Favorite Words From Foreign Languages

Goto next slide#2: Kerfuffle

Language of Origin:

Scottish Gaelic

About the Word:

Kerfuffle means "disturbance or fuss," often describing a situation that's received more attention than it deserves.

For example, Politico reported on "the still-rippling kerfuffle over Hilary Rosen's comments that Ann Romney 'hasn't worked a day in her life'..." (Reid J. Epstein, Politico, April 22, 2012)

"Fuffle" was first used in Scottish English, as early as the 16th century, as a verb meaning "to dishevel." The addition of the prefix "car-" (possibly derived from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning "wrong" or "awkward") barely changed the word's meaning. In the 19th century "carfuffle" became a noun, and in the mid-20th century it was embraced by a broader population of English speakers and standardized to "kerfuffle."

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