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October 20, 2008


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Without a doubt one of my all-time favorite words, a pillar of my vocabulary. I will endeavor to research its purported French roots when I'm in Paris - how's that?

Apparently the roots are very likely indeed French, Jessica. The OED says the word is probably a corruption of "decalcomania" (which in shortened form gave us "decal"), itself of French origin. Pretty good discussion of the origin here: http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-coc1.htm

As a side note, Wokkawokkapedia notes that a 1950s commercial product involving transfers of popular cartoons was called Cockamamies, "a deliberate mispronunciation" of decalcomania, and the product led to the slang word. But the link above, and a 1945 citation in the OED, strongly suggests that the word was a natural mispronunciation--so that any later commercial product would have simply borrowed the already existing word.

Oops, sorry for the duplication on the WorldWideWords note. And while I have you on the line, I need to--if comments I've endured throughout my life have anything to do with it--brouhaha is is a means of mocking my last name.

@Bill Brohaugh: You really got me going with Wokkawokkapedia. Did you know that www.wokkawokka.com takes you to the official website of the Wokka Wokka(tm) Diamond (90 facets instead of the usual 58), sold at Justice Jewelers in Missouri and Arkansas? Well, you know now. Apparently "wokka wokka" is (a) the signature line of Fozzie the Bear, would-be Muppet comedian, or (b) the sound Pac-Man makes as he moves across the screen. Classy diamond trademark, no? No.

Agreed on the classy trademark. No. Call it the Sparka sparka diamond, or something.

My reference to Wokkawokkapedia is indeed inspired by Fozzie, my second-favorite Muppet. My favorite is the Swedish Chef, but Borkborkborkapedia didn't quite work in the punning world, though might eventually make it as an IKEA product name.

Bork bork bork. I seem to be attracted to goofy K sounds.

Love the post about the word of the week 'Gallerina'.

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