This word may occasion a quarrel between Brits and Americans over pronunciation, with Canadians caught in the middle as usual. On the British side, partial (but only partial!) obeisance to the French source, sounding like “frack off” minus the final [f] (if you’ve ever watched Battlestar Galactica you will recognize “frack off”); on the American side, a rhyme with “break us.” Either way, it’s not exactly a word of quietude. It calls to mind the friction, fractures, and ruckus caused when a flic finds a flack in flagrante delicto with his fickle filly. That fr – you can get fried with frustration from frittering your time with frauds and their French frippery. And whether it’s “ack” or “ache,” whether it’s “caw” or “cuss,” you’re unlikely to find this word motivating you to fruition of friendliness, or at least a fricassee, even though the opportunity is there, phonetically. As to the fight between US and UK, the irony is that the “purer” version, adhering (only somewhat) to the French, is adhering after all to an alteration. The French fracas came from Italian fracasso, meaning “make an uproar,” from fra (from Latin infra) as an intensifier or absolutizer and cassare meaning “break.” Smash things up, in other words. Throw the plates. All of them. As Rick Simon (played by Gerald McRaney) might have said, “Things are gonna get mighty western in here.”
Be a patron!Support Sesquiotica and get extra premium content and goodies. Starts as low as $1 a month! Find out more and subscribe on Patreon.com
I am for hireI earn my living as an independent editor, writer, and educator. Find out more and contact me at jamesharbeck.com.
Buy the T-shirt (or coffee mug or hip flask)
Wear it proudly:
I operate on a NEED-TO-KNOW basis. I need to know EVERYTHING.
Buy it at cafepress.ca/sesquiphernalia
12 Gifts for Writers ebook – free download
Buy my books
Buy my books on Lulu.com:
- Confessions of a Word Lush (paperback)
- Confessions of a Word Lush (ebook)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (paperback)
- Songs of Love and Grammar (ebook)
- 12 Gifts for Writers (print edition)
You can also get them on Amazon.com. Please note that I make less than half as much per book if you buy them there, however.
Word Tasting Notes Google groupGet just the word tasting notes daily by email – join the Google Word Tasting Notes group.
- 365 words for drunk
- cullion, cullionry
- around, about, approximately
- turn the other cheek
- An article title, "An article title 'An article title needs commas' needs commas," needs commas
- confident in or about?
- Can a metaphor be hyperbole too?
- I plight thee my troth
- To be, or not to be, that is the question
- Coffice Space
- from the bookshelf
- language and linguistics
- new old words
- Poetry Minute and a Half
- pronunciation tips
- sentence tastings
- The Week
- Word Country
- word pictures
- word portraits
- word reviews
- word sommelier
- word tasting notes