Trend Watch

Argle-bargle

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that DOMA was ...


When:

Lookups spiked on June 26, 2013.

argle-bargle-supreme-court-defense-marriage-act-doma

Why:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] was unconstitutional. In his written dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia claimed that "the real rationale of today's opinion, whatever disappearing trail of its legalistic argle-bargle one chooses to follow, is that DOMA is motivated by 'bare . . . desire to harm.'"

Argle-bargle, a relatively rare and primarily British word, means "a lively argument."

Justice Scalia was giving it a negative connotation – suggesting that the "legalistic argle-bargle" of the Court majority is a labyrinthine sort of word-wrangling that doesn't clearly lead anywhere.

Argle-bargle is formed by rhyming reduplication, a process that gave us words like "super duper" and "humdrum" (both of which have also been used by Scalia in Supreme Court opinions or oral arguments).



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