Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ye Olde Dictionary Of Fun 2 (1959)

Back in 2010, I did a post about a 1962 Webster's Illustrated Dictionary I'd bought that had a "newly-added words" section. New words/terms added that year included conga, boloney, racism, snafu and wacky, and I very much enjoyed going through the list. So much so, in fact, that for the past eight years, whenever I've seen an old dictionary at an estate sale, garage sale, or Good Will, I've checked to see if it has a "newly-added words" section. And I kid you not, I've probably leafed through 80 dictionaries over the past eight years, and not ONE of them had such a section/feature.

Until today.

And so I present...

1959, baby.

This recent find, Websters's NEW American Dictionary, was published by "Books, Inc." in New York. The 1962 version I found eight years ago, while still edited by the same group of old white men, was published by "Publisher's Company, Inc." out of Washington D.C. Perhaps because these two dictionaries were published independently of each other in different locations, some of the "new words" in the 1959 dictionary also appear as "new words" in the 1962 one. There is, disappointingly, a lot of overlap, but there are some exceptions. For example, "astronaut" appears in the 1962 dictionary, but not the 1959 one.

Just for fun, I decided to go through this 1959 "new words" list and pick out the most amusing words. Amusing to... well, me, of course. And to take it one step further, for each word/term I've Googled it and grabbed the 14th photo that appears. (Unless the 14th photo is too weird. Then I'll take the 13th or 15th instead.)

So won't you join me on this wacky conga line of boloney?


Dictionary words are in bold
Definitions are in regular or italic text
My observations are in red.


Air Raid Warden: A civilian officer in charge of a specific area for air-raid defense.

(1959 seems a little late to be adding this one, but... carry on.)

Aussies: Slang. A name first given to Australian soldiers in World War I.

(D'aw, look at the cute little soldier!)

Back Number: a person or thing that is out of date.

("You're still wearing Poodle Skirts, Linda? You are such a back number!")

Barbiturates: In chemistry, a group of drugs used as sedatives and hypnotics.

(Are these supposed to look delicious?)

Beano: 1. A gambling game employing numbers. 2. Slang A treat or spree; a beanfest.

(Who doesn't enjoy a good beanfest?)

Big Shot: Slang. An important person.

Bobby Socks: Colloq. Ankle-short socks.

Bone Head: A dull-minded person.

Bottleneck: 1. A narrow opening. 2. A point where traffic becomes congested. 3. Any location or condition which impedes progress.

Brunch: Colloq. A meal substituted for both breakfast and lunch.

Chiclet: Trade-mark name for a candy-coated chewing gum; made from chicle.

(Google Images gave me a keyboard. Okay then.)

Chowmobile: Slang. A canteen trailer or truck used to transport and serve food to shipyard or factory workers, military personnel, or other groups.

Collage: A surrealist "picture," made up of heterogeneous fragments, as seaweed, matchbooks, etc., pasted up and arranged with related lines and daubs of color.

(Ah yes. Everyone remembers making collages in elementary school, complete with the obligatory seaweed and matchbooks.)

Congeroo: A vigorous dance; a combination of the jitterbug and the conga style of dancing.

Culottes: Literally, breeches. A garment divided like trousers but having a full skirt: worn by women.

Drag: Slang. A girl escorted to a dance or ball by a midshipman of the U.S. Naval Academy.

(Who's to say this person wouldn't want to be escorted to a Naval Academy dance or ball?)

Filmstress: A motion picture actress.

(If words can catch on I guess you could say this one caught off.)

Fluff: Slang. A slip of the script or of the tongue in a radio broadcast.

MatildaAustral. Colloq. A hobo's affectionate name for his bundle of possessions.

(So a waltzing Matilda was a... oh, never mind.)

Mugger: Slang. A hoodlum or gangster who robs a victim while confining him in a stranglehold; usually in darkened, quiet city streets.

Parapooch: Colloq. A dog trained to be dropped from an airplane by parachute. 

(But but but WHY?)

Phooey: An expression of contempt.

Samba: A ballroom dance of Brazilian origin, danced by couples in a two-four step pattern with an accented musical accompaniment.

Save Face: To act so as to avoid humiliation or disgrace.

Smorgasbord: A Swedish buffet meal consisting of an abundance of foods.

(Life before brunches and smorgasbords must have been brutal.)

Teenster: Also, teenager.

(I'm strongly reminded of this for some reason.)

Tutu: The classical "powder puff" skirt of the ballet dancer.

P.S. New Words added to Webster's in 2018 include:

Airplane mode
Force quit

If someone comes across this blog in 2077 and wants to make fun of these words, PLEASE DO IT.)


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