Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wonderous Words Wednesday



bumpkin

n.

1. An awkward, unsophisticated person; a yokel.

[Perhaps from Flemish boomken, shrub, diminutive of boom, tree; see bheu- in Indo-European roots or from Middle Dutch bommekijn, diminutive of bomme, barrel.]

Word History: The term bumpkin may at one time have been directed at an entire people rather than that segment of the population living in a rural area. The first recorded appearance of the word in 1570 is glossed by the Latin word Batavus, "Dutchman," making plausible the suggestion that bumpkin may come from either the Middle Dutch word bommekijn, "little barrel," or the Flemish word boomken, "shrub." The connection would be between a squat object and the short rotund figure of the Dutchman in the popular imagination. Any bumpkin would surely prefer this etymology to the suggestion that bumpkin is a derivative of bum, "the rear end."

2. A short spar projecting from the deck of a ship, used to extend a sail or secure a block or stay.

[Probably from Dutch boomken, diminutive of boom, tree.]

From the book Imperfect Endings: A Daughter's Story of Love, Loss, and Letting Go (page 3) by Zoe FitzGerald Carter.



4 comments:

  1. I've heard bumpkin because I am one! Great word!!

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  2. I knew the first definition of bumpkin. But didn't realize that there was another definition. Thanks for sharing! Here are my words for the week: http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2011/03/wondrous-words-wednesday.html

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  3. I grew up a bumpkin (the rural part, not the Dutch history part) but I had no idea there was a ship part called that.

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  4. bermudaonion-lol, me too.

    Bev Hankins- thanks! for dropping by.

    Joy Weese Moll- I didn't either.

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