Seven Wacky Words Born In The USA


The US may have won independence from Britain, but the English can gloat that Americans still speak a language named after them. American English, however, has spawned more than a few amazing words including lollapalooza, "an extraordinary thing, person, or event." Our next term has a history as unusual as it is tragic.


Sockdolager, meaning a "decisive blow or remark," is the product of a 19th-century American fad to mix Latin roots with slang to create new, often silly, words. Partly derived from sock, "to punch," and possibly from doxology, "the end of a service," sockdolager may have been one of the last words Lincoln heard before he was assassinated.


Catawampus, "confused or diagonal," seems to have its origin in the South or Midwest in the 1840s. Think of the phrase kitty-cornered and you'll see a shared origin between kitty- and cata-. The source of wampus, on the other hand, may just be a funny-sounding mystery. The next term may be the funniest sounding word in all of English. . .


Hornswoggle means "to trick or hoax." It would be a deception for us to say we know the exact origin of hornswoggle, but its first known appearance in 1829 was in the US. Now, is foofaraw an actual word, or are you being hornswoggled? Find out by clicking next.


A foofaraw is either "a great fuss about something insignificant" or "an excessive amount of decoration." The term comes from the American West and is a mutation of the Spanish fanfaron, meaning "show-off." Are you ready for us to top the silliness of foofaraw?


One of the most common words on this list, discombobulate sounds like something from a cartoon. It was first recorded as discombobracate, then discomboobulate. They all mean exactly what they sound like: "to confuse or upset." Our next and final term is what you might call someone who makes you feel discombobulated.


We hope that bumptious, "offensively self-assertive," is the sockdolager that discombobulates you to the point of feeling catawampus. These lollapaloozas of English speak for themselves. If you feel hornswoggled by any foofaraw, you just may want to absquatulate.

Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Dictionary Is More Than The Word Of The Day

Enter your email for quizzes, quotes, and word facts in your inbox every day.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.