• boondocks •
Pronunciation: buwn-dahks • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, plural
Meaning: The hinterlands, backwoods, outback, a wild and remote place far from civilization or urban life.
Notes: We seldom hear the singular of this word. It's used only as an attributive with other nouns, such as boondock clothing, boondock maneuvers. This word is often shortened to just boonies. The other noun derived from this word, boondockers "shoes suitable for wearing in the wild", was shortened to simply Dockers®. It is now used to refer to a brand of shoes and other clothing manufactured by Levi-Strauss & Co., a company already known for making rugged clothing suitable for the wild.
In Play: The basic meaning of today's word is a wild, remote, backwoods location: "McMurphy learned how to make moonshine living in the boondocks of North Carolina all those years." Someone from the boondocks is presumed unknowledgeable: "Don't you even know how to spell phat? Do you come from the boondocks?"
Word History: Today's Good Word originally came from Tagalog (Pilipino) bundok "mountain". It was adopted by American soldiers occupying the Philippines during World War I. Since the mountains were remote from where our soldiers were stationed, they took bundoks to mean "wild remote place". The word was reinforced during the occupation of the Philippines in World War II. It is now firmly ensconced in all our vocabularies. (Charley Lowman must not have been raised in the boondocks or he would not have been able to submit such a fascinating Good Word as today's.)