falutin'

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passionandparadox
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falutin'

Postby passionandparadox » Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:40 pm

It seems like everyone knows what it means; it even shows up in Samuel Moore's English English translation of The Communist Manifesto:

"[...] in ordinary life, despite their high falutin' phrases, they stoop to pick up the golden apples dropped from the tree of industry, and to barter truth, love, and honor, for traffic in wool, beetroot-sugar, and potato spirits."

But the etymology is elusive... maybe I just don't see the obvious origin?

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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:01 pm

I've never seen falutin used on its own. Is it possible that something is low falutin, for example? :)

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Postby passionandparadox » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:11 pm

Actually, yeah! I found a few people using "low-falutin", and even "medium-falutin". It does appear by itself, very rarely, and seems to retain the connotation of "high-falutin".

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tcward
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Postby tcward » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:13 pm

It's always missing the 'g' on the end, as well...

Here's what Etymonline.com has to say about it:

high-falutin'
1848, U.S. slang, possibly from high-flying, or flown, or even flute.


-Tim

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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:19 pm

I didn't know there was a g there. That would mean that there is the verb falute. Does such a verb exist? :shock: This forum never ceases to amaze me.

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Postby passionandparadox » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:33 pm

I just checked etymonline earlier and didn't see any results, I must have mistyped something... Thanks Tim!

It looks like "falute" is used rarely... what's interesting is the context: "falute too highly", "falute about myself", "...polite to falute in the first place", "something to falute towards". They seem to use both possible origins ("flying" and "fluting").

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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:35 pm

That's some beautiful information. Thanks for coming out and sharing with us.

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Postby Stargzer » Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:05 am

A Baltimore native son strikes again:

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

highfalutin

SYLLABICATION: high·fa·lu·tin
PRONUNCIATION: hī ' fə-lōōt ' n
VARIANT FORMS: or hi·fa·lu·tin also high·fa·lu·ting (-lōōt'n, -lōōt'ĭng)
ADJECTIVE: Informal Pompous or pretentious: “highfalutin reasons for denying direct federal assistance to the unemployed” (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.).
ETYMOLOGY: Origin unknown.
REGIONAL NOTE: H.L. Mencken, in his famous book The American Language, mentions highfalutin as an example of the many native U.S. words coined during the 19th-century period of vigorous growth. Although highfalutin is characteristic of American folk speech, it is not a true regionalism because it has always occurred in all regions of the country, with its use and popularity spurred by its appearance in print. The origin of highfalutin, like that of many folk expressions, is obscure. It has been suggested that the second element, –falutin, comes from the verb flute—hence high-fluting, a comical indictment of people who think too highly of themselves.
Regards//Larry

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Postby gailr » Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:49 pm

Intrigued by the possibilities of low falutin' I found this: The Falutin' Index
-gailr

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Postby passionandparadox » Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:55 pm

Amazing. My friend tells me she heard another etymology once, but can't remember. "Flying" and "flute" still sound questionable to me, but it's better than nothing. There's more weirdness here than I was expecting to stumble across...


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