Official Definition #3: An example serving as a model; pattern.
Its meaning probably extends from its alternate definitions: "a display in fixed arrangement of such a set, as boy, boy's, boys, boys'" and "a set of forms all of which contain a particular element, esp. the set of all inflected forms based on a single stem or theme."
French meaning "newborn babes" or "just born children," but the name also came to carry the connotation of misshapen after the Hunchback of Notre Dame was published, and then "half formed" after Disney's version of the book came out.
See perfluorooctanic acid (C8HF15O2). It is called PFOA or C8 for short. An ingredient in Teflon and some carpet stain repellents; it is being phased out because it accumulates in the environment and mammalian fat cells and does not biodegrade in a timely fashion, when it biodegrades at all that is. Relatively safe; just don't work in or live near a Teflon factory until it has been completely phased out.
I only wish to expand on the connotation that this word carries for me. I use it to refer to a vegetative landscape in a light spring or summer shower. The plants look gorgeous and lush because the the central vacuole is swollen with water.
This word really gets me somehow. I love the way it sounds, and enunciating those two hard syllables in the middle always feels a little exciting and dangerous for me, like it is in danger of falling apart at the junction of those two syllables.
I get words stuck in my head like songs get stuck in others' heads. Mugwump is one of these words because its just so gosh darn fun to say. I picked it up from the Harry Potter books, but I had no idea it was an actual word until recently.
My friend Alan uses this phrase regularly. It started as an accidental bastardization of the two phrases "out of the blue" and "out of left field," but no one caught the mistake for years, not even his wife. Because the four words flow so well together, we now shamelessly use this phrase to replace "out of the blue."
Mar 13, 2008
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