Sunday, September 16, 2012

Give Me a "D"

With all the hubbub in the world, along with the obsessive reporting on the horse race for the White House, you may have missed one news item of real importance—blogger Ted McCagg has named the Best Word Ever.

And the winner is…diphthong.

I'm a bit conflicted. Don't get me wrong. Diphthong is a great word. But is it the Best Word Ever?

McCagg arrived at diphthong through a series of bracket face-offs that first determined the best "A" word, "B" word, and so on. Then the letter winners went up against each other in a brutal lexicographic battle.

In the Final Four match-up—gherkin vs. kerfuffle and diphthong vs. hornswoggle—I am a kerfuffle partisan. If kerfuffle had gone up against diphthong mano a mano, I have to believe the k-word would win. Try it yourself. Say "kerfuffle" and try not to smile. And this delightful word lost to a pickle? We was robbed!

Lots of fun words fell in earlier rounds.  Vamoose, skedaddle and canoodle did well, but couldn't close the deal. Why didn't the "R" bracket winner, rapscallion, do better? What a great word. On the other hand, the "Q" winner—quagmire—never had a chance. It's just too familiar. One of my favorites, Quinquagesima, wasn't even in the running, a sad victim of the "modernizing" of the language of the Book of Common Prayer.

The "P" champion was phlegm. Ugh. Inexplicably, it not only left my choice—poppycock—in the dust, but actually made it to the Final 32 (West Bracket). And speaking of ick, one of everyone's favorites, and one I have to check the spelling of every time, onomatopoeia, lost to sphincter. Is it possible this McCagg dude is a really bright middle-schooler? Is there any other explanation?

So I guess it could have been worse. If sphincter had been the big winner, McCagg and I would have been involved in a kerfuffle.