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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:25 pm

• raunchy •

Pronunciation: rawn-chee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. In bad condition: unkempt, shabby, dirty, smelly, messy. 2. Lewd, bawdy, salacious, dirty, suggestive, disreputable.

Notes: Today's questionably Good Word refers to things that are somewhat lewd or thoroughly messy, inoffensively. Lady Gaga's performances can be raunchy in the second sense and jeans that have been worn for weeks on end are certainly raunchy in the first. The adverb is raunchily, as an exotic dancer who writhes raunchily. The abstract noun is raunchiness. Today's word may now be used as a verb, as punk rock performance that raunches it up.

In Play: In the first sense we may say: "Portia Carr wouldn't be caught dead in Ivan Oder's raunchy jalopy!" In the second sense, we might say, "Not only does he drive a raunchy car, he tells equally raunchy jokes."

Word History: Most dictionaries claim that the origin of today's Good Word is unknown. However, two offer suggestions. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests—with little enthusiasm, I might add—that it might come from a British regional word raunch "to eat or snatch greedily". There is also a regional adjective raunch "uncooked green vegetables". However, the American word seems to have arisen in the speech of aviation cadets in the Southwest. Etymonline suggests that it might be a slight corruption of Spanish rancho "ranch", pronounced [rahncho], which might have been associated with the smell of cattle. I am not totally convinced of either, though I do think the evidence favors that latter explanation. (Today's Good Word was suggested by the completely unraunchy William Hupy in the Alpha Agora suggestion shop.)
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Philip Hudson
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Re: Raunchy

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:12 am

As I mentioned when William suggested this Good Word, the relationship between aviation cadets in the Southwest and the smell of cattle on a ranch seems iffy to me. My main memory of aviation cadets in the Southwest is of their coming to town and stealing the girlfriends of the local boys.
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Re: Raunchy

Postby MTC » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:42 am

Raunchy of them, Philip.

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Re: Raunchy

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:25 am

We have huge cattle feeding lots here and once upon
a time had the world's largest Stockyards. Passing by
any of them certainly bring up the word 'raunch' now
that I think about it. But at the time other words were
more appropriate.
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Re: Raunchy

Postby misterdoe » Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:33 pm

Until now I was unaware of any dictionary corroborating the first sense. I used to hear people speak of smelly or old food as raunchy and figured they meant rancid. And isn't the noun form raunch, as Luke used it in the previous message? :?

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