Podcast high-falutin'

Printable Version
Pronunciation: hai-fê-lut-ên Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: (Regional slang) 1. Highly pompous, bombastic (speech). 2. Showing off, ostentatious, pretending to be above one's station in life, putting on airs.

Notes: The amazing thing about high-falutin' it is that is not a high-falutin' word itself for it is usually pronounced with a colloquial twang. However, it has survived long enough to be treated as a legitimate word that may be pronounced standardly, high-faluting, if it makes you feel better. It may be used as an adverb with or without any doctoring: "Benny can talk as high-falutin' as any of them.

In Play: This word is not only slang but slang used predominately in the southern US states: "Lana Georgia thinks that using high-falutin' words will convince people that she is a high-class lady." Although most commonly associated with speech, today's Good Word is at home in many other contexts: "Cindy Mae Lovett hasn't talked to any of her old friends since she started waitressing in that high-falutin' restaurant on Nob Hill."

Word History: Today's Good Word is ostensibly made up of the adjective high + the participle of the verb falute. The problem with this explanation is that there is no verb falute "put on airs". We see this as an opportunity rather than an obstacle: "Aly Katz falutes like a millionaire philosophy professor when she goes out with men." It probably started out as a blend of "fly" and "salute", but that is pure speculation at this point. These two words have no obvious relation to each other or falutin'. (Now let's thank Kyle McDonald of RPI for suggesting today's low-falutin' Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!