Dim And Dimmer

Two uncommon words walk into a bar, arguing about whether they are homonyms, or homophones.  No-one greets them by name, like Norm, on “Cheers,” because no-one recognises them.

In most cases of homonyms, people know one or both of the odd couple.  Everyone knows both wait, and weight.  Most are familiar with meet and meat, but mete might be a stranger.  I recently ran into a pair of homophones that only word-nerds like me don’t need to be introduced to.  Ladies and gentlemen – let’s have a big hand for the comedy duo of

FAIN AND FEIGN

FAIN: adverb – gladly, willingly – adjective – willing, glad, pleased, eager
FEIGN: imitate deceptively, make believe, pretend, put on an appearance of

Rather than argue about whether to call themselves homonyms, or homophones, they might better try to find another term to describe themselves.  Far too many ‘Good Christians’ in the Bible Belt of the southern United States, particularly in Arkansas and Texas, get far too upset, ‘and don’t cotton to none of that there HOMO-anything!’

A not-out gay comedian was doing a tour of small cities in West Texas.  Perhaps looking for a bit of one-night companionship, he engaged the waitress in a greasy-spoon diner, about the presence of local gay culture – clubs, favored restaurants, etc.  She quickly and firmly informed him, “They ain’t no homosexuals in Texas.  Not live ones, anyways.”

I would fain believe her, and I do not have to feign my distress.

The largest group of homonyms heteronyms includes AIR, ERR, E’ER, ERE, HEIR, AYR, AYRE, AYER and perhaps a Canadian EHer.  I’ll be back in a couple of days.  Be sure to join me, eh.  😉   😆

WOW #2

katzenjammer

The Word Of the Week is;

Katzenjammer

Dictionary.Com’s word-of-the-day is often archaic, unusual or foreign – typical click-bait. I was, but yet I wasn’t, surprised to find this one.  It was in the middle of; crambo, laterigrade, rectitude, and igneous, not easy, or interesting, words to write about.

Definitions for katzenjammer

  1. uneasiness; anguish; distress.
  2. the discomfort and illness experienced as the after-effects of excessive drinking; hangover.
  3. uproar; clamor: His speech produced a public katzenjammer.

Origin of katzenjammer 1845 – 1855
Katzenjammer is a borrowing from German, in which the obvious, literal sense of the word (“wailing of cats”) does not apply and instead has the meaning “hangover.” The word entered English in the mid-19th century. The additional senses of katzenjammer date from the late 19th century.

When I was quite young, there was a newspaper comic strip entitled ‘The Katzenjammer Kids.’ Click to see the Wiki article about it.  After the Second World War, with still some resentment against Germans, it became ‘The Captain and the Kids.’

Perhaps it wasn’t clichéd for its time, but its formula of an inept adult male, often made fool of by two rowdy boys, was followed by ‘Our Boarding House’ as a comic strip, and on into radio, and later, TV shows.

This has reminded me of something else I used to read as a child, in the Saturday Evening Post. Occasionally, they would print short poems called Rhymes Mein Grosfader Made (Rhymes My Grandfather Made), composed in heavy Germanic accent, and making fun of Fairy Tales.

Be sure to stop by for the next WOW, to see if I select an English word.  😀