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Feb 17, 2020
This week’s theme
Onomatopoeic words

This week’s words
faff
scroop
fanfaronade
jape
whicker

Previous week’s theme
Words that appear dirty, but aren’t

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Bees buzz, clocks go tick-tock, and steam hisses. Where there’s sound there is a possibility of onomatopoeia -- our interpretation of the sound in words. It varies. To an English speaker a dog’s bark is bow wow or woof, but to a Japanese, it’s wan wan.

Some of these interpretations of sounds become words in the language and find a place in the dictionary. This week we have picked five such words.

What are your favorite onomatopoeic words? What onomatopoeic words have you coined? Share below or email us at words@wordsmith.org.

faff

PRONUNCIATION:
(faf)

MEANING:
verb intr.: To waste time without accomplishing much.
noun: Fuss; activity perceived as a waste of time.

ETYMOLOGY:
Of imitative origin, to describe something flapping in the wind. Earliest documented use: 1874.

USAGE:
“As Parkinson’s law observes, ‘work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion’, and since I was no longer time-limiting my tasks, I was much more liable to faff.”
Time to Microschedule Your Life?; The Daily Telegraph (London, UK); Feb 1, 2020.

“She wastes about 90 percent of her time faffing around after her dog.”
Russell Brand; Revolution; Random House; 2014.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Time is the fairest and toughest judge. -Edgar Quinet, historian (17 Feb 1803-1875)

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