Word Soup Wednesday: crotcherazzi, jookin’, secessionist

Every week we watch tons of TV for weird and interesting words so you don’t have to. Check out our latest selections.

The Catfish's Eye

The Catfish's Eye, by Michael Bentley


Stephen Colbert [regarding fake MTV and BET Twitter hacks]: “Yes, we were totally catfished. They made us fall in love with the fact that we were duped by vertically integrated platform synergies.”

The Colbert Report, February 21, 2013

Catfish “refers to a person who creates a fake online profile in order to fraudulently seduce someone,” and comes from the movie of the same name in which a man discovers the woman with whom he’s had an online relationship isn’t young and single but in her 40s and married. For even more on catfishing, check out Ben Zimmer’s piece in The Boston Globe.


Mindy: “You’ll have to get to know bodyguard, Denelle. And there might be crotcherazzi.”

“Mindy’s Minute,” The Mindy Project, February 19, 2013

Crotcherazzi, a blend of crotch and paparazzi, refers to photographers who capture, whether by design or mistake, crotch shots of female celebrities (usually going commando) as they awkwardly get out of vehicles and inadvertently flash whoever might be watching.

The origin of go commando is obscure. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase may have to do with “commandos‘ reputation for action, toughness, or resourcefulness rather than to any specific practice.”

dash cam

Newscaster: “Motorists have turned to dash cams for self-protection, visual proof to fend off charges from possibly corrupt police officers and from insurance scammers who often stage accidents like this one captured here.”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, February 19, 2013

A dash cam is a video camera that sits on the dashboard of one’s car. According to Wired, “a combination of inexpensive cameras, flash memory and regulations passed by the Interior Ministry in 2009 that removed any legal hurdles for in-dash cameras has made it easy and cheap for drivers [in Russia] to install the equipment.” Enjoy the craziest Russian dash cam videos of 2012.

diaper pattern

Appraiser: “And then it’s all beautifully engraved with these diaper patterns, every inch of it. This thing was a very complicated method of manufacture. What they used to do was build up one layer of lacquer, then they had to let it dry under ideal conditions. And then they polished it, and it was another layer, and another layer, and another layer, and another layer.”

“Myrtle Beach,” The Antiques Roadshow, February 25, 2013

A diaper pattern is a repeated pattern of squares, rectangles, or lozenges. Diaper in this sense comes from the Old French diaspre, “ornamental cloth; flowered, patterned silk cloth.” The sense of “underpants for babies” originated around 1837, says the Online Etymology Dictionary.



Appraiser: “Well, it’s a beautiful French Art Deco brooch. I would date it circa 1925. And it’s called a jabot.”

“Myrtle Beach,” The Antiques Roadshow, February 25, 2013

A jabot is “an ornamental cascade of ruffles or frills down the front of a shirt, blouse, or dress,” often held in place with a pin or brooch, evidently also referred to as a jabot. Jabot may come from the French meaning of the word, “crop of a bird.”


Andrew Zimmern: “A Czech sausage with a funny name – jaternice – combines some of my favorite flavors and makes great use of a few underappreciated parts of the pig.”

“Iowa,” Bizarre Foods America, February 25, 2013

Jaternice is a Bohemian style liver sausage, and translates from Czech as “pork sausage.”


Stephen Colbert: “For the people out there who are not as hip or fly as I am, what is jookin’?”
Lil Buck: “We call it Memphis jookin’ because it’s a dance that originated almost 30 years ago in Memphis, Tennessee. It started with a line dance called the gangsta walk. . . .It was like a really confident line dance. . . .Gangsta walkin’ evolved into jookin’.”

The Colbert Report, February 21, 2013

According to the book Jookin’: The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African-American Culture by Katrina Hazzard-Gordon, the origin of the word jookin is obscure. It seems to be the same jook, or juke, as in jukebox or juke joint, where juke means to play dance music, to dance, or “to deceive or outmaneuver a defender by a feint.” The word may come from the Gullah word juke or joog meaning “wicked, disorderly.”

Gangsta walking is also known as g-walk, buck jump, rollin, and buckin.


Stephen Colbert: “The true meaning of Valentine’s Day is all about the L-word. Lupercalia! The mid-February Roman fertility feast that St. Valentine’s Day is based on. As I’m sure you know, Lupercalia is named for Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled Rome’s twin founders, Romulus and Remus.”

The Colbert Report, February 14, 2013

Lupercalia is an ancient Roman festival celebrated in the middle of February. According to the Century Dictionary, the origin of the festival “is older than the legend of Romulus and the wolf,” and “was originally a local purification ceremony of the Palatine city, in which human victims were sacrificed.”

Later “the victims were goats and a dog, and the celebrants ran around the old line of the Palatine walls, striking all whom they met with thongs cut from the skins of the slaughtered animals.” This was “reputed to preserve women from sterility.”


Appraiser: “These are in fact the maquettes for posters. These are the original artwork that was done from which posters would have been created.”

“Myrtle Beach,” The Antiques Roadshow, February 18, 2013

A maquette is “a usually small model of an intended work, such as a sculpture or piece of architecture.” The word is French and comes from the Italian macchietta, “sketch.”

plein air

Appraiser: “This painting is done in a plein air style. It’s impressionistic. He used a heavy brushstroke in his compositions.”

“Myrtle Beach,” The Antiques Roadshow, February 18, 2013

Plein air, which in French means “(in) the open air,” is “a style of painting produced out of doors in natural light.”


Larry Kilgore: “I ran for Senate in 2008 on a secessionist platform and received 225,000 votes.”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, February 21, 2013

The word secessionist originally referred to, in U.S. history, “one who took part in or sympathized with the attempt of the Southern States, in 1860–65, to withdraw from the Union,” and now refers to anyone who favors secession, the act of separating or withdrawing from a religious or political organization.

Larry Kilgore is “one of the most prominent supporters of Texas secession,” and during his Senate run in 2007, “advocated the death penalty for abortion and adultery, and flogging for vulgar language and transvestitism.” He also “believes that Abraham Lincoln was the American equivalent of Hitler.” Kilgore legally changed his middle name from Scott to SECEDE (all caps his) in 2012.

tramp art

Appraiser: “The tramp art frame itself is fantastic. They made these out of little thin pieces of wood, as you know… could have been cigar boxes. And tramp art. . .weren’t necessarily made by tramps, they were just made by anonymous people.”

“Myrtle Beach,” The Antiques Roadshow, February 25, 2013

Tramp art is art made from “discarded materials, especially cigar boxes, in the period following the American Civil War through the 1930s.” Tramp art wasn’t necessarily made by tramps or hobos but by “untrained, mainly poor artists from a broad range of nationalities, using meager tools.”

[Photo: “The Catfish’s Eye,” CC BY 2.0 by Michael Bentley]

[Photo: “Jabot,” Public Domain by Dan Rusch-Fischer]

5 thoughts on “Word Soup Wednesday: crotcherazzi, jookin’, secessionist

  1. Is “mockup” derived from “maquette”? (I’m also thinking of French “maquillage,” “makeup” (in the sense of facial ornament), as well as Italian “macchiare” which we get in “latte macchiato,” tinted or stained milk.)

  2. GREAT LIST!!! But in case you don’t watch “How I Met your Mother” There is an episode entitled “The Possimpible”. Very funny, Barney discusses how he makes up words for his video resume. I think you would like it.

  3. Interesting thoughts! But it looks like ‘mockup,’ which comes from the verb sense of ‘mock’ (to imitate) comes from the Old French ‘mocquer,’ deride, jeer. ‘Maquette’ ultimately comes from the Latin ‘macula,’ spot. As for ‘maquillage’ or ‘makeup,’ this comes from ‘make’ which comes from the Old English (and ultimately Saxon rather than Latin) ‘macian,’ to make. But you’re right that ‘macchiato’ and ‘maquette’ are related, both coming from the Italian ‘macchia,’ spot.

  4. Was very surprised to see “The origin of go commando is obscure”. The phrase has been around for quite some time, and has been frequently referenced and explained. It originates from commandos spending long periods in the field in hot, humid climates. They would often refrain from wearing underwear, so the skin in the crotch area would be better ventilated and not constantly in contact with damp or soggy cotton, thus less susceptible to rashes, fungus infections, etc., sometimes known as “jungle rot”.

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