Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for some of the most interesting words of the week. This week we honor the conclusion of the games in Rio with a craic-ing Irish expression, an ego of Olympic proportions, and an Olympic oddity.
“In an interview following the medal ceremony, the pair said: ‘What’s the craic? We’re in Rio. The background looks superimposed but it’s real.’”
Nicola Slawson, “Ireland’s O’Donovan brothers become web sensations after medal win,” The Guardian, August 14, 2016
Craic is an Irish term that might refer to “news, gossip, fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation,” says Irish Central. The craic was ninety is the “nirvana of craic” while minus craic is a particularly un-fun night. The word craic might be an alteration of another Irish expression, crack, which means fun or amusement.
“Jonason’s research has covered what’s known as the ‘dark triad’—three sets of traits that may go along with a penchant for lying.”
Mallory Locklear, “Lochte Probably Lied for the Same Reason We All Do: It Was Easier,” Slate, August 18, 2016
The term dark triad was coined by psychologists Delroy L. Paulhus and Kevin M. Williams in a 2002 paper. The three sinister factors that make it up are psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism.
“In others, there’s what’s called a repechage, where those knocked out by the eventual winners are placed in two separate pools, and compete among themselves for one of two bronzes.”
“Rio 2016: 13 lesser-spotted oddities of the Olympics,” BBC, August 18, 2016
Repechage also refers to a “trial heat, especially in rowing, allowing competitors who have already lost a heat another chance to quality for the semifinals.” The word is French in origin, coming from repecher, “to finish up again, to rescue,” where re- means “again” and pecher means “to fish for.”
“You don’t have to let the warnings about stingrays ruin your fun day at the beach, all you have to do is what’s called the ‘stingray shuffle.’”
Jenny Dean, “Stingrays injure a dozen swimmers on Clearwater Beach,” 10 News, August 19, 2016
The stingray shuffle refers to movement that keeps stingrays away, namely “vibrations in the sand” which “alert the animals that you’re in the area.”
“This is what’s known as stridhan — a portion of a married couple’s wealth that is controlled exclusively by the wife and to which she is entitled, even after separation from her husband.”
Frank Holmes, “Strong Monsoon Season May Flood Indian Gold Market With Buyers,” Forbes, August 18, 2016
The Forbes piece implies that stridhan often takes the form of gold. In India women are “the largest owners” of the precious metal. Pre-wedding gifts of gold jewelry are considered auspicious.
In fact, crack ‘conversation, amusement’ is originally English, mostly used in the North of England and in Scotland. It was borrowed into Scots Gaelic and Irish as craic, and then reborrowed into English. See the OED s.v. crack n., senses 5a and 5b