A.Word.A.Day  with Anu Garg

I remember reading this story of a family having dinner. The father drops a piece of cutlery and instinctively utters the F-word. The child soaking up the new vocabulary, repeats the word, and the parent corrects her, “No, Suzie, it’s called a ‘fork’.”

According to a new book, In Praise of Profanity by Michael Adams, swearing brings family together. Whether you swear indiscriminately, like a sailor, or only in extenuating circumstances, such as when you unintentionally bring your toe to rendezvous with a piece of furniture, Adams assures you that you don’t need to go to confession. It’s OK. In fact, it’s good for you. Profanity has benefits, in his own words, that are “personal, social, and aesthetic”.

Who knows, in the coming times, you’ll need profanity in order to vent and survive. What do you think about profanity and swearing? Send your f*ck (that is, feedback) to us at words@wordsmith.org.

Well, this week’s A.Word.A.Day features five words that sound dirty, but aren’t.

cock-up, cock up, or cockup

PRONUNCIATION:
(KOK-up) http://wordsmith.org/words/cockup.mp3

 

MEANING:
noun: 1. A complete mess; a blunder.
2. An upward turn.
verb tr.: 1. To botch.
2. To turn upward or curl.

 

ETYMOLOGY:
From English cock (to turn up or to one side), from cock (rooster). The first sense of the word is a construction parallel to “screw-up” probably influenced by the slang sense of the word cock. Earliest documented use: 1693.

 

USAGE:
“Local people will be rightly outraged … because local officials made such a monumental cockup.”
Neil Macfarlane; Call for Sackings Over Cash Bungles; Northern Echo (Darlington, UK); Mar 28, 2009.

See more usage examples of cockup in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

MY ATTEMPTED AT USAGE:  THIS COMING 4 YEARS ARE GOING TO BE ALL COCKED UP!  ~~dru~~