To paraphrase Krusty the Clown, comedy isn’t dirty words—it’s words that sound dirty, likemukluk. He’s right, of course. Some words really do sound like they mean something quite different from their otherwise entirely innocent definition (a mukluk is an Inuit sealskin boot, in case you were wondering), and no matter how clean-minded you might be, it’s hard not to raise an eyebrow or a wry smile whenever someone says something like cockchafer orsexangle. Here are10 words that might sound rude, but really aren’t. Honest.
If you read that as “a-hole,” then think again. Aholehole is pronounced “ah-holy-holy,” and is the name of a species of Hawaiian flagtail fish native to the central Pacific.
Aktashite is a rare mineral used commercially as an ore of arsenic, copper, and mercury. It takes its name from the village of Aktash in eastern Russia, where it was first discovered in 1968. The final –ite , incidentally, is the same mineralogical suffix as in words like graphite and kryptonite.
While exploring the coast of Virginia in 1606, Captain John Smith (of Pocahontas fame) wrote in his journal of a creature known to local tribes as the assapanick . By “spreading their legs, and so stretching the largeness of their skins,” he wrote, “they have been seen to fly 30 or 40 yards.” Assapanick is another name for the flying squirrel.
Assart is an old medieval English legal term for an area of forested land that has been converted into arable land for growing crops. It can also be used as a verb meaning “to deforest,” preparing wooded land for farming.
Derived from bastón, the Spanish word for a cane or walking stick, bastinado is an old 16th century word for a thrashing or caning, especially on the soles of the feet.
As well as being the name of a former shipping port in northern Tasmania, boobyalla is also an Aborigine name for the wattlebird, one of a family of honey eaters native to much of Australia.
In his Dictionary of the English Language (1755), Samuel Johnson described a bum-bailiff as “a bailiff of the meanest kind,” and in particular, “one that is employed in arrests.”
To bumfiddle means to pollute or spoil something, in particular by scribbling or drawing on a document to make it invalid. A bumfiddler is someone who does precisely that.
Like the aholehole, the bummalo is another tropical fish, in this case a southeast Asian lizardfish. When listed on Indian menus it goes by the slightly more appetizing name of “Bombay duck.”
According to a Tudor dictionary published in 1552, a clatterfart is someone who “will disclose any light secret”—in other words, it’s a gossip or blabbermouth.
BY Harshvardhan Singh.
Latest posts by harsh (see all)
- Boyhood Movie Review - November 15, 2014
- John Wick’ Movie Review - November 15, 2014
- Review Interstellar: Beautiful and Breathtaking by HVS - November 7, 2014