Monday, September 17, 2007

Today's Etymology: Gimcrack

A person who collects "gimcracks" is NOT a person who collects the bones of 18th century race horses. Nope, that person has an affection for "cheap" and "showy" objects of "little or no use." The word is pronounced "Jim-crack" and is similar to another great forgotten word: "gewgaw."

Apparently this has nothing to do with the creepy minstrel song "Blue Tail Fly" ("Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care!") and also has nothing to do with your friend Jim's bum.

5 comments:

McMonkey said...

So what, then, is gimcrackery, as seen on the free dictionary definition provided? The process of making the gewgaws, or the act of accumulating them?

Muffy St. Bernard said...

It looks like "gimcrackery" is actually a noun, in the same way that "cutlery" and "crockery" are...it's just a bunch of gimcracks. :)

McMonkey said...

I saw later that it was a noun. I then thought it was perhaps the place where gimcracks come into being.

"Get thee to the gimcrackery!" has such a nice ring to it.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Aha, a place like "Gimcracks, Geegaws, and Nicknacks Inc."

If you need a decorative spoon, try a gimcrackery...

McMonkey said...

I always thought that Knickknacks had 'K's in it. I don't suppose it really matters, it's just what you're used to I guess.