Fun to say, fun to see.

Kerfuffle: noun meaning to become disheveled, a commotion, or a fuss.

I actually heard someone say kerfuffle aloud in the last week and it’s been delightfully romping around in my brainspace ever since. Say it a few times and you’ll see what I mean. It’s delicious. It’s also cool because this word is of Scottish origin (out of verbs like fuffle that meant to ruffle, or fuff that meant to steam – giving it a bit of an angry temper slant), which is why I think our word for today has a bit more flare than those with Greek and Latin roots. Even more interesting is that as late as the 1960s, the word didn’t have a specific accepted spelling. Apparently, onomatopoetic words  like kerplop and kerplunk forced the change in our lexicon. I suspected that skirmish was related through the Scottish /Gaelic root car, which meant to bend or twist – but, I was totally wrong.

If anyone knows how to cause a kerfuffle, it’s pirates and emperors. Check out this amazing satire of School House Rocks, and well, the U.S. Government. It’s a little dated now, (and not even accurate – Alexander the Great is Greek, after all) but it’s too great not to share:

Categories: etymology, media | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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