Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wednesday WOLF

I've got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications. I thought I'd share some of this random crap with you in the form of another acronym-ific series. I give you - Word Origins from Left Field - that's right, the WOLF. Er... ignore the fact that the "from" doesn't fit.

My lovely crit partner RC Lewis asked me a great question the other day - where do we get the word snark? I don't think I need to inform the YA community what that word means, but I will anyway. Snark is the new way to say someone is sarcastic, usually with a bit of an edge of humor... or at least those of us who are attempting to be snarky hope so. I think of snark as being good-natured sarcasm.

So where do we get it from?

It actually means irritable or short-tempered, which we borrowed from the German verb snarken - meaning "to snort." 

But did you know there's another meaning for it? 

I grew up in the country, and anyone who didn't and happened to be visiting might be invited by the locals to go snark hunting... which would be the equivalent of sending a complete yokel into the streets of NYC to hail a cab for the first time in their lives. Short version - there is no such thing as a snark. But what I didn't know is that that slightly mean-spirited little joke has it's basis in literature.

The Hunting of the Snark is a poem by Lewis Carroll. And if you feel like a little insight into both the history of sarcasm and country pranks, have a read.

5 comments:

Pili said...

I always love learning new words and meanings!

Mindy McGinnis said...

This one threw me -- I did not know the Snark was older than country pranks...

Matt Sinclair said...

Reminds me of snipe hunts. When I ran day camps, sometimes the counselors would take the kids out on "snipe hunts," which was essentially a way of injecting something new into a hike. Of course, when you're 10 and out in the woods, hikes are inherently fun anyway, especially when you're with a bunch of friends.

Deb R.H. said...

The link led to a book store...lol But that's neat!

Mindy McGinnis said...

A big sigh for broken links - fixed now!