Saturday, February 25, 2017

WORD PLAY: Trying not to miss the pun farts


HALLIE EPHRON: I love words. What fun to mess around with them, making up new words and transposing sounds to amuse myself.

In today’s paper, a piece about Leslie Jones performing in Boston: “We also learned that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is a big fan of Jones. Hizzoner tweeted at the Ghostbusters actress on Friday to invite her to lunch.”

Took me a few blinks to process: Hizzoner? Turns out I’m way out of the loop. It’s a corruption of His Honor, of course. Merriam-Webster traces it back to 1882.


Here are some of my favorite word corruptions, many of which run rampant in my family, brought to us by baby-talking parents and babies learning to talk.



Attacking it in one swell foop

Stop being such a gilly soose

Marauding runny babbits

Catterpiggles before they turn into flutterbies

Try not to miss the pun fart

Act like a jibbertyflibbit

Indulge in belly jeans

Explain to the ossifer that I wasnt speeding

So mixed up I got it bass ackwards

Wearing a Thunderbra under my flaid plannel shirt

Where are my flop flips

Soap for the wishdawsher

Getting it done, dick and quirty.

Quit yer picknitting.

Tighten the nug luts

Freshen your stiplick

And then there are the words we like to mispronounce on porpoise…

Sharpen the skizzers

Eat your pisghetti

Load the hiccup truck

Take a ride in an upticopter

Put the milk in the fridgedator.

And every October 31 my husband wishes me a Hallie Happoween.

Please, share your favorite corruptions of the English language.
(And thanks to Edward Lear for the inspired nonsense of his drawings.) 

To our readers: We're testing out a change -- today's and tomorrow's blog will have 'anonymous' comments disabled. If this affects you and you have trouble creating an ID for yourself that enables you to comment, PLEASE EMAIL ME (Hallie "at" HallieEphron Dot Com)! I'll walk you through (all you need is a GMAIL account). Even more important we want to be sure this change doesn't stifle the conversation.  WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

62 comments:

  1. What a fun post!
    A long-standing favorite in our family is “getting your merds wixed” [instead of words mixed] . . . .

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  2. Many of those are simple Spoonerisms. Another lifetime ago my grandfather taught me this little story about a nervous church usher: "Ardon me, Padam, but your pie is occupewed. May I sew you to another sheet or would you like a chew in the back of the perch?" A friend of mine actually studies those at MIT as part of her brain and language research!

    I love hanging onto the creative phrases our kids come up with when they are acquiring the language. "Furnichair" pretty much covers it. The "back yarden" does, too. One used to like going on "picmics." Fun stuff.

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    1. love your grandfather's story!

      Wonder if punny words can also be Freudian slips? I recall someone referred to a ski lift as "scare lift", which was a slip because that person was scared of going on the ski lift!

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  3. Joan, love it! It's so... meta.
    Edith, love your grandfather's story!

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  4. Can't see the florist thru the fleas.Just muff your word slayings.Geez and I fought everyone spoke this way.

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  5. Oh my - my paternal grandfather used many of those and they've stuck with me for years. I say "ossifer" all the time - except when talking to an actual police officer of course, Don't want to have them think I'm under the influence. LOL

    Edith, that is a great story.

    Hallie - comments. I wish I could figure out how to comment with my WordPress account, which is my pen name (Liz Milliron). Maybe I should just take the low-tech approach and sign the comment! LOL

    Mary (aka Liz Milliron)

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  6. Mary (Liz!) if you click the drop-down arrow to the right of your name in the "Comment As" block beneath the comment box, WordPress comes up as an option. Did you try clicking on it? (You might have to SIGN OUT as Mary Sutton first)

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  7. I wrote a perfectly marvelous comment and lost the thing in my efforts to locate my google account, which I never use.

    Rebelling against hated change, I am off to eat cop porn and read The Sale of Two Titties.

    BTW, Finta was an old screen name I used to play bridge on line decades ago.

    Love, The Reader Who Used to be Known as Ann in Rochester

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    1. A Rose by any other name...
      Yep, you'll always be Ann to us!

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  8. WE LOVE YOU ANN! I'm going to have to remember you're our beloved Ann in Rochester... Thanks for bearing with us.

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    1. BTW, I'm reading GOOD TIGHT SLEEP NIGHT.

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    2. That's when you've one too many before falling asleep.

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  9. I always call it a cloh shamper.
    And a Po tholder
    And I always think misled is mizled.
    There are more of these, I know! But I'm laughing too hard to think of them.


    Ann ! Okay -- We'll handle the metamorphosis!

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  10. Fun post!

    I can't think of any at the moment, of course, but my husband does this all the time. However, my oldest daughter's husband's family has summered at Torch Lake in Northern Michigan for nearly 80 years. When she'd been going up there with them for a few years she invited her two much younger sisters to go with them for a week.

    While they're up there they have their rituals, as one does with a favorite place, including going to certain nearby towns with ice cream or fish places. At one point my middle daughter, then about 15, asked "What is El Crapids?"

    Elk Rapids. Where the best ice cream place is.

    We still refer to it as El Crapids, 17 years later.

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    1. That reminded me, a local nursing home was quarantined because of scabies. My niece went on and on, it wasn't fair to lock everyone in like that because of a couple of ESCAPEES. Poor girl. We laughed so hard.

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    2. Sounds like Roseanna Roseannadanna. ;-)

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  11. I like to call my favorite brand of olive oil "Philip O'Berio", instead of Filippo Berio. Hey, it tastes the same.(My cell phone keeps trying to change the name to Filipino.)

    As a youngster I used to look forward to the coming of the Gajoomer Man each summer, AKA the Good Humor Man.

    Deb Romano

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  12. Like The guy who makes outside furniture… Paddy O'Furniture.

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  13. And in homage to Lucille Ball: You got some splainin to do

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  14. My very young daughter once came up to me all excited and said, "Remember yestermorrow when we went to the toy store?" That's my favorite ~

    These plays on words have made me think of wonderful children's books that have fun with words -- Fox in Sox by Dr. Seuss and Silly Sally by Audrey & Don Wood and of course Shel Silverstein ~

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  15. Reminding me, when they were living in NY in the '20s my parents said they used to refer to the people who lived in the apartment upstairs as the Upstairsikkas and the folks who lived below them as the Downstairsikkas. I always assumed it was an amalgam of English and Yiddish.

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    Replies
    1. like the PBS show Upstairs, Downstairs? that's punny!

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  16. I had an Aunt Teena, who was a slightly built person. Some of my cousins called her Aunt Teeny.

    Deb Romano

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  17. My dad did spoonerisms constantly. And we always talk about the pun gene in our family. They once took off and punned about family tree for at least half an hour. "I'm going to branch out on this subject." "I'd just as soon leaf you didn't." πŸ˜‰

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  18. I have a friend, Mary Richardson, whose five-year-old daughter asked if they were going to see Cinderella when they went shopping.
    Mary said: what, honey? Why would we see Cinderella?
    And her daughter said, very seriously, "because she's the fairest of the mall."

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    1. that reminds me. when a relative was about two years old, we had a major earthquake in CA - the 1989 earthquake in SF Bay Area. Only available transportation across the Bay was the ferry. The two year old said that she wanted to take the fairy across the Bay to San Francisco. She meant to say Ferry, though she said Fairy :-) xoxo

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  19. El Crapids hilarious! One of my photographers, Jack, used to go to Miami for vacation. Sometimes he took his little daughter, and he would always talk about how much fun it was going to be in Miami, and what they would do in Miami and etc.
    And one day his daughter said "dad, when we get to your ammy, can we go to the beach?

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  20. My husband is a punster of great acclaim. I'm known for my corruption of aphorisms like "that's a whole other kettle of monkeys" or "it's not rocket surgery." I'm also a fan of inserting curses into words like unbe-effing-lievable (sanitized for Jungle Red readers).

    My most favorite is not in this class but similar to the El Crapids. In between here and Rehobath, DE is a section of MD called Kent Narrows. True to it's name the road narrows from four lanes to two and on Sundays when people return home there's always a traffic jam.

    In my senior year of high school were driving home from a friend's family's beach house where we'd spent a long weekend. With us was a guy the driver was dating. He'd never been on the trip with us. He never came back as she broke up with him shortly after this trip.

    As we reached the beginning of the backup there was one of those flashing road signs that let's you know what's the what ('Deer rut in progress, use caution' or 'Road flooded standing water' kind of stuff) and the sign read Kent Narrows Back Up. Now, this was not a surprise because we knew that Kent Narrows, MD was the ongoing traffic issue.

    The guy asked, "Who's Kent Narrows and why do they want him to back up?" Dead serious. He thought they somehow knew a guy named Kent Narrows was in the traffic jam and had put up a sign telling him, and only him, to back his car up.

    My friend and I cried we laughed so hard. For the entirety of the traffic jam. One of us would repeat quietly in the front seat so he couldn't hear us, "Who's Kent Narrows and why do they want him to back up?" Thinking about it now almost 30 years later still makes me laugh to the point that I'm crying.

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  21. Character name for my next book: Kent Narrows. Only a few people will get the joke but that's ok.

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    1. great idea! Love the story! Hilarious!

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    2. If you also make sure someone tells him, using his full name, to 'back up' at some point that'll make it even better. 😊

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  22. My parents had a friend who was the original Mrs. Malaprop. She talked about "rusty wooden fences" and said her car was "verving" down the street.

    Hank! As a child, I always thought "misled" was pronounced "mizled." I've always prided myself on my vocabulary, and I was upset to learn my mistake.

    We have a few words we say as our boys mispronounced them as toddlers--sp'boon for spoon, etc.

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  23. I had to activate a gmail I don't use. Oh well. Dad always said horsepistol for hospital. I remember missing that word on a spelling test afterwards. Bidness instead of business. Thank Dallas tv show for that one. We have a saying in our family: your ducks will come home. It is an unintentional blending of a funny family story involving ducks and your chickens will come home to roost saying. We eat roast beast in this house ever since my husband requested it at a restaurant instead of roast beef. Who knew his face could get that red? I've been guilty of trying to check a cash. I know my brain will be spewing other "imaginative wordplay" the rest of the weekend as memories pop up.

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  24. My all time favorite set of spoonerisms is the Story of Rindercella. Here is a link to that story. https://texasbluebonnetaward2015.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/rinderceller.pdf

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    1. and I forgot to mention "adorkable", my favorite type of people.

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  25. Can't stop laughing. Aren't we humans funny? And yes, a character named Kent Narrows, for the win!

    The same daughter who came up with El Crapids is also famous for another family favorite. When she was three or four she wanted to see a movie she'd seen advertised on TV. When I told her I didn't think we could go, she said, "But, Mommy, it's at Feodors everywhere!"

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  26. Feodors everywhere!!! Love it. Starring Kent Narrows.

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  27. I am enjoying reading all the children’s mispronunciations . . . our youngest daughter used to call bleu cheese salad dressing “blue trees” and one of the grandbabies used call a motorcycle a “motorcockatoo.”
    In the “that’s way too cute” category, one of the Little Ones used to say, “I carry you” whenever he wanted to someone to pick him up . . . .

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    1. Joan, that's adorable, about the blue trees.

      My grandson was obsessed with anything with wheels when he was little. They lived for nearly a year in London, when he was about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2,in a flat with a view of the trains going in and out of Victoria Station. At the time Delta was running a "Big Apple" promotion for travel between there and NYC, so the trains were painted with apples on the sides. Zak called them "apple choo-choos".

      He also called motorcycles "motocycle-lulu", and bikes "bicycle-lulu", for some reason. When I visited them there I slept in the same room with him, and he would wake up in the middle of the night and sit up in his crib just naming all his favorite wheeled objects. It was so amusing.

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    2. that reminds me. I was about 6 years old. I was flying with my family to Disneyland. We met a family at the airport. They were flying to the United Kingdom and I read "United Kingdom" as "Magic Kingdom" thinking that they were going to Disneyland too.

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  28. Ha! I just remembered that I was in graduate school before I learned that it wasn't Note of Republic, but Notary Public. Aimee, am also crying laughing about good old Kent! And Joan, my old son would hold up his arms as a toddle and ask, "Pick you up!" My mother reported that she was in high school before she realized the "Open Sesame" she had read in the book was not pronounced "SEE-same."

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  29. Hallie, thank you. I love "Hallie Halloween". That is punny :-) I am so glad I got a google account several weeks ago. I find it easier to comment with a google account. And there were several Anon comments and it was too easy to confuse who was who!

    I can think of several punny words. My grandmother was so clever with punny words. And one of my cousins got our grandmother's knack for the punny. She referred to a hotel chain as "Horrid Johnson" and I thought that was hilarious! One of my favorite passages was from Lord Peter Wimsey's Death in Adversiting (sp?) where he used punny words for different print ads. I cannot remember the specifics.

    Did you know that there are also punny words in Sign Language, which loses meaning in English translation?

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    1. That does not surprise me! Sign Language is rich.

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    2. Bib-li-o-phile; I had no idea there were puns in Sign Language!

      Deb Romano

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    3. Hallie and Deborah, perhaps there are sign language punny words on youtube?

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  30. CARRY YOU! Eli would say when he wanted to be picked up. Because we had always asked: Want me to carry you? So, "carry you" was a thing.

    How can there be puns in sign language? I am fascinated. Can you try to explain?

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  31. My punster heart is giddy with this post. Unfortunately, I am in the middle of the desert with very spotty cell service - seriously, I'm at the Arizona Renaissance Festival in line for the privy, thinking we really need to bring the word privy back to the mainstream but keep the toilets indoors. Huzzah!

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  32. YES! Here's a youtube video with sign language plays on "words"... FUN!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkJNKEOOdCk

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  33. I was at a quilt retreat at a convent in Maine years ago. There was a fault in the fire alarm system and we all had to evacuate to the screened porch. One of the nuns recited Prinderella and the Cince to entertain us. It was one of the funniest things I've ever heard, especially since it's not something you'd expect a nun to do. https://littleoldladywho.net/2016/03/30/prinderella-and-the-cince/

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  34. Let us not forget Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. All the words are in English, but... It begins, "Wants pawn term, dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage, honor itch offer lodge dock florist. Disk ladle gull orphan worry ladle cluck wetter putty ladle rat hut, an fur disk raisin pimple colder Ladle Rat Rotten Hut." I still giggle when I think of her going to visit her "groin murder." https://www.exploratorium.edu/exhibits/ladle/

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