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HAPLESS

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HAPLESS

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:32 am

• hapless •


Pronunciation: hæp-lis • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Without hap, success, or fortune; unlucky, unfruitful.

Notes: Today's Good Word would appear to be another genuine orphan negative. This resulted from the shift of the meaning of its positive correlate, happy, from "fortuitous, by chance" to "in good spirits". It was reinforced toward the end of the 19th century by the loss of hap "luck, fortune", the noun these adjectives were derived from. Today we are left with only the adverb, haplessly, and haplessness, the noun, both offspring of hapless itself.

In Play: Today's Good Word is a slightly more poetic word for unlucky or simply unfruitful: "After a hapless romance with Dawn Bright, Phil Anders returned to college for an advanced degree in social psychology." In Yiddish a hapless person is known as a schlimazel, someone for whom nothing goes right. This word is also widespread in the English of the Central Atlantic US states.

Word History: Today's Good Word has a few scattered distant cousins like mishap and happen "occur by chance", all based on the now defunct noun hap. This stem has had hard luck in other languages too. It appeared in Sanskrit as kob "premonition", and also arose in Old Slavic in essentially the same form. However, the word did not survive into the modern Indic (Hindi, Marathi, etc.) or modern Slavic languages, such as Russian, Polish, or Czech. (It was certainly our good hap that Jeremy Busch brought today's curiously isolated Good Word to our attention.)
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Re: HAPLESS

Postby MTC » Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:06 am

Considering its happy family, is "hapless" really an orphan? Other family members include:

haphazard
haply
happen
happenstance
happy
hapsome
mayhap
mishap
and perhaps.

A hapless orphan it's not!
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Re: HAPLESS

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:42 pm

Neither hapless nor schlimazel has penetrated the dense undergrowth of my native Redneck, so I ain't got no hap about the whole caboodle.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: HAPLESS

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:50 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:Neither hapless nor schlimazel has penetrated the dense undergrowth of my native Redneck, so I ain't got no hap about the whole caboodle.




:lol:
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: HAPLESS

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:43 pm

Slang phrase, popular here and there - What's the haps? Equivalent to "what's going on?" or the Spanish "que pasa?"
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Re: HAPLESS

Postby Slava » Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:55 pm

Or the current "wazzup".
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Re: HAPLESS

Postby MTC » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:47 pm

The slang phrase (actually a clause) which uses "hap" is "shappening?" pronounced "SAP-nin?"

According to the Urban Dictionary:
shappening
what's happening (based on the ellipsis "sup")
Person 1: Shappening?
Person 2: Nothing much, how 'bout you?

"Sup?" is a contraction for "What's up?"
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Re: HAPLESS

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:21 pm

Perry: I didn't know anyone could just say "¿Que pasa?" I thought one had to say "Caramba! ¿Que pasa?" - Another mild Spanish swear word. "Caramba!" is equivalent to the "Blimey!" we have been discussing.
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