Scarcely a day goes by that I don’t savor a few words as they roll off the tongue, or bounce through the empty hallways of my brain. And today I’m enchanted by five, which we must all begin to use more often, so they don’t slip into antiquity. See how many of these you know:
The first is FLIBBERTIGIBBET. Pronounced flibber tee jibbet, this is the word for a flighty chatterbox (usually a girl, ahem) whose nonstop, silly conversation makes her appear scatterbrained and irresponsible. And, indeed, maybe she is both of those. Found in books about Harry Potter and Charlotte’s Web, it’s also in the Maria lyrics of The Sound of Music. And, after all, don’t we all know several flibbertigibbets?
SNICKERSNEE is the next one. It used to refer to a knife fight, but now refers just to the knife, itself. Usually a long one. And it sounds so much more exciting than, simply, “knife.”
Next up is COLLYWOBBLES, a rumbling of the stomach and often that nervous feeling of butterflies. It makes me feel British when I say it, so I like it. I imagine tiny thatched roofs on houses belonging to toads living on Collywobble Lane. You know the one, just over the bog from Puddlesby and Fairy Frock.
Here’s one you’ll use all the time: WIDDERSHINS. It means counter, or counter clockwise, and describes not only a timepiece, but anything going in the wrong direction. I’m thinking hair, today.
And last, TARADIDDLE. This is a pretentious lie, but sounds so much less condemning. “Billy, is that a taradiddle?” “Yes, ma’am.” You can back off from it and correct yourself much more easily than if you’re an out-and-out liar. And everyone needs the chance to save face and back pedal now and then, right?
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