Discombobulate

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Slava
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Discombobulate

Postby Slava » Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:10 pm

Dr. Goodword wrote:• discombobulate •

Pronunciation: dis-kêm-bah-byê-leyt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: (Humorous slang) To confuse, befuddle, disconcert or disorient; to throw into mental disarray.

Notes: Current dictionaries are still reluctant to discuss the family of this common if funny word. The action noun is discombobulation, which suffices to demonstrate that the word has been fully Latinized and absorbed into English. This means that other derivations like discombobulator, discombobulative, discombobulable and the like are fully grammatical—even though they may rankle your spellchecker.

In Play: A discombobulative situation would be one in which you wish to indicate befuddlement and get a laugh, too: "Well, I'm a little discombobulated right now and can't think of an alternative verb for discombobulate." It is not a word you would use in formal English but use it elsewhere with relish: "When visiting America, Cedric often becomes discombobulated and drives in the left lane."

Word History: Today's word probably dropped from someone's lips when they were searching futilely for a word like discompose, which they mixed it up with, maybe, cobble, then added the Latin suffix -ate in an attempt to cover their tracks. The result is so amusing, however, that it survived and will continue to be repeated so long as it gets laughs. This word first appeared in print in the mid 1930s in the New York Sun, making it clear that it is another jab at pretentious speech from the US.

misterdoe
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Re: Discombobulate

Postby misterdoe » Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:15 am

I have been known to explain that I have become a bit discombobulated, then ask for a minute or two to recombobulate myself (or get recombobulated).

And if anyone finds their spellchecker getting rankled because of discombobulate, I'm sure you'll be able to iron things out. :)

Perry Lassiter
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Re: Discombobulate

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:38 pm

We use it so often that it has developed connotations of its own. We all find ourselves discombobulated now and then, and no other word seems to fit.
pl

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Slava
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Re: Discombobulate

Postby Slava » Sun Jul 20, 2014 5:18 pm

Well, if usage helps make a neologism a real, accepted word, recombobulate is on its way:
http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/29452504.html
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