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WHIPPERSNAPPER

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WHIPPERSNAPPER

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Nov 09, 2005 11:44 pm

• whippersnapper •

Pronunciation: hwi-pêr-snæ-pêr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A feisty, snippy, combative person.

Notes: This word offers little for us to explore. It is a lexical orphan and an oddity that does not lend itself to further derivation. If I were to use it as a noun, I would choose whippersnappery—and not be the first to do so; it currently occurs 101 times on the Web. This word is usually associated with youth: it most frequently occurs in the phrase young whippersnapper. Age apparently mellows whippersnappers, which might be a good thing.

In Play: As mentioned above, whippersnappery seems to be the domain of the young: "That young whippersnapper over there just called me an old fogey!" Some of you might take umbrage at the suggestion that we lose our whippersnappery as we age: "Hey guys, some old whippersnapper just broke my middle finger!"

Word History: Today's Good Word is a jingle variation of whip-snapper "a cracker of whips", influence by dialectal snippersnapper "a conceited, insignificant fellow". We love compounds that are rhyming jingles, such as namby-pamby, shilly-shally, wishy-washy, willy-nilly, roly-poly, to name a few. Whippersnapper is another member of this playful group. (Today's Good Word comes from Rachel Keller, otherwise known as Pooky Zoo in the Alpha Agora.)
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Postby Apoclima » Thu Nov 10, 2005 3:08 am

Great word to describe BD:

"You, young whippersnapper!"

(In reference to his phenomenal ability to catch even the most trivial "mole-hill" of a grammar mistake and make a mountain out of it.)

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Postby Brazilian dude » Thu Nov 10, 2005 7:18 am

No, I don't!

It is a lexical orphan and an oddity that does not lend itself to further derivation.

As mentioned above, whippersnappery seems to be the domain of the young:


:wink:

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Postby gailr » Thu Nov 10, 2005 8:23 pm

Enjoy your whippersnapperhood while you can, dude.

One day you're on the bleeding edge of pop culture; the next all the cool kids are laughing behind their hands at your antiquated slang and boring, old-timer's memories...

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:20 pm

My take on «whippersnapper» is that it applies strictly to males - I can't remember ever having seen it applied to members of what once was called the «gentle sex». As for hearing it, my impression is that the term disappeared from colloquial language along with the T Ford....

Henri
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Postby Apoclima » Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:42 pm

Yes, Henry! (Hey, hello!) Whippersnapper definitely applies to (young-er) males only. I have never heard it applied to a (young) woman. And, yes, it is very old-fashioned, but one does hear it upon occasion.

What might bring it to mind would be a boy who somehow tricked you out of something with his cleverness, or made you look the fool.

It is esp. jocular in present-day speech!

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