Saturday, May 9, 2009


For those of you who have not yet reached the b's in your dictionary, a brouhaha is a sensational event involving scandal, commotion, or turmoil.

It's my belief that tacking the extra “ha” onto the end makes a sham and a mockery out of a noun that takes itself quite seriously.

To maintain the intent and integrity of the word, simply lop off the final “ha” and shorten it to brouha.

And there you have efficiency achieved with no sense of loss and no need to suppress a snicker.

While doing research, I discovered that this French word (so often at the root of our problems) was used in early French drama to depict the devil laughing at misfortune by crying out “brou, ha, ha!”

Sacrebleu! I say we change the word now and to hell with the French.

Here's a thought, perhaps an idiotic one, but a thought nonetheless. Let's change the name to brouhoho. My new dictionary for the absurd and the foolishly inclined defines the word with an example: Santa, having a bad day, gets in a tiff with his elves. Or how about brouteehee? An encounter that breaks out between a stand-up comic and a belligerent heckler.

Speaking of silly words, what about shibboleth? A word used by an ancient tribe as a test word or password to separate the right tribe from the frauds who couldn't pronounce the sh and said sibboleth. “Oh, I'm sorry. Thanks for playing 'Say It Correctly.' You've been a good sport. But that faulty pronunciation is going to lead to your immediate demise.”

Hullabaloo is another word that sounds like it was hatched after a heavy night of drinking. A word that means “uproar” could just as easily be a new dance craze or a monetary exchange in a land not yet discovered. “Man, I'm so broke this week. I'm down to my last hullabaloo.”

How about bosoms? Now there's a word that removes all prurient interest from one of nature's glorious gifts. And then there's Uvula, which smacks of romantic possibilities, but is simply a dangling piece of flesh in the back of your throat.

Kerfuffle, a silly word used mostly by the Brits, is a disturbance or confusion of some sort. But it could just as easily be a board game, a card game, or a plump exotic bird with an extended beak, more feathers than you've ever seen, and legs the thickness of match sticks.

That about wraps up our nonsense words for today. Should you have any silly offerings of your own, don't be shy about submitting them. If I like them, I'll pretend they're my own, and give you no credit whatsoever.


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