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New word for your vocabulary – fuffle

by Dimitri Orlov @ Club Orlov, 22 March 2009

“Yes, the Russians actually have a word for precisely the thing that has bewitched us, first accounting for an ever-increasing share of our gross domestic product, and is now responsible for our ever-larger financial black hole. That word is “фуфло” /fufló/ when applied to a quantity of something, and фуфел /fúfel/ when applied to a singular item. This word has the obscure English cognate “fuffle,” which the Oxford English Dictionary dates to the early XVI century but fails to define adequately. I suspect that this word has been in circulation in many languages ever since some Protoindoeuropean simpleton showed up at some archaic fair and, being none too wise, bartered his meager trade goods in exchange for what thereafter became known as a fuffle. At that point, his story may have gone two different ways. Either he could have discovered that he’d been handed a fuffle, chased after the unlucky fuffller, and summarily ran him through with a pointed stick (positive outcome) or he could have stumbled back to his village proudly displaying his prize, and perhaps even got his entire tribe to acquire a taste for fuffles (negative outcome). In the latter case, the fuffle-addled tribe could never grasp the meaning of the word “fuffle,” because doing so would have resulted in some painful cognitive dissonance. (Perhaps this psychological mechanism accounts for the fact the Anglo-Saxon tribe still has the vestigial word but no longer remembers its meaning.)”  Link to article

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