Funny Quotes And Strange Words From Good Old England!
What's a Doofus?
Oh that Doofus, we all have millions of doofus around the house don't we? I personally can never find the doofus. I have so many arguments about who has moved the stupid thing, why I can't find it and so on.
The conversation usually goes something like this:
'Jess what you done with the doofus?' 'What doofus? 'You know the telly doofus'!
And so on. But why doofus and where the heck does that stupid word come from? Well here's the surprise. Its one of those English idioms that just appears out of nowhere and takes up residence in every single home from here in England to Kentucky USA!
But is it English? Well lets see.
According to Urban Dictionary, a doofus is actually someone who hasn't got a clue. As in, you are one hell of a doofus! Of course this is the polite version.
The Scots translate it with a lot of swearing in it! But this is pretty accurate too.
Dimwit. Nitwit. Halfwit!
Actually there is a belief that it comes from the Scottish word Doof meaning dolt. Or even the German doof meaning the same.
Evidently it appeared sometime in the 1960s. Don't ask me where, I would have to take a look in the doofus!
Mind you there is another story concerning the good old doofus, duffus or duffos!
1728 from the Scottish National Dictionary - 'He get her the slaverin doof!'
'A bigger doof was never ever seen!'
Scots Doof taken from lower Saxon meaning Deaf!
Fisog Visage Visard!
Now this is a word! My gran always said fisog and we never ever questioned it! But what the hell did she mean?
Well the conversation would go like this.
'My goodness, he had a right fisog on him'! In other words he was ugly. Or more to the point, his face (fisog) was ugly! No, my gran was a nice lady, but she did have her moments!
It wasn't until I got older did I start to question the word. Where did it come from?
Well here's the thing. Evidently the French word for face is, wait for it......
Visage! Ah now I see it! But it doesn't stop there. I had to stop and think. How would my gran who never went out of her village in all her life, know the French word for face? Or should I say, her version of the word?
Evidently there is another word which is similar, and makes more sense.
Over here in England back in the 1600's, ladies who would 'Go abroad' which meant getting in a coach and going into town, often wore a mask.
It was the 'Done thing' at the time. And the name of the mask? A visard
Here's a little bit of history for you.
The Visard and the Renaiisance.
The visard was a strange looking mask. It was made from black velvet and didn't have ties to keep it on the face. The woman would have to place a button or bead in her mouth by clenching her teeth, which was attached to the mouth part of the mask.
The original use of the Visard was to stop sunburn ruining a woman's face and reputation. Back in the 16th and 17th century and for quite a while afterwards women who sported suntans were said to be 'Poor and low class'.
These early version masks became much more flamboyant when Charles II came to the throne after the harsh and stifling years of Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan rules.
There were parties galore, everybody was happy and the ladies changed the Visard to fancy Ball Masks which they wore at parties and even going out in the day.
Here's a contemporary writer bemoaning the horrors of the Visard. (below)
When they use them to ride abroad, they have visors or visards made of velvet...
Where with they cover all their face, having holes made in them against their eyes, where they look so that if a man that knew not their guise before
should chance to meet them he would think he had met a monster or a devil:
for her face he can see none, but two broad holes against her eyes, with glasses in them.— Phillip Stubbs
And last but not least......
Here's a few more:
- Q: Wet your Whistle?
- A: English pub owners would bake a whistle in the drinking cup, so when they ran out of drink and needed another one they would just whistle!
- Q: A feather in your cap!
- A: Adding a feather in their cap when they killed another enemy! In the case of American Indians it says that a feather in a cap or headdress meant bravery or a brave deed.
- Q: Cat got your tongue?
- A:Middle eastern ancient tradition of ripping out people's tongues when they were lying, and feeding them to the cat.....!
- Q: Get out of the bed the wrong side.
- A: This is traced back to the Romans. If someone got out of bed on the left side then they would have a bad day.
- Q:And my Favorite has to be. Hoisted by your own Petard.
- A: A Petard was a primitive weapon or bomb that was used to 'blow the doors off' Yep sorry about the Italian Job quote, couldn't resist!
Hoisted by my own What???
" Hoisted with your own Petard'
A Petard was a small machine used to blow up doorways back in the day, as in:
I only told you to blow the doors off'!
But Hoisted by your own Petard meant 'Ya blew yourself up ya stupid......!'
So, there you go. Whether you have been hoisted by your own Petard, got a feather in your cap or just forgot where you put your doofus, at least you know where the sayings started from.
Where DID I put that Doofus?!
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