top ten lists
advertisement
ask the editors
advertisement
advertisement

April 20, 2014

Word of the Day

  • cockamamy
  • audio pronunciation
  • \kah-kuh-MAY-mee\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: ridiculous, incredible

  • EXAMPLE

Ted missed the meeting again, phoning the receptionist with some cockamamy excuse.

"Colin Farrell is good in this time-traveling romance, but it's tastefully cockamamie and increasingly gloppy." — From a movie listing in The Hartford Courant (Connecticut), February 20, 2014

  • DID YOU KNOW?

By the look and sound of it, "cockamamy" (also spelled "cockamamie") seems like an arbitrarily coined nonsense word—but a reasonable explanation for its origin exists. Supposedly, "cockamamy" is an altered form of the term "decalcomania," which denotes a process of transferring pictures and designs from specially prepared paper to surfaces such as glass or porcelain. The word "decalcomania" comes from the combination of French "décalquer," meaning "to copy by tracing," and "-manie," meaning "mania." In the 1940s, painted strips of paper with images capable of being transferred to the skin were called "decals" or "cockamanies." They were naturally regarded by many as silly novelties. Hence, in time, the variant "cockamamie" came to be used as an adjective meaning "ridiculous."

  • SHARE THIS WORD OF THE DAY
facebook twitter digg myspace email
  • PODCAST

Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP

  • SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe to the Word of the Day e-mail

Manage Your Account

  • ARCHIVES

Visit the Word of the Day Archives