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CORKER

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CORKER

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:30 pm

• corker •

Pronunciation: kor-kêr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Someone who corks bottles. 2. (Regional slang) Something that brings finality, that puts an end to a matter, that 'puts a cork in' something. 3. (Regional slang) Something excellent, outstanding in its class or category.

Notes: Today's Good Word is most common today in New England, so it is a regional slang term. It often is accompanied by a prepositional phrase beginning with of: you can tell a corker of a story or experience a corker of a storm. Any way you use it, it indicates that the noun it modifies is an outstanding example of its class.

In Play: If you travel about Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, you are apt to hear sentiments expressed like this: "I hear that the alphaDictionary Good Words are a corker of a word-of-the-day series." Well, that's the way we dream of it. "That story you told about climbing Mt. Everest was really a corker—whether it was true or not."

Word History: The word cork came to English from Spanish corcho "cork", the Spanish descendant of Latin quercus "oak". Quercus is a descendant of PIE *perkwu-/*porkwu- "oak", in which the [p] became [kw] under the influence of the [kw] in the following syllable. Since PIE [p] became [f] in Germanic languages, we would expect descendants of this same root in these languages to look like firh-, which points the finger to the ancestor of English fir. The regional use of this word, as in a corker of a day, came from the world of baseball. A corker in the 1860s was a hit that flew from the bat like the cork from a champagne bottle, usually a home run. A released champagne cork even gives a pop like a bat hitting the ball.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:03 pm

I am sure the Good Doctor is right about corker being primarily a Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire regionalism.
These are three states of the USA that I have never visited. How can I explain that this word has been in my red neck vocabulary since I was a half pint?
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Postby Slava » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:48 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:How can I explain that this word has been in my red neck vocabulary since I was a half pint?
Perhaps because they are wonderful states that have contributed to the nation's vocabulary?
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:29 pm

Or he's always read a lot.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:32 pm

As a kid growing up I heard the word a lot, and probably
used it as much. And I am in the Heartland.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:08 pm

I think I know what happened to spread the word corker. During WWII our servicemen were exposed to the cultures of people from all over the country. I believe the boys from the far northeast may have shared the word with their buddies and it caught on for some of them.

I know this happened to other words. I thought copasetic was a word peculiar to military men when I was a child. I learned it from my uncles right after WWII. Now, it seems to be remembered mostly by old veterans. I believe we have discussed copasetic on Alpha Agora before and tossed around its possible origins.
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Postby Slava » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:23 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:I believe we have discussed copasetic on Alpha Agora before and tossed around its possible origins.
Aye, copacetic has been around a few times. Do a search and you'll find six separate threads.
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