Today’s word of the day is kerplunk, a sound like something heavy falling in water. Splash!

At its root is plunk, added to which is the ker- prefix, which H.L. Mencken suggests, and others seem to confirm, is related to the German prefix ge-. It is used to form past participles in that language.

The Century Dictionary explains that ker- is “an unstressed introductory syllable, perhaps better written ka- or ke-, used in some dialectal words, without meaning in itself but serving to introduce an emphatic stress, as in kerslap, kerchunk, kerplunk, kerwhack, etc. It probably originated in the involuntary utterance which often precedes a sudden physical effort, as in striking with an ax or hammer or paving-rammer.”

Other ker- words are kerwallop, kerslop, kerflop, kerthump, kerslam, kerflummux, and kerbang. Kaboom and kablooey are probably also related.