Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weird Words of the Week: Shufti, Scry, and Gander

Madame L heard this expression on the PBS show "Endeavour" recently, when Detective Inspector Fred Thursday tells to Endeavour Morse to "have a look-shouf" at some evidence.

Earlier in the show, Thursday said something about "taking a scry" at another matter.

And an American couple in that episode ("Nocturne"), mention that they're "taking a gander" at something.

Of course these three expressions all mean "taking a look at" something.

Madame L recognized the first one, "look-shouf," as having an Arabic origin ("shufti," meaning "Look," though she had never heard the "shouf" put together with the "look."

Madame L was surprised to find that "scry" means not only to look but to try to look into the future, as in a crystal ball.

And Madame L enjoyed the writers' attempt to make the American couple sound really American with that colloquialism "take a gander." Where did that come from, she wondered. And here's a possible answer: It refers to the long neck of the gander, stretched out to see something better.

Your assignment, Dear Readers: Use the expressions to take "a look-shouf," "a scry," and "a gander" in the coming week.

No comments: