Monday, February 10, 2014

Weird Word of the Week: Flummoxed

Madame L loves that one of her Dear Readers, AKA Rhetorical Devices, signed his message "Flummoxed," which means "bewildered or perplexed" (and a lot of other synonyms).

This word was first used in 1837, and, according to the online Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary, its origin is unknown.  The online Oxford English Dictionary also says its origin is unknown. Of course, that online OED is a very abbreviated version of the original OED.

Wait, wait! Madame L just found the Online Etymology Dictionary, which notes:

"1837, cant word, origin uncertain, probably from some forgotten British dialect. Candidates cluster in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, southern Cheshire and also in Sheffield. 'The formation seems to be onomatopœic, expressive of the notion of throwing down roughly and untidily.' Never let it be said that the OED editors lacked imagination."

Jon Stewart, flummoxed as he interviews Bill O'Reilly

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

It's OBVIOUSLY about an OX thrown down a FLUME. How confusing is THAT?!??