Lord Love a Duck!
October 20, 2008 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Ever wonder what a quocker-wodger was? Just what did they mean when they said that you were all kippers and curtains? Worldwidewords.org has the answer. "More than 1600 pages on the origins, history, evolution and idiosyncrasies of the English language worldwide." Word geeks, say goodbye to the rest of your afternoon.
posted by freshwater_pr0n (17 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Whis is all sorts of awesome baked into a pie of delicious success. Thanks!
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:38 PM on October 20, 2008

The affiliated affixes.org will have said word geeks saying goodbye to sleep.
(sarcasm)Thanks a lot.(/sarcasm)
posted by not_on_display at 3:40 PM on October 20, 2008

Great site. 'Quocker-wodger' is defo going on my big list of obscure and lovely words to slip into the newspaper if the subs will let me get away with it.

'Fur coat and no knickers', which is mentioned in the 'all kippers and curtains' entry, is one of my favourite phrases. My nan, who has gone a bit doolally in her old age, uses it often (she's Welsh and working class, but lives in England in a posh area, so in her dementia-addled mind, pretty much every woman she meets - some of whom I'm pretty sure are imaginary - is all fur coat and no knickers!)

Also, if you like this site, check out A Word A Day, a mailing list that does what it says on the tin. I've been a subscriber for 12 years now, and reckon you get a truly gorgeous, previously-unknown word or phrase about once every three months or so.
posted by jack_mo at 3:47 PM on October 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

all kippers and curtains?

Fur coat and no knickers, as my old mum used to say.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:47 PM on October 20, 2008

And my own grandmother, like jack_mo's, was also Welsh. I wonder if that's where the phrase originates? Though variants seem fairly ubiquitous. All hat and no cattle, for example.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:50 PM on October 20, 2008

Quocker-Wodger is the kindest description of Bush I've read on this site.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:50 PM on October 20, 2008

This may just be the best thing ever. I'm sure I'll find a word in this somewhere that expresses it better than that.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 4:55 PM on October 20, 2008

If you like Worldwidewords.org and AWAD, you may also like the Oxford English Dictionary's word of the day, Dictionary.com's word of the day or maybe even the Urban Dictionary's word of the day. Mailing-list-wise, you could go for Ask Oxford's word of the day or, more historically, the Middle-English word of the day.

Yes, I'm a word geek. I admit it.
posted by immlass at 5:02 PM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat, eh? Eh?
posted by bwg at 5:55 PM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Bits and bobs. All mouth and no trousers. Keep your pecker up!
posted by carter at 6:08 PM on October 20, 2008

Scrumdifferous! Hyperfirmatious! Supergobosnoptious!
posted by steef at 6:42 PM on October 20, 2008

I can't believe this awesome site hasn't been posted to Metafilter before! I have several of Quinion's books, and subscribe to his weekly e-mail newsletter.

My very first FFP had a link to Hebesphenomegacorona from World Wide Words!

Thanks for exposing more people to this wonderful site!
posted by Tube at 6:48 PM on October 20, 2008

Curse the blasted, jelly-boned swines, the slimy, the belly-wriggling invertebrates, the miserable soddingrotters, the flaming sods, the sniveling, dribbling, dithering, palsied, pulse-less lot that make up England today. They've got white of egg in their veins, and their spunk is so watery it's a marvel they can breed.
- - - D. H. Lawrence, 1912
posted by netbros at 8:18 PM on October 20, 2008

Finally! A decent definition and etymology of the word bespoke, which continued to bedevil my efforts to figure out where it came from and what it really meant until I found its citation on WorldWideWords. Thanks, f_p!
posted by Lynsey at 9:13 AM on October 21, 2008

This is an amazing site, and will probably eat up a lot of my time as I'm very interested in language and the origins of words and phrases. I've already found explanations for phrases I've wondered about for years, for instance "Jesus H Christ" (from the Greek abbreviation for Jesus Christ, "IHS") and "Katy bar the door!", which I've been confused by for years since legendary pro wrestling announcer Gordon Solie used to say it all the time: "Katy bar the door, it's a pier six brawl!", i.e. when in a tag team match all the participants would jump in at once and beat each other up. Now, if they only explained what a "pier six brawl" is.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:38 AM on October 21, 2008

I can't believe I just screwed up "i.e." and "e.g." in a post about language geekery. Jesus H Christ. Since it's that kind of post, for those who don't know: "i.e." = "id est" = (loosely) "that is", "e.g." = "exempli gratia" = (loosely) "for example".
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:46 AM on October 21, 2008

I actually am partial to non-English words like this -- I have a whole book, "They Have A Word For It," with words in other languages that have no direct English translation, but SHOULD.

Like: Mamihlapinatapai, from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego, which means "a look shared by two people with each wishing that the other will initiate something that both desire but which neither one wants to start."

You know: the kind of look that you and another person share when you've been flirting like mad and you are 95% sure that you both want to kiss but that 5% is unsure and so you're holding back because what if you're wrong, but wait -- what was that look they just gave you, wasn't that....that kind of look? Wait, though, what kind of look was that, that did kind of look encouraging, but what if it wasn't -- so then what the hell kind of look was that, then?....

....Now you know -- that kind of look is called mamihlapinatapai.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:22 AM on October 22, 2008

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