Cafuego Research Paper

2213 Words9 Pages
AA n. A type of volcanic rock having a rough and jagged surface. The name is Hawaiian in origin and pronounced ah-ah. AA is one of three types of solidified flow lava, a fact which I mention only as an excuse to throw in my favorite type, which is called PAHOEHOE. The third type has the rather mundane name of PILLOW LAVA, which I include here only for completeness. Of course, the serious Scrabbler will be more likely to recognize AA as an indispensable vowel-dump, and the very first word in the Official Scrabble Dictionary. It is also the least interesting palindrome I know. BANNS npl. A formal proclamation announcing intent to marry. This word jumped out at me when I was watching the very word-buff-esque documentary Spellbound.…show more content…
For an entirely different reason though. When a Scrabble player learns a word like BANNS, it is easy to assume it to be the plural of the non-existent BANN*. Uh oh! There's an asterisk! CACAFOGO n. A hot-tempered person. Also spelled CACAFUEGO. Today's word began its life as CAGAFUEGO*, which was a nickname used by 16th century sailors for their Spanish ship Nuestra Señora de la Concepción. The choice of name came from a combination of the Spanish words Cagare, meaning to excrete, and Fuego, meaning fire. Hence Cagafuego, if taken literally, meant excrete fire, which I assume means that the ship went really fast. However, the G was eventually corrupted to a C, resulting in the word CACAFUEGO (no asterisk!). And from there a further corruption resulted in today's word. Interestingly, Collins gives the definition of CACAFOGO as spitfire, which Chambers in turn defines as a 'hot-tempered person'. So, did the term spitfire arise as a euphemism for shitfire which would be the literal translation of today's word? This worse-than-amateur lexicographer doesn't know the answer right now, but I'll certainly let you know if I find…show more content…
In a 1999 World Scrabble Championship match between two of the world's best players, Nigel Richards and Adam Logan, an early play of THIONINE was extended first to ETHIONINE, and then again later in the game to the ten-letter gem METHIONINE! Remarkably, both players knew this grand hooking sequence - the kind of once-in-a-lifetime play that Scrabble players live for. UNUNUNIUM n. A temporary scientific name assigned to the chemical element with atomic number 111 until the existence of this element has been formally ratified. Want to know more about this one? Here is an article I wrote about Unununium one day at work when I was really bored. You'll find lots of other cool words in this article too! WATERZOOI n. A type of broth based on fish or chicken, with vegetables, cooked in a thick stock. This word would make perfect grist for the Balderdash mill. After all, surely it will be easy to convince your opponents that waterzooi are 'small, hirsute, water-borne

More about Cafuego Research Paper

Open Document