Pronunciation: \ˈflip-ˌfläp\
Function: noun

1 : the sound or motion of something flapping loosely
2 a : a backward handspring b : a sudden reversal (as of policy or strategy)
3 : a usually electronic device or a circuit (as in a computer) capable of assuming either of two stable states
4 : a rubber sandal loosely fastened to the foot by a thong

Words can be funny things. I’m old enough to have called these “rubber sandals loosely fastened to the foot by a thong” simply “thongs” when I was a kid. I’m not sure when the name changed to flip-flops, but I know that it only took the disbelieving look of one teenager at my declaration that I wish I could wear thongs all the time, everywhere to help me make the switch over to new terminology. When a perfectly good word takes on a new meaning, it sometimes looses it’s old meaning.

My friend Tricia was just commenting (on Facebook, of course) that the Guess brand’s new “shadow washed” jeans look an awful lot like “acid washed/stone washed/frosted” jeans. In this case, it was an old thing that needed a new word for marketing purposes. I’m glad I’m not in the fashion business which depends on constant change for survival — not change that is about “better” so much as change that is about “different.”

Then there are words that sound cool — whatever their meaning. Some of those are onomatopoetic (they sound like what they mean). “Flip-flop” might be considered onomatopoetic in some uses. Maybe all. It certainly sounds fun. I like to say it.

Some words sound fun because they just do. Words like bibliobibuli. The fact that a guy named H.L.Mencken “coined” this word (made it up) gives me great hope for some of the words I have coined. He said, “There are people who read too much: bibliobibuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing”.

Any words you think are fun? Or words you’ve made up that you’d like me to start using in my blogging and daily life to help you establish them in the collective vocabulary?

Don’t forget, this is a family show…

One thought on “flip-flop

  1. Dorothea Lander says:

    Whoa…you really shocked them with your thongs, Ruth! Hilarious. Words are fun!

    I love “infundibuliform” because it sounds like its definition (in the form of a funnel). I also like “galligaskins” because I won the dictionary guessing game on this word years ago and never forgot the image of these loose trousers from the 16th-17th century. Can’t you see those poofy gallons of cloth worn over their skin from the waist down?

    I often talk about the “humongosity” of a task from the slang word “humongous” (perhaps huge, monstrous and tremendous all rolled into one) and when we create a portable document file from another document type, we often say we are pdf’ing it. Add them to the collective vocabulary if you have not already do so! 🙂

    I think referring to what may appear to be a cooincidence, but what we know to be God’s orchestration of events as the hyphenated word “God-thing,” as in “It’s a God-thing,” will appear in Webster’s dictionary pretty soon, too. Maybe it already has!

    By the way, anyone who reads Ruth’s blog and is also my fb friend, my facebook has been hacked. After changing my password, I now cannot gain access to it at all. It was that non-existent, supposedly-funny cat video. I really hope noone is putting a bunch of bad stuff on there in my name. Just so you know… 😦

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