So the next time your partially digested food starts rumbling up your throat in a daring escape from the humid, squishy prison that is you, consider this charming word to describe your illness.
collywobbles (KAH-lee-wah-bulz) — noun: 1. a stomachache. 2. anxiety or fear.I mean, how great is this word? How cute? It could be a character in some picture book for British children. Maybe Mr. Collywobbles would be a nervous hare who discreetly in the background of every scene. I’d guess that the term was an antiquated British one, but it’s apparently used in all English-speaking lands — just not often enough.
The origin is uncertain. While Etymonline calls it a “fanciful formation from colic and wobble,” The Phrase Finder posits that it could have some connection to colly, meaning “coal-colored,” with the connection being that breathing coal-colored, coal-infused air actually made a lot of people sick. Wobble, by the way, is a word I forget exists until I actually think about it. Nothing against it. I sort of sounds like baby talk, I guess, but it’s a full-fledged word that refers to all manner of unsteady action, literal and otherwise.
It’s also a video game, apparently. The game may not be etymologically appropriate.
Previous words of the week after the jump.
- acné excoriée des jeunes filles, adulterine, ageusia, ambeer, anosmia
- barrack, beeturia, bissextile, bloofer, breastsummer
- catholicon, cecaelia, cephalophore, cherpumple, chilver, cockernonnie, coprolalia, couvade, cranberry morpheme, crwth, culaccino, cummingtonite
- deasil, decussate, deuteragonist, dingbat, dingle
- eidolon, epeolatry, epopt, espalier, etui, exoterica
- fabiform, Feghoot, fissilingual, Föhnkrankheit, folderol, froward
- gallinipper, grandgore, grue, guilloche, gyaru
- hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, hobson-jobson, hogo, honorificabilitudinitatibus
- ignivomous, iracund, isabelline, itaiitai
- jabroni, jamais vu, jehu, jumentous
- kaffir, kakopygian, kayfabe, knipperdollin
- lagniappe, leman, lemniscate, limnovore, linsey-woolsey, longicorn
- malacia, malison, maroon, milt, mongo, mooncalf, morepork, muzjiks
- narrenfreiheit, nef, nihilartikel, nobiliary particle, nosism
- ochanee, ogonek, ombré, ooglification, orchidectomy, ordured, orf
- pace, pareidolia, pavonated, perendiate, perigee, petrichor, pettifogger, pettitoes, phlegmagogue, pismire, pogonip, pong, pruniferous, puggle, pulveratricious, purse
- quacksalver, quagga, qualtagh, quidnunc, quiff
- ronion, roynish, rubirosa, rumpsprung, runcible
- salmagundi, scrutator, seneschal, sharrow, shebang, sinople, slampadato, slubberdegullion, stan, stevedore, suovetaurilia
- tappen, teratogenesis, tergiversate, tetromino, thagomizer, thon, tiffin, tittery-whoppet, tmesis, toby, tutoyer, tyro
- ucalegon, ultramontane, umiaq, umquhile
- veneficial, verdigris, vespertilionine, vinegeroon
- weeaboo, widdiful, williwaw, witzelsucht, wooper looper
- xenodocheionology, xyster
- yazoo, ypsiliform, yoink
- zanjero, zenzizenzizenzic, zinnober, zugzwang
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