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MALARKEY

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MALARKEY

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:12 pm

• malarkey •


Pronunciation: mê-lahr-kee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: Balderdash, blather, bunkum, claptrap, codswallop, crap, drivel, fiddle-faddle, flapdoodle, garbage, hogwash, hooey, hokum, horse feathers, horse pucky, humbug, nonsense, piffle, poppycock, rubbish, tommy-rot, or common, everyday whang-doodle.

Notes: This word dropped into English in the 1920s seemingly out of nowhere (see Word History). It is a lexical orphan, which means it has no derivational relatives, but there is one caveat worth mentioning: don't forget to insert the E before the Y at the end of this playful word.

In Play: We have bags of candidates for malarkey: "Flying saucers! Every story I've heard about them is pure malarkey." We find many such candidates around the office, for example: "Why didn't you show up for work yesterday? And don't give me all that malarkey about going to your grandfather's funeral; you used that one three times already this year."

Word History: Where this word came from is anyone's guess. There is an Irish family name, Malarkey, but no reason attaches the meaning of today's Good Word to this name. It has been suggested that it might be a borrowing from Modern Greek, where malakos means "soft". The R has been occasionally omitted in malarkey. But this word seems hardly the vocabulary of someone versed in the classical languages. It first appeared in print in 1924, in the Indiana, Pennsylvania Evening Gazette (12 March 13/1): "The rest of the chatter is so much malarkey, according to a tip so straight that it can be passed thru a peashooter without touching the sides." This is all we know. (I would like to thank our editors, Paul Ogden, Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, and Mary Jane Stoneburg for their stalwart job of editing the Good Words every day. All remaining errors are solely my responsibility. And that's no malarkey.)
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby Slava » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:28 pm

One of the very earliest of the GWotDs. Here's it's original post, with a link to a second post, from way back when we could still look up previous posts.

I suspect its resurrection is due to the Vice-Presidential debate this week, when Joe Biden decried Paul Ryan's statements as malarkey.
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:11 pm

I associate the word with Colonel Potter of MASH, who often used it along with "bull hockey." which reminds me, why is Colonel a homophone for kernel, instead of being pronounced co-lo-nel?
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby Slava » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:04 pm

Didn't Colonel Potter say "horse hockey"?

As to the pronunciation, here's the Dr.'s take:

http://www.alphadictionary.com/goodword/word/colonel
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:06 pm

Thanks, Slava. I think you're right about the horse. Looks like the French are the culprits again.

BTW, how are you able to retrieve all these words when the search engine comes up blank? You got a secret password?
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby Slava » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:25 pm

No secret password required. Just go to the homepage, www.alphadictionary.com. On the left side you'll see Good Word. It has a pop-over menu. Go to Good Word Dictionary. You can then look words up alphabetically.

Sadly, this doesn't help if you want to find out if a word has been suggested previously. It only records which ones have been done. Any comments that might be found on the Agora are quite difficult to come by.
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby misterdoe » Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:00 am

I used to work with a guy named Malarkey. Ditto a supervisor named Debree, and a manager named D. Treash from the US Midwest, who actually pronounced it "traish." :o
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:11 pm

I know of a family named Fuchs, heaven knows how they
pronounce it. And other than extreme loyalty to ancestry,
why they keep it.
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:17 pm

There is a Fuqua family locally that pronounces the first syllable to rhyme with few, and the second with a long a. I've been told the same is true of Fuchs and that it means fox. Nev tried to verify it.
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby Slava » Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:36 pm

I've always understood Fuchs as being pronounced Fewks.
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:40 pm

You're probably right. Had no idea it was as widespread
as it seems to be with your comments.
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:17 am

I agree with Slava about the pronunciation of Fuchs. The word is German for the English word fox. When in middle school, I had an English teacher named Fuchs and she was some fox. She pronounced her name Fox.
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:48 am

Piggybacking on my above comment. Pronouncing it
as Fox is interesting: had no idea the name was so
widespread.
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:36 pm

Klaus Fuchs was the notorious spy who worked on the Manhattan Project. I had a neighbor who worked with him. This was, of course, the reason my English teacher, Miss Fuchs, pronounced here name Fox. What did you think her reason was?

There are 12707 people named Fuchs in the USA. This ranks Fuchs as the 2612th most frequently used family name in America. So, in American the Fuchs are few and far between. It would be interesting to know how many people have changed their name from Fuchs to Fox, but I don’t think that information is available.
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Re: MALARKEY

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:26 pm

I've known many folks named fox. Had many kids in
classes with that surname.
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