Favorite

Words, Dec. 23 

Bejeepers, becreepers, where'd you get those bepeepers:

"Those things scare the bejabbers out of American business. I have never in 38 years seen businesses of this size range so scared and so confused about what our government might do next. If people are scared to death, money will hunker down."

Max Brantley says: "I think the word he wants is bejesus, or, for the delicate, bejeepers." Not necessarily. I've never used bejabbers myself, but I've heard it in old movies, usually coming from an exasperated Irish cop: "When I get my hands on that Green Hornet, I'll knock the bejabbers out of him."

Bejabbers and bejesus are interchangeable, it appears. Both are used as mild oaths expressing dismay, anger, astonishment, etc. As nouns, both mean "dickens, devil": The Chamber of Commerce wants to work the bejabbers/bejesus out of poor people, and cut off their health benefits too.

I couldn't find bejeepers, which doesn't mean it's not out there someplace. At one time, people said there was no Fouke Monster, but a federal judge in Little Rock recently confirmed its existence.

To hunker, as our speaker above warns that money will do, is "to squat on one's heels" or "to take shelter." Apparently, hunker dates back to the 18th century, but the word got a boost in popularity in the 20th, around 1960, when students at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville touched off a hunkering fad on college campuses. Pictures of UA students at squat appeared in Life magazine. Life was very big in those days. So were Look, and the Saturday Evening Post and Colliers ...

"He does his best to do favours to those he finds deserving, stretching the bounds of prison rules (always pernickety and sometimes vindictively petty) on occasion, but without any great hope that they will be effective or repaid." I'd always thought the word for "fussy, nitpicking," was persnickety. But Random House says that pernickety is used also, especially in Britain. The quotation above is from a British magazine. Notice that they spell favors differently too.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated itsĀ 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • The prophet Isaiah was a man of unclean lips and dwell among people of the…

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Turn to baseball

    • leave the rules the way they are. teach players how to hit, don't legislate no…

    • on July 20, 2017
  • Re: Pay attention

    • The beautiful new 12th St. Precinct is full of empty rooms: Why not create a…

    • on July 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation