This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Thing To Do Today: be flabbergasted.

"I'm flabbergasted," the comedian Frankie Howerd used to say. "Never has my flabber been so gasted."

I neither know what flabber is, nor how one could gast it, but to be flabbergasted is to be overcome with astonishment - and how could any day fail to flabbergast in such a world as ours?

A world where some types of Tarantula can shoot the hairs out of their bodies to spear their enemies.

A world where most lipsticks contain fish scales.

A world where a baby is born with about 270 bones, but an adult has only 206.

A world where, of all the true facts in the universe, no one knows more than a vanishingly tiny fraction of them...

...and the vast majority of those will sooner or later turn out to be wrong.

Hm. I don't suppose anyone out there does know what flabber is, do you?

Thought not.

Thing To Do Today: be flabbergasted. This word appeared as fashionable slang in the 1700s but no one is sure from whence it came. There are similar words recorded from Suffolk, where it meant to boast, and Perthshire, where it meant to be worn out with exhaustion, but as they are both the wrong thing my guess is that flabberghast was probably just made up for fun.

And it is, isn't it.


  1. Well, I am, I am...totes FLABBERGASTED by every one of your facts...the one about the bones in particular! Amazing.

    1. Totes: now there's an interesting word. I must definitely put that one down for non-serious consideration...thanks!