A Los Angeles, California, man says his mother studiously avoided swearing. Instead of a curse word, she substituted the word piffle, which was often even more effective than a four-letter word because it was so unexpected. Piffle is most likely onomatopoetic, suggesting a disgusted exhalation through pursed lips. It’s common in the United Kingdom, and figured in the title of the popular 2006 British television program about etymology, Balderdash & Piffle. This is part of a complete episode.
- Sundog (episode #1507) 10/15/2018: A clever pun can make the difference between a so-so phrase and a memorable one. The phrase "the last straw" refers to an old fable... [more]
- Oh, For Cute! (episode #1506) 10/08/2018: A stereotype is a preconceived notion about a person or group. Originally, though, the word stereotype referred to a printing device used to produce lots... [more]
- Coinkydink (episode #1505) 10/01/2018: Sometimes it's a challenge to give a book a chance: How many pages should you read before deciding it's not worth your time? There's a... [more]
- Sweet Dreams (episode #1450) 09/22/2018: In deafening workplaces, like sawmills and factories, workers develop their own elaborate sign language to discuss everything from how their weekend went to when the... [more]
- Gangbusters (episode #1448) 09/15/2018: Sensuous words and terms of endearment. Think of a beautiful word. Now, is it simply the word's sound that makes it beautiful? Or does its... [more]