• daffydowndilly •
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: (Slang) The yellow daffodil, a bulb flower that looks like a trumpet with a bonnet that grows wild all over Europe and North America, at least.
Notes: Daffydowndillies are one of the first flowers of spring. It is now time to separate the bulbs so that they will spread farther next year. This word, which is generally just spoken, has been spelled many different ways: daffodowndilly, daffadowndilly, daffadoondilly, and daffedowndilly—to mention only the top four contenders.
In Play: If daffodil isn't daffy enough for you, today's Good Word is a variation of that word that should satisfy the heartiest cravings for silliness: "Oh, mother, have you seen the daffadowndillies? They are all over the place!" I can't imagine a serious situation in which anyone would use this word. As in the example above, we would have to be in an exalted state of silliness to utter it: "Look what I found at market today: daffydowndillies!"
Word History: This type of word is known as a "sandwich word" in linguistics, because it wraps one word around another. Daffodil is split in two and down (or doon), has been sandwiched between the resulting parts: daffo-down-dil, After a final touchup by way of folk etymology, we get today's Good Word, a word with three recognizable words in it: daffy, down, and dilly. Sandwich words are usually naughty: Mononga-freakin-hela, abso-freekin-lutely (use your imagination). So, why daffodil? Well, someone noticed that daff was contained in daffodil and, since daffodils are harbingers of spring which make many of us a little daffy—and the daffodil is a dilly of a flower come spring—it magically became the likeliest candidate for custom sandwiching.
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