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Have you ever noticed how we tend to use certain words when
we either don't know the proper name for something or we simply forget what to
call it? I don't know about other languages, but the English language is full
of such words, for example:
* Thingee - this is an expression typically used either by
young children or older people too reserved to curse. People using this word
typically point at the object of their attention when saying "thingee," both
young and old.
* Thingamajig - is an old expression you still hear every
now and then. It's normally used to ask for something; e.g., "Can you hand
me that thingamajig?"
* Thingamabob - an even older variation.
* Whatchamacallit - I find this is used more in regards to
a person's title or profession; e.g., "Joe is a professional
whatchamacallit." (I always wondered what P.W. stood for).
* Whatsajig - I think this is a southern variance of
* Schravits - this is an unusual one. I first heard this
from a friend of mine from the Midwest who primarily uses it to describe a
tool or instrument; e.g., "Hand me the schravits will you?"
* Doohickie - although this can be applied to just about
anything, it is more commonly used in connection with a blemish or insect
bite; e.g., "Boy, that's an ugly doohickie you have on your arm there."
These are words that have existed for many years and I
think we're all guilty of using them now and then. This usually comes about
when we are tired or lazy and don't want to engage the brain. You also see it
when we're too preoccupied with something else and don't want to waste time
searching for the correct expression.
My father would use such words for years, particularly at
the dinner table, where he would ask for this or that. As he got older though,
I noticed he stopped trying to ask for anything verbally and, instead, would
just point at it with his finger, which we would instinctively know what he
wanted, almost telepathically. It was quite amusing to watch, a bit rude, but
amusing nonetheless. There's a word that describes this phenomenon, I believe
it's called a .....
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Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of
M. Bryce &
Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of
experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-12-30 19:31:30 in Personal Articles