Beliefnet
O Me of Little Faith

I enjoyed this last time around, so I’m doing it again. Here are a few random words from The 100 Funniest Words in English, by Robert Beard, with definitions and my own personal usage suggestions. Your goal for today is to use each of these words at least once in conversation. Please report back to me how it went.

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Collywobbles (noun): An intense feeling of fear, apprehension, or nervousness.

Suggested usage: “Upon meeting Bette Midler for the first time, Jenna was stricken with a serious case of the collywobbles. Mainly because she had been a fan of the diva for years, but also because Midler was standing there with a bloody butcher knife and a crazed look in her eyes.”

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Ecdysiast (noun): A stripper

Suggested usage: “No one wants their daughter to become a stripper, so Nicole has spent the last few years telling her parents she was working nights as an ecdysiast, and making pretty good money, too. They think she works in a lab.”

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Furphy (noun): A gossipy false report or rumor; hearsay

Suggested usage: “When Gerald told his friends that he was keeping his children hidden indoors to prevent Madonna from trying to adopt them during her next concert stop, we all knew he was a victim of a vicious case of furphy. He proved us wrong when the Material Girl showed up at his front door, lawyers (and children) in tow.”

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Gaberlunzie (noun): A wandering beggar

Suggested usage: “As a child, Greg decided he wanted to some day experience the freedom and simplicity of life as a gaberlunzie, until he realized he disliked hitchhiking, living outdoors, being dirty, asking people for stuff, and eating beans. So he went with his secondary dream and became an investment banker.”

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Hemidemisemiquaver (noun): In music, a sixty-forth note

Suggested usage: “Stephanie and the rest of the oboe section broke into giggles when Mr. Scheinbaum, the ancient composer, fell into a coughing fit upon shouting at them to tighten up their hemidemisemiquavers on ‘Flight of the Bumblebee.'”

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Slangwhanger (noun): A partisan speechmaker; a loud, abusive speaker

Suggested usage: “If I have to listen to that slangwhanger James Carville for one more nanosecond, I’m gonna pop him in the nose. Some day that guy will get the collywobbles at the very mention of my name.”

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Tatterdemalion (noun): A person wearing shabby, tattered clothing

Suggested usage: “One would expect that guy from ‘Lost’ to turn into a sniveling tatterdemalion after a couple months on the island, but surprisingly he looks as attractive and stylish as ever. I’m talking about Hurley, of course.”

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If you get a chance to use one of these words today, I want to hear about it. Unless it involves engaging in conversation with an ecdysiast, because that can be sorta dicey.

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