Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hooligans and such

Some of my favorite words of all time: Scalawag, Hooligan, Miscreant, and Ruffian. I try to use them as often as possible so that I'm well-practiced by the time I have to chase some kids off my lawn in 40 years or so. Today I actually looked one of them up.

Scalawag: Joseph E. Worcester's 1860 Dictionary of the English Language defined scalawag as "A low worthless fellow; a scapegrace." Scalawag was also a word for low-grade farm animals. In early 1868 a Mississippi editor observed that scalawag "has been used from time immemorial to designate inferior milch cows in the cattle markets of Virginia and Kentucky." (Historian Ted Tunnel via Wikipedia) It was also used to describe white southerners who supported the US government during Reconstruction.

Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

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