Set 47 – Five New Words For Dec 17

Theme- Words that arose from cartoons

1. curate’s egg

noun: Something having both good and bad parts.

“After another curate’s egg of a performance, he, we, and probably Hodgson are none the wiser as to whether he will be in the team this time.”

2. gerrymander (JER-i-MAN-duhr)


verb tr.: To repartition an area in order to create electoral districts that give an unfair advantage to a political party.

noun: 1. An instance of gerrymandering. 2. One or more electoral districts, widely differing in size or population, created as a result of gerrymandering.

A blend of Elbridge Gerry and salamander. Massachusetts Governor Gerry’s party rearranged the electoral district boundaries and someone fancied the newly redistricted Essex County resembled a salamander. A cartoon showing the district in the shape of a salamander appeared in March 1812 issue of the Federalist newspaper. Earliest documented use: 1812.

“Country members such as Katter enjoyed disproportionate influence thanks to the Queensland gerrymander that effectively made a rural vote worth more than a city vote.”

3. McCarthyism

noun: The practice of making unfounded accusations against someone.

After US senator Joseph McCarthy (1909-1957) known for making unsubstantiated claims accusing people of being Communists, spies, and disloyal. Earliest documented use: in 1950 in a cartoon by Herbert Block.

“This is the greatest case of rampant McCarthyism to ever hit organized sports. … There was no hard evidence that three other first-timers on the ballot used steroids, but that didn’t keep the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voters from denying them entry to the Hall.”

4. Rube Goldberg

adjective: Absurdly complex or impractical.

After cartoonist Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) who was known for his intricate drawings showing fantastically impractical contraptions to accomplish simple jobs. Earliest documented use: 1928.

“A Rube Goldberg solution to a simple problem, Sea Swap has proved too unstable for long-term practice.”

5. blimp

noun: A pompous reactionary with out-of-date views.

After Colonel Blimp, a cartoon character created by David Low (1891-1963). Blimp was a satirical look at the self-important and ultra-nationalistic attitudes of officials in the British army and government. Earliest documented use: 1934.

“Yet, far from being a blimp, Charles Napier was one of the most impressive and intelligent individuals the British armed forces have ever produced.”


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