Growlette: A reusable 32-ounce jug, usually glass, that can be filled with beer or other beverages. Formed by adding a diminutive suffix to growler, the 64-ounce version of the jug.
The earliest citation I’ve found for growlette—and a possible source for the coinage—is from August 2011, when Throwback Brewery, in New Hampshire, posted an announcement on its blog:
We have a new, smaller growler coming in time for the tasting hours on Thursday, September 8th! These new growlers are very cute 32 oz flip-tops (approx. 1/2 the size of our original growler), so we decided to give them a name – “growlettes”. We love these new bottles. They are slim enough so that you can fit several into your fridge without requiring displacement of core food items (although we think beer is a core food item ). Given their size, the growlettes will allow you to more easily bring home multiple varieties of beer at a time. And, finally, for folks intimated [sic] about buying 4+ pints of beer at a time, the growlette seems much more manageable at 2 pints.
Growler came into American English around 1885, during a period when many communities prohibited the sale of alcohol on Sunday; the 64-ounce vessel allowed “the tippler to stock up,” according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Early growlers were metal pails; the American Heritage Dictionary gives the etymology thus: “from the sound made by carbon dioxide escaping from under the lids of metal pails in which beer was carried in the past.” (More history here. See the Online Slang Dictionary for lewd and scatological definitions of growler unrelated to beer.)
I discovered growlette via a thread on the American Dialect Society’s listserv. In the original post, dated January 6, 2015, Benjamin Barrett wrote that Haggen, a grocery store in Bellingham, Washington, “has kombucha growlers (64 oz) and growlettes (32 oz) for sale.” Kombucha is a fermented but nonalcoholic “living drink” made by “fermenting green and black tea with sugar and the Kombucha culture known as S.C.O.B.Y. (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast),” according to the Haggen website.
Victor Steinbok responded to Barrett’s email with this post:
It's generally agreed on tge [sic] craft beer scene that “growler” is reserved for the 64 oz./ 1/2 gal / 2 liter glass or metal container and, in some states, like Florida, that allow it, 1 gal glass jugs. It has to be resealable, for beer purposes, thus is usually a pop-top (a.k.a. flip-top or swing-top) or screw-cap.It is also generally agreed that there's no unique agreed-upon name for the small containers. Growlette is mildly popular but is often met with derision as "effeminate". "Half-growler" and "small growler" are more popular. The standard avoidance convention suggest just listing "growler" and specifying the capacity.
And Barrett followed up with a list of other non-beer beverages being poured into growlers, including cider, soda, and coconut water.
Columbia? Taken. Mississippi? Taken. Sacramento? El Niño? Marlin? Grizzly? Sorry, they're all taken.
Virtually every large city, notable landscape feature, creature and weather pattern of North America — as well as myriad other words, concepts and images — has been snapped up and trademarked as the name of either a brewery or a beer. For newcomers to the increasingly crowded industry of more than 3,000 breweries, finding names for beers, or even themselves, is increasingly hard to do without risking a legal fight.
The accompanying illustration is amusing and instructive.
Endling: The last individual of a species. Coined from end and the suffix -ling, indicating possession of a quality (compare yearling, weakling, earthling).
Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island giant tortoise, died in the Galápagos on June 24, 2012. Photo via New Statesman.
Writing in the New Statesman, Helen Lewis callsendling “a wonderfully Tolkien-esque word.” It was born in the pages of the journal Naturein April 1996. suggested in a letter written by two men working at a convalescent center. (They worked with dying patients who thought of themselves as the last of their lineage.) Dolly Jorgensen, a historian of the environment and technology, writes in an April 2013 blog postthat the suggestion “was met with counter-suggestions in the May 23rd issue: ender (Chaucer used it to mean he that puts an end to anything), terminarch (because it has a more positive ring than endling which sounds pathetic according to the respondent), and relict (which means last remaining, but typically for a group).”
Nothing more appears to have been made of the suggestion or the word in scientific circles. Endling doesn’t show up at all if you search the Web of Science and it doesn’t appear in any English dictionary as far I was able to find. It has, however, made it into Wikipedia, which is why I got curious about where the word came from.
Endling “got a boost” in 2001, Jorgensen writes, when the National Museum Australia opened. One of the inaugural exhibits displayed specimens of the extinct thylacine (Tasmanian tiger); the wall text above the exhibit displayed the definition of endling.
What’s fascinating about this [writes Jorgensen] is that the museum staff took the endling concept and made it real. They wrote the definition on the wall as if that definition was official: it is written as if it was copied from a dictionary complete with the part of speech designation as a noun, yet I’ve found no Australian dictionary (or any other) that defines endling. And the definition the museum exhibit used is not exactly what the original Nature letter had defined endling as. Yet there it was in black and white defined. The word had been claimed. But what had it named? Was endling the last wild thylacine (represented by the skin) or the last thylacine ever (Benjamin)? That’s not entirely clear.
Endling is the title of a novel by Katherine Applegate scheduled to be published in 2016, the first in a proposed trilogy for middle-grade readers. Applegate told Publishers Weekly in September 2013 that “her son Jake … came across ‘endling’ on Wikipedia and shared it with his mother. ‘It seemed so poignant and inherently dramatic that I couldn’t let it go,’ said Applegate. ‘I went back to the word a few times and felt that it was a book, but not just a single title. It was a trilogy. I knew it would be a quest story, and would take some time to tell’.”
The endling of the series, Applegate said, will be “an invented, dog-like species with the ability to communicate with humans.”
Full access to the column is restricted to subscribers (only $19.95 a year!). Here’s a shortish excerpt:
Bookish: This word has meant “literary” or “enthusiastic about reading” since the mid-16th century. When attached to a noun, ish gives the sense of belonging to that thing or person, or having its nature or character. Many noun + ish blends express disparagement: consider childish, sluggish, shrewish, foolish, selfish, and many others. Other times, as with bookish (or feverish or freakish), the sense is neutral. In addition to the Berkeley bookstore, there’s an ebook reader called Booki.sh, which uses the Saint Helena country-code domain extension .sh.
Via a tweet from San Francisco Chronicle book editor John McMurtrie.
Blog bonus #2:
I figured someone would ask about Ish Kabibble, so even though he’s unrelated to the topic at hand I did some research.
Ish Kabibble was the stage name of Merwyn Bogue (1907-1994 or 1908-1993, depending on the source), a cornet player in Kay Kyser’s big band. The origin of the pseudonym is debated. Here’s an excerpt from the World Wide Words entry:
This dismissive slang expression came into existence in the USA quite suddenly around 1913 with the ostensible meaning “I should worry!”, which means, of course, “Don’t worry!” or “Who cares?”. It had quite a vogue for a decade or two and was the name of a character played by Merwyn Bogue on a 1930s radio show called Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge (they don’t make titles like that any more).
Those of us who sift the detritus of language for fun and profit are intrigued by it. It looks and sounds Yiddish and the phrases nish gefidlt, nicht gefiedelt, and ich gebliebte have all been suggested as sources. The idea of a Jewish connection was reinforced in 1914 when Harry Hershfield began his cartoon strip Abie the Agent in Hearst newspapers, which featured the car salesman Abraham (“Abie”) Kabibble.
Many people at the time certainly thought it was Yiddish, and it’s notable that some Anglicised it to “I should bibble” or “we should bibble”. But it was equally firmly said by contemporaries that no Yiddish connection existed at all.
The adjectival suffix -ish signifies “having the qualities of [the noun it’s attached to].” So if raffish is “having the qualities of raff,” what is “raff”?
It turns out that raff goes back to Middle English. Back in the late 14th century, according to the OED, it meant “a class or group of people (perh. with negative connotations.” By the mid-1400s it also meant “worthless material” or rubbish, a meaning that persisted through the early 20th century. We still use riff-raff to mean “disreputable people”; that usage has cognates in many European languages—French rif et raf, Italian de riffa e de raffa, Danish ripsraps—where it means something closer to “every single one.” Oxford Dictionaries Online claimsthat raffish was shortened from riffraff + ish, but other dictionaries don’t concur.
The Online Etymology Dictionary credits Jane Austen with the first published usage of the “disreputable” sense of raffish, in 1801, but gives no citation; the OED doesn’t mention Austen and antedates the usage to 1795, in a book called Elisa Powell. (“They returned to the parlour, laughing, and saying one to the other, ‘Did you ever see any thing so raffish! He will certainly become a mere student.’”) The “attractive disregard” sense goes back only to 1906, and didn’t really pick up steam until the middle of the 20th century, according to Ngrams for American and British English. Maybe the dashing flyboys of the RAF (Royal Air Force) nudged the word into positive territory, or perhaps it was influenced by rakish (now “jaunty, dashing,” but originally “disreputable”—as in like a rakehell).
Tennessee Williams used raffish to vivid effect in his stage directions for the opening of A Streetcar Named Desire (1947):
The exterior of a two-story corner building on a street in New Orleans which is named Elysian Fields and runs between the L & N tracks and the river. The section is poor but, unlike corresponding sections in other American cities, it has a raffish charm.
My new column for the Visual Thesaurus, “A Very Enterprising Suffix,” looks at the rise and spread of -preneur, which has detached itself from entrepreneur and become a self-sufficient, up-by-its-bootstraps element of word creation.
Access is restricted to subscribers($19.95 a year) is open to all! Here’s an excerpt:
Since 2001, U.S. trademarks have been registered for Christian-preneur, Dentalpreneur, Teenpreneur, Homepreneur, Kitchenpreneur, Media-preneur, Super-preneur, The Passion-preneur, and Message-preneur, among others. In more-informal use you'll find eco-preneur, journopreneur, oeno-trepreneur (New York magazine's description of Gary Vaynerchuk, "the leading grape guru of the Internet"), pastor-preneur (a minister who offers wealth-creation advice), solopreneur, webpreneur, and warrior-preneur (the nom de preneur of San Francisco Bay Area speaker/coach/consultant Ann M. Evanston). I suppose you might call me and my fellow name developers onoma-preneneurs.
The essays attempt no original contribution to Marxist, or what you might call Marxish, thought. They simply offer basic introductions, with some critical comments, to a handful of contemporary thinkers on the left…
Kyle Chayka, in a review of Kunkel’s book published in Pacific Standard*, likes “Marxish,” which he calls “a good way of referring to this next-generation critical political thought being put into practice by the left, a kind of functional Marxism”:
Marxish dumps Marx’s difficult teleology in which socialism inevitably triumphs over capitalism, or “capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own negation.” Instead, thinkers like Kunkel and his subjects are using Marxism as a tool to deconstruct and mitigate the destructive effects of capitalism as we see them occurring in the world today.
Kunkel doesn’t name his sources, but it’s clear he did not coin “Marxish.” Screening out usages like “Groucho Marx-ish eyebrows,” and mal-scanned instances of “Marxist” or “Marxism,” I found several earlier references. There’s the Marxish Academy in Seattle, a “startup anti-capitalist venture,” whose only blog post is dated February 2013. “Well, you have to admit, she is rather Marxish,”
The ultimate origin of “Marxish” may be French marxisant: “tending toward Marxism” or, less neutrally, “faux-radical.” I found a citation in “Lecturing to the Lefties,” published in the October 11, 1991, issue of the Catholic Herald (UK):
[I]t seems to me the Marxist, or. I should say, in that useful French word Marxisant, or Marx-ish, influence runs pretty deep in academia.
Of course, ish has multiple meanings.As a suffix, it showed up earlier this year in anonymish, a descriptor for Wut, Secret, and other semi-anonymous apps; and it’s often used humorously (see Oaklandish).
The latest namifying example to catch my attention is Zenify, a relaxation drink. The manufacturer was handing out free cans at last weekend’s Brewery Art Walk in Los Angeles.
Brother, can you spare a hyphen?
At least the makers of Zenify have made up a story about their verbifying suffix. It’s poorly articulated, but it’s something:
Zenify is a Zen state of mind, clearing away mental clutter to the power of the Phi(fy), which represents the perfect balance between excess and insufficiency. When you drink Zenify, you will be in a Calm, Sharp & Focused [sic] state and this feeling will allow you to react at peak performance in over-stimulating times. Zenify helps you harness your existing energy without being distracted by your surroundings.
Elsewhere on the site, you learn that by “the power of the Phi(fy)” they’re referring to the “golden ratio” or “golden mean,” a mathematical concept expressed by the Greek letter phi. What does all that have to do with the exponential numeral in “Zen2”? I’m in a state of not-knowingness.
The “zen” part of Zenify is even more pervasive in commerce than the “-ify” suffix. As I wrote in a 2008 column for the Visual Thesaurus, zen often stands in as “a synonym for ordinary nothingness”:
Zen can be combined with mail to describe “an incoming e-mail message with no message or attachments.” Zen spin is a verb meaning “to tell a story without saying anything at all.” And to zen a computing problem means to figure it out in an intuitive flash — perhaps while you’re plugged into the earphones of your ZEN MP3 player, now available from Creative with a 16Gb capacity.