kerfuffle was our Word of the Day on 08/01/2016. Hear the podcast!
Examples of kerfuffle in a sentence
predictably, the royal scandal caused quite a kerfuffle on Fleet Street
Did You Know?
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") didn't change the meaning of the word considerably. In the 19th century carfuffle, with its variant curfuffle, became a noun, and in the 20th century it was embraced by a broader population of English speakers and standardized to kerfuffle. There is some dispute among language historians over how the altered spelling came to be favored. One theory holds that it might have been influenced by imitative words like kerplunk, where the syllable ker- is simply added for emphasis.
Origin and Etymology of kerfuffle
alteration of carfuffle, from Scots car- (probably from Scottish Gaelic cearr wrong, awkward) + fuffle to become disheveled
First Known Use: 1908
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