whiffle

Now, here’s a word that communicates by sound. You can hear the the little whiffs of air blowing through leaves or perhaps puffing a piece of paper along. It’s fortuitous that the le suffix, a frequentative, turns the single action and single sound of whiff into the multiple action and multiple-sounding whiffle. It also gives it the air of whistle, which no doubt works well with Wiffle, as in the perforated projectiles. You can see the effect of the puffs of air on the ff as though through tufts of foxtail, and that dot on the i might be a holey ball on the way from h to l. Any word ending in ffle, be it sniffle or kerfuffle, of course carries a feeling of paper men wrestling in corduroys, or of similar frantic, furtive, or simply frequent puffs, buffeting, or susurrus, but this one does so more wilfully than most. One horsey person of my acquaintance has advocated the application of this word to that raspberry sound horses often make. The standard term for this act is blow, but that’s not really very good, is it? Nothing like nicker, for instance. Consider this the inception of a campaign for adoption of this usage. When you see a horse, simply say, “You do know how to whiffle, don’t you? You just put your lips together… and blow.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s