bumbershoot was our Word of the Day on 10/16/2011. Hear the podcast!
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Did You Know?
Umbrellas have plenty of nicknames. In Britain, "brolly" is a popular alternative to the more staid "umbrella." Sarah Gamp, a fictional nurse who toted a particularly large umbrella in Charles Dickens’s novel Martin Chuzzlewit, has inspired some English speakers to dub oversize versions "gamps." "Bumbershoot" is a predominantly American nickname, one that has been recorded as a whimsical, slightly irreverent handle for umbrellas since the late 1890s. As with most slang terms, the origins of "bumbershoot" are a bit foggy, but it appears that the "bumber" is a modification of the "umbr-" in "umbrella" and the "shoot" is an alteration of the "-chute" in "parachute" (since an open parachute looks a little like an umbrella).
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