coulrophobia

Pronounced: kool-ruh-FOE-bee-uh, noun

Notes: You may know this phobia (especially if you have it)


Yesterday’s word

The word kickshaw means

  • a tidbit of delicacy, especially one served as an appetizer; hors d’oeuvre
  • something showy but without value; a trinket; a trifle
First usage

Our word came back into English in the late 1500s

Background / Comments

At least with this word, one can see how the definition evolved (I’m assuming that the first definition above was the earlier definition). An hors d’oeuvre is usually showy and, while it may be tasty, it isn’t necessary to eating. Thus, the second definition came about as just something that is showy. Our word started as the French phrase quelque chose, pronounced ‘kell-kuh show-suh” and meaning ‘something’. When it was brought into English the ‘l’ was dropped – if you say it without the ‘l’, it sounds like kickshaws or kickshoes. English speaking people who were ignorant of the French origin thought that kickshaws was the plural form and created kickshaw as the singular.

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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