It’s been a long year! And I’ve got a short time to meet a half-dozen deadlines. But I don’t want to leave you without something interesting, so herewith some intriguing words culled from volume 2 of the Dictionary of American Regional English. (Remember that?)
• Diddy-wah-diddy: Used as a substitute for a word or name one does not want to use; hence as the name of an imaginary place, often conceived of as fabulous and far-off.
• Drindle: To diminish, shrink; to waste away, die out. You might drindle away if you’re in failing health.
• Fish-drownder: A very heavy rain.
• Fussful: Quarrelsome, at odds.
• Gald: To chafe; make sore by rubbing
• Gardaloo: A noise expressing contempt; a raspberry (Bronx cheer).
• Gully washer: A very heavy rain or the run-off it occasions (“Send us, not a gentle sizzle-sozzle, but a sod-soaker, O Lord, a gully washer”).
• Hacking and hammering: Vacillating, equivocating (hemming and hawing).
There’s only one on this list I knew: gully washer, which was a part of my father’s vocabulary. Drindle, fish-drownder, and fussful all sound “country” to me—that is, rural. What do you think? Had you heard any of these? I could spend all afternoon paging through these enormous books (I have volumes 1 and 2 so far). Does this list make you want to hear more?
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