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Word of the Week: Mattoid

October 29, 2007

Introducing the very first Mr. Crumpet & Orange Bear Word of the Week (or Whenever)…

[fr. Italian matto, “insane” + Greek -oeides, “like that of”]

adj. Half nuts; on the verge of going nuts.
n.   Nutcake savant.

Never heard of it? Thanks to the fickleness of the modern ear, mattoid’s fallen on hard times. It hasn’t been seen or heard much since 1908 or thereabouts — ancient times, in any case. Back then, people used a dozen different words to describe the same thing. Today, people use a dozen different words to describe everything.

“Hmm. Might be a few mattoid folks around here,” says Orange Bear. “One of ’em’s supposedly finishing a Long Unfinished Project. You know what? Mattoid really doesn’t cut it. He’s totally nuts.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Feline Ally Lilly Light permalink
    November 14, 2007 9:46 am

    –alias “Etymologist Extraordinaire”… To give credit where credit is due… Yes, this word is still used in the history-adoring Italian. In fact the term has found itself in a song by the Italian “rap rock” (terminology FALL) group Casino Royale: “ma sei matto?” (but are you crazy?) There are also other enamored words for describing such mental fragility: “pazzo”, “folle” (from where the English have borrowed “folly”), “alienato” and of course, the obvious “insano”. Notice how “alienated” is a synonym for “insane”. I interpret this is a potential compliment, considering some of the insane groups one has had to historically separate oneself from, for fear of being consumed by “crazy, diabolical group think”. Still, I find “matto” a notably more “parola delicata” than is the “mattoid”, which is clearly lacking finesse or gentiility, particularly with the American nasal, face-front manner of speech. Not even the heady English vocalizations can redeem it. And why do the English have to many words for “crazy”, anyway? All those grey skies? Haunts from the colonial heyday? I do protest! I say we don our “happy hats” and dance a WestCoast Swing full of Rock Steps, Whips, Charlestons, and Sugar Pushes instead!! We’ll stomp that decaying mattoid yet! I command thee, “Death, be dead!”

  2. November 20, 2007 1:42 pm

    “As long as we don’t stomp any German nutcakes. Those are rather delicious,” says Orange Bear.

  3. Feline Ally Lilly Light permalink
    November 21, 2007 10:51 am

    So, it would seem, Orange Bear has something of a penchant for nutcakes after all: revealed!

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