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TARNATION

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TARNATION

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Jul 02, 2005 11:29 pm

• tarnation •

Pronunciation: tah(r)-ney-shên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Interjection & Mass Noun

Meaning: 1. [Interjection] An exclamation of annoyance. 2. The act of condemning or the state of being condemned.

Notes: Because of its oblique origin (see History), this word has no relatives. The fact that it is most often used as an expletive contributes to this fact since expletives generally are lexical loners.

In Play: Because it was a favorite word of several of my aunts as I was growing up down South, I never really gave much thought to this word. Back when physical discipline was considered virtuous (spare the rod, spoil the child), most southern country boys had the tarnation beaten out of them on a fairly regular basis. (Maybe that is why we are forgetting the word.) I am sure if those gracious ladies who aunted my rise to adulthood had been aware of its origin, they would never have said anything like, "What in tarnation were you thinking when put your red shirt in the washing machine with my linen?!" Or, "Tarnation, son, you don't have the sense God gave a goat!"

Word History: Today's Good Word is another home-grown word that has never been outside the language. Moreover, it is purely American. It started out as the Latinized damnation, which did not sit well with our frontier foremothers. So, about the time Damn! shifted to Darn!, damnation went to darnation. From darnation to tarnation was no more than switching a wiggle for a puff of air. The difference between [d] and [t] is that we vibrate our vocal cords to pronounce [d] but not for [t] and we puff our [t]s but not our [d]s. (Don't believe it? Put your fingers about 1 inch from your mouth and say, to, then, do, a couple of times.)
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Re: TARNATION

Postby anders » Sun Jul 03, 2005 12:43 pm

Dr. Goodword wrote:The difference between [d] and [t] is that we vibrate our vocal cords to pronounce [d] but not for [t] and we puff our [t]s but not our [d]s. (Don't believe it? Put your fingers about 1 inch from your mouth and say, to, then, do, a couple of times.)

Inhabitants in Romance countries, as well as people in for example India, have no problem in recognizing that the English d is aspirated as is the t.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Jul 03, 2005 4:36 pm

I am sure if those gracious ladies who aunted my rise to adulthood had been aware of its origin,

Talk about verbing our nouns... Very nice, Doc.

Inhabitants in Romance countries, as well as people in for example India, have no problem in recognizing that the English d is aspirated as is the t.

You can say that again.

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Postby KatyBr » Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:31 am

I am sure if those gracious ladies who aunted my rise to adulthood had been aware of its origin,

How I like that! Even tho' my own Aunt(great Aunt) was an ancient crone who was very out of it in my childhood, I understand exactly the meaning.

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Aunting

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Jul 04, 2005 7:51 am

If you can father and mother, why not aunt and uncle around with a nephew. To me it is a simple matter of consistency.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:17 am

I couldn't agree more, Doc.

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