Word Origins from Left Field (WOLF)

Wednesday WOLF

I’ve got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications. I thought I’d share some of this random crap with you in the form of another acronym-ific series. I give you – Word Origins from Left Field – that’s right, the WOLF. Er… ignore the fact that the “from” doesn’t fit.

Writer, CP and all around useful lady RC Lewis asked me the origin of brouhaha last week. Great question — with a very interesting answer!

So, my English speaking friends are probably aware that pigs say “oink,” sheep go “baa,” and horses are known for their “neigh.” But did you know that animals sound different in other languages? In French, for example, the dog says, “Ouaf! Ouaf!” and the pig says, “Groin! Groin!” (I’m not going to go for a joke her, because my mom wants me to work on being nicer)

What does this have to do with brouhaha? Well, a brouhaha is generally used to describe a noisy and / or angry situation, not to be confused with hubbub, because the latter can be positive. A brouhaha is a bad thing, and well… so’s the Devil, right? The best explanation for brouhaha that I was able to run down is that it was often used as a noise that the devil made in French stage-dramas. As in “brou, ha ha!” Apparently this was a French version of an evil laugh.

And here’s a great video for you of animal noises from around the world. Just because it exists.

6 thoughts on “Wednesday WOLF

  1. Well, that's interesting!! What a great word choice Ms. Lewis sent you 🙂 I don't know anything about the French language or old French stage dramas, but that's a darn fine explanation as far as I'm concerned! I know it makes me a wee bit nerdy, but… I've always loved stuff like this, finding out origins of words, doing word puzzles (crosswords, word search, anagrams, etc), and all that. So much fun 🙂 There's a quiz show on NPR that's new to my area that has a good number of wordplay games. I can't for the life of me remember the name of it, but the host is (excuse me while I mangle her name) Ofira Eisenberg. If you haven't heard it, check it out online — I bet you'd like it! And thanks for my weekly dose of trivial information 🙂

  2. We learned a song in my first Spanish class where

    Roosters say: kiri kiri
    Hens say: cara cara
    and Chicks say: pio pio

    lol I GUESS that's what they sound like. We USians go for the phonetics it looks like.

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