Harry on Words

I found this post particularly interesting, especially in light of his query about “whacky”/”wacky” in this thread over on PFFA.

I even like his comment — the response was better than I imagined it’d be!

From Merriam-Webster Online (far cheaper to subscribe to than the OED. If anybody ever wanted to give me a much appreciated present, they could give me a year’s subscription to the OED.

Sell your car.)

Main Entry: (1)whack
Pronunciation: hwak also wak
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -ed/-ing/-s
Etymology: probably of imitative origin
transitive verb
1 a : to strike with a smart or resounding blow b : to cut with or as if with a whack : CHOP c : to take vigorous action against
2 : to put, get, or make by vigorous or hurried action — often used with up or out
3 a : to work as a driver of (oxen or mules) : DRIVE b : to drive to greater speed or activity — usually used with up
4 chiefly Britain : to get the better of : DEFEAT
intransitive verb : to strike something with a smart or resounding blow

© 2005 by Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Main Entry: wack
Pronunciation: wak
Variant(s): or whack /(h)wak/
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): -s
Etymology: probably back-formation from wacky
slang : a wacky person : CRACKPOT, SCREWBALL

© 2005 by Merriam-Webster, Inc.

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