Friday, September 13, 2013

Words Are All We Have

A few days ago our oldest son came in from his baseball game – the over forty league. It’s the end of the season for them and he’d given it his all. Just before everyone sat down to the nice spaghetti dinner I’d prepared he regaled us with his performance. In past games he’d had some trouble with his shoulder as he’s the pitcher for the team. When I asked him how his arm was he said, “It’s fine. I was hum-chucking it in there!”

Hum-chucking is an extreme form of to chuck meaning fling or throw with gusto and I think it’s a word he and his friends made up in high school. Okay, I made up that meaning, too, but when it’s used we all know what he’s talking about.

This makes me think of other made up words and quite often there are only a few who know what they mean. I’ll wager your family or circle of friends uses words like . . . oh, let me see.

Mustgos. This is one of my favorites. My friend, Terry, uses it to describe anything leftover in her fridge that absolutely must go. It needs to be eaten that hour because microbes are eyeing that bit of lasagna and the half bowl of her excellent corn chowder. Occasionally her hubby will roll his eyes when the subject comes up.

Jumbut. My mother-in-law used this term when she wanted to disguise what was in the supper pot. In similar fashion to mustgos it aptly describes the meal. A bit of kielbasa here, a slice of baked potato there and maybe a half cup of corn. All fried up in a little butter and guess what? It was usually delicious.

GBA’s. Sometimes an acronym is used when a well known ailment is being discussed. “What’s the matter, Hon? You’re all seized up,” I say.

“Same old thing,” he says. “I've got the GBA’s”  That’s our family code for general body aches and it usually involves a couple of aspirin and a hot shower to remedy. It’s not an official diagnosis but it’s not too serious either. You've probably suffered from them yourself.

Then there’s the whole dictionary of creative cussing. The consummate user of this language form is none other than Yosemite Sam, he of cartoon fame. Bugs Bunny comes close (heh, heh, what a Maroon), but Sam is my favorite. When he got worked up, like every 30 seconds, he’d whip out words and phrases like, “Ya hammerhead halibut!” or “No good bushwhackin' barracuda!” I love Sam.

My dad came close to Sam’s creativeness once. He was a man of hot temper and we kids (all nine of us) had all kinds of ways to bring out the creative cussing side of dad. Mind you, no foul language was tolerated by my mother, so dad had to pull from the depths of his being to come up with words to convey his fury.

I was the offender who had trespassed in a particularly offensive way (I can’t remember what, only his response). He looked at me, red face inches from mine, and I could see his wheels cranking right there in his bloodshot eyeballs. After about twenty seconds of inner battle he finally exploded in my face, “Consarn ya!”

Yosemite Sam would have been proud. How about in your inner circles? Any word inventions you’d care to share? Dagnabbit, I know you’ve got some. Think hard now.

Image: Stuart Miles                                                                  Free Digital Images


  1. Hi Sue,

    First, I love your blog. It brings back many great memories of made up words. My grandpa was the Yosemite Sam of our house, or like the dad in "A Christmas Story". Up from the basement where my grandpa hit his head on the very same low beam just about once a week, came the latest made up cussing. My favorite of his creative cussing, was "cobnobber". To this day we still use it, as the tradition of banging your head on the low beam seems to have passed on to dad.
    The word that I use most that I made up is "Sandy" (sandwich). Such as; "honey, would you like an egg sandy?" It seems to spread like wild fire in our house. And even made it into one of dad's sermons. :)

    Dawn Keeler

    1. Dawn, I'm laughing out loud at "cobnobber!" And I can soooo see your dad carrying on the fine tradition of using the word when necessary. Thanks so much for your comments. Love it!

  2. I bin athinkin but can't come up with words right now. I do remember some "family" phrases though. Marion

  3. Huge Yosemite Sam fans at this house! One of my favorite lines is, "I'm a Hessian without no aggression," after he's been beaten again by The Bunny.

    :D Laffing...such classic stuff. Thanks for making me think of him today.

  4. Unfortunately, I wasn't so clever in creating words for cussing, but I enjoyed reading about others. The most . I remember I'd use an Italian phrase (that wasn't too, too bad). Guess I felt if I said it in a different language, it wouldn't count. :o)

    1. LOL I know a few Swedish humdingers, too. Although the older I get the more that fades!