Pimp My Word | Episode Six

I didn’t receive any requests this week, but fortunately, I was able to reverse-engineer an episode from a discussion at work earlier this week. This week’s pimped word(s): beauty and beautiful.

An article in the paper used the word pulchritudinous, so we looked it up. Pulchritude means “Great physical beauty and appeal,” according to the American Heritage Dictionary, and pulchritudinous means “Characterized by or having great physical beauty and appeal.”

However, like some of the cars that come out of Pimp My Ride, this isn’t really better than the simpler word. Telling your wife she is beautiful might get you a smile; telling her she is pulchritudinous might get you a confused look at best, or slapped at worst.

Pulchritude comes from the “Middle English pulcritude, from Latin pulchritūdō, from pulcher, pulchr-, meaning beautiful.”

Requests for future episodes can be sent via TwitterFacebooke-mail or in the comments below.

Pimp My Word | Episode Five

I’ll keep the requester of this one anonymous, for reasons that will become obvious (it’s not anyone I work with, so rest easy, Courier-Journalists).

The requester was looking for a word to describe someone as clueless without the clueless one realizing it.

My standard toolbox for Pimp My Word, Webster’s New World Roget’s A-Z Thesaurus, didn’t have an entry for clueless. So I checked ignorant, but most of the words there were too obvious. Ignorant led me to stupid, which had some good ones (cracked, addleheaded and damn-fool among them), but still nothing that might leave the target “groping in the dark” (another suggestion from stupid). But stupid suggested the second entry for shallow, and there I struck gold: piffling.

The American Heritage Dictionary explains what it means to piffle: “To talk or act feebly or futilely.” The OED’s definition is even more fun: “To talk or behave in an ineffectual way; to talk nonsense, to witter; to dither or fiddle.”

Sounds pretty clueless to me, and obscure enough that it could just slip past an empty head.

The dictionaries say piffle’s origin is unknown, though Merriam-Webster Online suggests: “perhaps blend of piddle and trifle.” M-W and the OED date it to the mid-19th century.

Requests for future episodes can be sent via TwitterFacebooke-mail or in the comments below.

Pimp My Word | Episode Four

My friend Lindsay, who makes and sells jewelry, reports that her mustache earrings are selling like hotcakes, likely for ironic reasons. She asked me to pimp the word mustache.

I found a variety of mustache slang, but my favorite came from my Webster’s New World thesaurus: soupstrainer.

A mustache blog offered some other slang: grass grin, lip foliage, face fungus, and nose neighbor (another good one). Anyone else have any good ones? And what’s your favorite?

Mustache (or moustache if you’re a Brit) comes from the “Middle French moustache, from Old Italian mustaccio, from Middle Greek moustaki, diminutive of Greek mystak-, mystax, meaning upper lip, mustache,” according to Merriam-Webster online.

Requests for future episodes can be sent via TwitterFacebooke-mail or in the comments below.

Pimp My Word | Episode Three

So last week, Nathan threw down the gauntlet and asked me to pimp chifferobe. (His exact words: “How about chifferobe? Go ahead and pimp that, WordBoy!”) This seems like a word that is already pretty pimp, but I’m giving it my best shot.

A chifferobe, or chifforobe, is a “tall piece of furniture typically having drawers on one side and space for hanging clothes on the other,” according to the American Heritage Dictionary. The word is mainly used in the Southern United States, according to AHD. It is a combination of chiffonier (a narrow high chest of drawers or bureau, often with a mirror attached, AHD) and wardrobe.

Armoire (a large, often ornate cabinet or wardrobe, AHD) was the first word that came to mind, but I think that although it is pretty pimp, it is not as pimp as chifferobe. So I started looking around for other pieces of oddly-named bedroom storage furniture.

I came up with the bombé chest. It’s not quite the same (only drawers, no hanging space). But if you are looking for a change in your bedroom storage options, and one that lets you use a new word, this is your choice.

Bombé means “Curving or bulging outward. Used of furniture,” AHD. It is a French word that means bomb. Bombé is from “Italian bomba, probably from Latin bombus, meaning a booming sound, from Greek bombos, of imitative origin.”

BOOM, Nathan. Chifferobe has been pimped.

If anyone has any requests for future episodes, send them via TwitterFacebooke-mail or in the comments below.

Note: Chifforobe picture from Target; bombé chest picture from Bombe Chests and More.

Pimp My Word |Episode Two

Last week, I offered to take boring, beat-up old words and make them ostentatious. I have one more request to take care of. If anyone has any requests for future episodes, send them via TwitterFacebooke-mail or in the comments below.

SBP0123 asked me to pimp the word fun, saying, “I was taught that ‘fun’ was a noun, not an adjective, but more and more people use it to describe something, e.g. ‘I had a fun time.’ It gets on my nerves big time.”

While I don’t have a problem with the word fun as an adjective, if you’re looking for a pimped alternative, how about blithesome? It means cheery or merry.

Pimp My Word | Pilot episode

In yesterday’s Talk Wordy to Me birthday post, I mentioned that my “Pimp my word” post (about the origins of the word pimp) was the most-viewed on the site in its first year. This is largely because 188 people found my blog searching for either “pimp my word” or “pimp my words.” I didn’t realize there was a market out there for a service where I take a boring, beat-up old word and make it ostentatious. (With thanks to Xzibit and “Pimp My Ride.”)

So yesterday, I offered to pimp words, and I got two requests. I’ll do one today and the other next week. And you can send in more requests via Twitter, Facebook, e-mail or in the comments below.

JD (The Engine Room) asked me to pimp the word blue.

How about we pimp that with one of my favorite colors from my big box of Crayolas when I was a kid: cerulean. American Heritage Dictionary defines it as “Azure; sky-blue” and gives this etymology: “From Latin caeruleus , dark blue; akin to caelum, sky.”