Word of the Day : August 20, 2011


noun ker-FUFF-ul


: disturbance, fuss


Predictably, the royal scandal caused quite a kerfuffle on Fleet Street.

"If the kerfuffle over last week's Point Taken blog pointed out anything, it's that there is still a large amount of discord between automobile drivers and bicyclists." -- From an editorial in the Louisville (Kentucky) Courier-Journal, July 4, 2011

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 mid-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.

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