the point in meaningless words?
1. Well, there are times when grammar dictates a word is required even though none is appropriate.
2. There are other times when we don't want to display our ignorance, so use a meaningless word that sounds impressive.
3. And still other times when we need to explain something but don't have the time or energy to trawl through a dictionary.
4. <your category here>

A recent example: I read an article describing a disease as 'idiopathic'. This comes under category 2 above, as it means, near enough, 'arising from some peculiar, unknown cause', but sounds informative.

Meaningless nouns (placeholders?) are especially useful under category 3: 'thingy', 'wotsit' or my personal favourite 'doobrie'.

So - do you know of any other meaningless words, that fall into any of the categories? Personal favourites as well as those used by others are valid, with bonus points for words that sound meaningful (category 2).

Fisk



#9369 10/30/00 03:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
old hand
Offline
old hand
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
wossname, thingumajig, wossface (for a person), chief cook and bottlewasher (when you don't want to talk about, or explain, your job in detail) etc.

Also, in AWADspeak, newly made Enthusiasts.


#9370 10/30/00 03:36 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,400
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,400
Well, like, yaknow, like, i really, like, have a thing against, like, meaningless words, yaknow, like, when speaking. Yaknow, like how, like some people, like, just don't really get to the point, 'cause, youknow, like its so * obvious?
( * very frequently f***ing)

this board has wonderful word plays, and so much thought goes into each word. If a word is misused, the topic veers off into playing with the misused word, with so much creativity, It leaves me feeling like the unarmed opponent in the game of wits!


#9371 10/30/00 03:59 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
old hand
Offline
old hand
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
It leaves me feeling like the unarmed opponent in the game of wits!

Me too.

For instance, I can only fuzzilly deduce that the term you used - yaknow - is a corruption of Yak now. This, presumably (and I'm awful at looking things up) comes from Tibet, and refers either to a) the desire to eat yak stew, now, or b) using Yak as the word to refer to part of a yak (isn't this the opposite of synecdoche?), a desire for a steaming bowl of yak milk.

Given that Tibetans are not famous for wordplay, I would have to further conclude that it is not an aspect of working class Tibetan culture being spread here, but perhaps one from the intelligentsia - viz the lamas. Now they are more than likely to have been vegetarian, in which case one must conclude that this is perhaps the final sentence in a zen koan that makes sense to initiates, but sounds like one hand clapping to us.

Allowing my imagination to run free, I presume the story would go something like this:

A student approached the Master one day and said, "Master, I meditate. I understand the fourfold path. I follow the eight rules. Yet my belly feels empty."
And the Master, raising a finger at a passing working class devotee, said: "Yak now". And the student understand all.

I obviously need more drugs...


#9372 10/30/00 04:15 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,400
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,400
well, its hard to get just the right tone when writing:
you'd need to do a screen play:
Bored looking middle aged woman on side walk, with some NY landmark visible in background (Woolworth building is closest to me right now, but could be any NY landmark) Obviously chewing a large wad of gum: and then You know, sounds something close to yaknow, or jaknow or gaknow (as in geet? = Did you eat?)

But if I am not mistaken, in addition to a exquisitely beautiful Hindu temple, and a Japanese Buddhist temple, we do have a Tibetan Buddhist temple in Queens, so perhaps I am wrong! it could be NY speak is more heavily influenced by Tibet than I realized!


#9373 10/30/00 09:11 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
old hand
Offline
old hand
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
it could be NY speak is more heavily influenced by Tibet than I realized!

Who knows?

The Dalai Lama (whi is everywhere and everything)


#9374 10/31/00 02:10 AM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,891
B
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
B
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,891
I like doohickie for something you can't quite put a name on. Jack of all trades master of none is more often used to describe a job with no title.


#9375 10/31/00 02:26 AM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 347
M
enthusiast
Offline
enthusiast
M
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 347
I like doohickie for somethink you can't quite put a name on.

Me too, although people will confuse doohickies with dooverlackies, whatchamacallits, jiggers and even common or garden widgets.


#9376 10/31/00 03:08 AM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,891
B
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
B
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,891
But, but, it seem so clear. You use the thingamagig, you know, the one with the caboobers that you scrunch together to fix up to doohickie. EVERYBODY knows, you can't make your garden variety widget work without a doohickie. Phsssh (insert rolling-eye towards the sky emoticon here)


#9377 10/31/00 03:31 AM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 347
M
enthusiast
Offline
enthusiast
M
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 347
I think Web-enabled would just about qualify for a Category 2 Meaningless Word.

Just about every software vendor now insists that their software has this impressive feature. It may just mean they can launch a browser from within their application.


Page 1 of 17 1 2 3 16 17

Moderated by  Jackie 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,912
Posts229,238
Members9,179
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
TRIALNERRA, befuddledmind, KILL_YOUR_SUV, Heather_Turey, Standy
9,179 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 315 guests, and 3 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,542
wofahulicodoc 10,485
LukeJavan8 9,912
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5