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Mar 18, 2020
This week’s theme
Reduplicatives

This week’s words
razzle-dazzle
hobnob
artsy-fartsy
flimflam
lardy-dardy

artsy-fartsy
He-Gassen (Japanese for “Fart fight”)
Detail from a scroll (enlarged and revised edition of an original from 1680)
Art: Fukuyama Soran, 1846

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

artsy-fartsy (also arty-farty)

PRONUNCIATION:
(art-see FART-see)

MEANING:
adjective: Pretentiously artistic or sophisticated.

ETYMOLOGY:
From reduplication of art, from Latin ars (art), as fart + pejorative diminutive suffix -sy. The word fart is from Old English feortan, ultimately from the Indo-European root perd- (to fart), which also gave us partridge and futz. Earliest documented use: 1962.

NOTES:
In Japan, there’s a 33-foot long scroll depicting various scenes of fart competitions. In Japanese, it's called he-gassen (fart fight). Really! It's an enlarged and revised edition (the original was done by an unidentified painter in 1680) made by Fukuyama Soran in 1846. See the full scroll and read more.

USAGE:
“He isn’t serving arty-farty flourishes of distilled wotnot to attract food snobs.”
Grace Dent; The Packhorse Inn; The Guardian (London, UK); Jul 5, 2019.

“An optimist will say that we may be entering a new golden age of accessible and activist poetic writing, one that actually, unlike artsy-fartsy poetry, serves a political function.”
Russell Smith; Poetics in the Age of the Twitter Rant; The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada); Jan 19, 2019.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
There is no doubt that I have lots of words inside me; but at moments, like rush-hour traffic at the mouth of a tunnel, they jam. -John Updike, writer (18 Mar 1932-2009)

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