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PIFFLE

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PIFFLE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri May 04, 2012 10:42 pm

• piffle •

Pronunciation: pif-êl • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, Verb

Meaning: (Colloquial) 1. (Noun) Rubbish, garbage, malarkey, hot air, trash, tosh, bilge, drivel, twaddle, tripe, guff, hogwash, hokum, bunkum, codswallop, poppycock, balderdash, bosh, hooey, tommyrot, horse feathers, bull's wool. 2. To act or speak feebly, or in a trivial and inept way, to pussy-foot, to dither or fiddle, as to piffle away a promising career or piffle with someone's affections.

Notes: Today's Good Word is a colloquial one, which means that you may use it safely in conversation but not in a scholarly publication. It comes with a participle-adjective, piffling, which means "trivial, superficial." Someone who is prone to piffle is a piffler. Pifflicated, now rarely used and rightly so, would seem to be unrelated, for it means "tipsy, slightly drunk", a state in which a person is more likely to speak piffle.

In Play: Sentences like this are perfectly acceptable in casual conversation: "I am so tired of the piffle on US television these days, especially since the presidential campaign started." The same is true of the verb: "Lawrence piffled away his inheritance on wine, women, and riotous living."

Word History: We don't know exactly where this word came from: "of unknown origin", as smart lexicographers say. But what other lexicographers say has never dampened my eagerness to speculate. It has been suggested that this word is a blend of trifle and piddle. I favor this explanation. Others have surmised it to be an onomatopoeic attempt to capture the puff of air we often emit when we are incredulous plus the diminutive suffix, -le. What do you think? (I will piffle around no more but get right down to an expression of our gratitude toward Eileen Schey for her suggestion of today's far from piffling Good Word.)
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue May 08, 2012 12:19 pm

Does no one give a piffle about this word??
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby Philip Hudson » Wed May 09, 2012 12:39 am

Nobody has chimed in, so perhaps no one gives a piffle about piffle. I got no Damascus Road illumination from the word but it could be useful. Eileen Schey's contribution of the Good Word certainly was no piffle. Thank you Ellen.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed May 09, 2012 11:53 am

Reminds me of my favorite sentence about
politicians and all their piffle:
"A toady, a servile lickspittle, who curries the
favor of prominent people with obsequious
praise and flattern". AND "Politicians: bloviating
blatherskites with their tarradiddling codswallop
which they dump on us". (Especially weeks before
elections.)
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby Philip Hudson » Wed May 09, 2012 5:00 pm

Modest forum readers, don't look up the words in the dictionary that Luke quoted in his previous post. I warned you.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed May 09, 2012 6:11 pm

Yeah, I double dare you, double dog dare you!
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