Saturday, April 4, 2015

A-to-Z Challenge: D

This word is going to be discombobulate, which Dianne wondered about a while back and which I couldn’t think of a better place to put.


This word showed up in 1834—yes, a specific year, and relatively recent to boot. And unlike most words, it’s pure American English. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, which I’m going to quote verbatim because of how hilarious it is, it’s “fanciful coinage of a type popular then”. Basically, people liked making up crazy, meaningless, fun to say words in the nineteenth century. In fact, discombobulate was originally discombobricate, not making this up, check the etymology page yourself.

This might be the best origin I’ve come across. Not to mention the most succinct.

Sources

19 comments:

  1. That is an awesome word with a great etymology :) I think I prefer discombobulate to discombobricate - it rolls of the tongue better :)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  2. And now we make up words left and right. Be interesting to see the list of new words admitted to the dictionary in the past few years.

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  3. How fun that they enjoyed making up new words! This is a good one; hard for me to say sometimes, but I like the meaning from the dictionary that you shared here :)

    betty

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  4. Well, then, I'm going to start making up words again.

    And, by the way, I have an etymology challenge for you.

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  5. One of my favorite words! Picked it up as a teen for my lingo...along with serendipity, irk, and cumbersome. All awesome words. Now, I'm picturing 19th Century Valley girls making up words for fun. Perhaps bitchen will one day be a word of literary repute?

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  6. Hi JE - looks like Andrew is testing you! I think I prefer the original 'discombrobricate' ... but both are great D words ... cheers Hilary

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  7. It's a word that turns up on a soundtrack from a couple of years back, if I'm not mistaken.

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  8. I used to say discombobulate all the time when I was a kid. It was my favorite word! lol

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  9. I like this word, it gives my lips a workout when I say it. :)

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  10. One of my all time favorite words!

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  11. This is strange, but our family uses that word all the time. I thought my husband made it up.

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  12. I love the word discombobulate! My kids make up new words all the time which is lots of fun.

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  13. I guess every era has it's fads in the introduction of new words. I prefer the nineteenth century's version.

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  14. You people are just TRYING to mess with ESL students aren't ya... XD
    It is a fun word to say, that's for sure. We had something similar in the late 18th century, when people decided we need a Hungarian (not-borrowed) word for everything. Some of the inventions stuck, others didn't. Some were hilarious.

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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  15. I just remembered, I think Shaggy says discombobulated in one of the Scooby episodes....

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  16. I've always loved this word, and this origin makes sense to me, because it is ridiculous. It's better than "selfie", for sure!

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  17. I'm all for making up words like that. My husband still teases me about "dramastically." (I put dramatically and drastically together into one word.) I think it should be a real word though.

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    1. It SHOULD be a word! See? This is what I'm saying. We should all make up words.

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  18. This is totally my favorite. For one, it makes sense and is succinct, and two, it's freakin' funny. I want to make up funny words and have them become real!!

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