Wednesday WOLF

Wolf Paw Print clip artI’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.

Where do we get the word snark? I don’t think I need to inform the YA community what that word means, but I will anyway. Snark is the new way to say someone is sarcastic, usually with a bit of an edge of humor… or at least those of us who are attempting to be snarky hope so. I think of snark as being good-natured sarcasm.

So where do we get it from?

It actually means irritable or short-tempered, which we borrowed from the German verb snarken – meaning “to snort.” 

But did you know there’s another meaning for it? 

I grew up in the country, and anyone who didn’t and happened to be visiting might be invited by the locals to go snark hunting… which would be the equivalent of sending a complete yokel into the streets of NYC to hail a cab for the first time in their lives. Short version – there is no such thing as a snark. But what I didn’t know is that that slightly mean-spirited little joke has it’s basis in literature.

The Hunting of the Snark is a poem by Lewis Carroll. And if you feel like a little insight into both the history of sarcasm and country pranks, have a read.

One thought on “Wednesday WOLF

  1. I’ve heard of snipe hunts. I was a counselor at a camp where campers would be taken on a snipe hunt at night, all the while being told how dangerous snipes could be and how they could jump out an attack. Naturally, the hunts ended in the leader doing a big “gotcha” moment using a stuffed animal or similar “snipe stand in” and all of the campers laughing at how gullible they’d been. It was always fun.

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