in Wacky Word Wednesday

It’s been an oddly long “week,” (for some reason it feels like the past week has been 638 days too long…), but regardless, it’s Wednesday once more, which means Wacky Word Wednesday has returned to bring you yet another eccentric, head-scratching, where-did-such-a-fascinating-and-peculiar-thing-come-from word to add to your already extensive vocabulary.

Today’s definition from Termwiki.com:

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gew·gaw

[gyoo-gaw]

-noun

1. A showy trifle

2. A toy

3. A splendid plaything

4. A pretty but worthless bauble

-adjective

Showy; unreal; pretentious

quo botGewgaw


Despite its’ compositional origin being largely unknown, the use of gewgaw has been linked to several words in Old and Middle English in the late 12th, early 13th century. It comes from the Middle English givegove, meaning “trifle,” which is a reduplication of the Middle English give, geove (“gift”). In Old English, it is most closely related to geafu, also meaning “gift” (alternately spelled giefu, geofu). The Old English word for “gift” comes from the Proto-Germanic  word for “gift,” gebō. It can also be compared to the Icelandic gyligjöf meaning “showy gifts.”

After scouring the internet extensively for a geographical breakdown of frequency of the use of the word gewgaw, it seems there’s little to no specific information available. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t have some creative example sentences for you to learn and study so you can better implement gewgaw into your everyday language. Let’s work together to bring this word back to a more frequent use.

  • The point is I waste enough of my money on pointless gewgaws of modern capitalism already. (YourDictionary)
  • He had a shelf devoted just to gewgaws featuring his favorite team’s mascot. (Merriam-Webster)
  • As the creature struggles and flaps in its death throes, this simple, awesome gewgaw is exhibited at its prettiest. (WordHippo)
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Stay tuned for next week’s Wacky Word Wednesday. We promise the time between now and next week won’t feel longer than 638 days.

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