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Dec 30, 2019
This week’s theme
Americanisms

This week’s words
humdinger
ripsnorter
ballyhoo
foofaraw
lollapalooza

Previous week’s theme
Adverb? Not!
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Here in America we come up with cool stuff, things like jeans and jazz and jumbo jets. But we have our share of silliness too. You might think that no adult will ever propose this with a serious face (or another adult will accept it), but we have come up with things like gerrymandering.

And we have our own share of malevolence. You might think that no human will ever propose this, but Republican lawmakers in the state of Ohio want to order doctors to reimplant ectopic pregnancy in a woman’s womb. When ignorance and power combine, the result is disaster.

Ah, it’s depressing! Let’s get back to goofiness. This week we’ll feature Americanisms, five ridiculous, silly-sounding words that we have contributed to the English language.

When you look at these words, you might ask: Did you just make these up? Didn’t you hear what I said: Yes, we made these up.

humdinger

PRONUNCIATION:
(hum-DING-uhr)

MEANING:
noun: Someone or something outstanding, remarkable, or unusual.

ETYMOLOGY:
Of uncertain origin. Perhaps a blend of hummer and dinger, both meaning someone or something exceptional. Earliest documented use: 1883.

USAGE:
“Ne3 is pretty good, but McShane’s next move was a real humdinger.”
England on Point: Chess; The Daily Telegraph (London, UK); Oct 30, 2019.

“Because of the exceedingly easy questions -- How many wheels has a tricycle? -- speed was the thing. Despite the low bar, it is famous for some reputed humdinger answers that have gone into the lore. One contestant, asked Hitler’s first name, tried ‘Heil?’ Another thought the ayatollah might be a céilí band. What was Gandhi’s first name? Goosey Goosey.”
Deirdre Falvey; How ‘Stop the Lights!’ Became a National Catchphrase; Irish Times (Dublin); Sep 21, 2018.

See more usage examples of humdinger in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
In religion, faith is a virtue. In science, faith is a vice. -Jerry Coyne, biology professor (b. 30 Dec 1949)

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