Laugh-giving Words

Did you ever encounter a word that made you laugh? Here are a few I have laughed at since high school. Absquatulate. It means to leave. Next time you leave a room, say I’m going to absquatulate. Canoodle is a word I miss hearing. It means to hug and kiss. Work that into your vocabulary. “Honey, let’s canoodle.” Here are a few other words that make me smile: Lollygag means to loiter, to move slowly. Skedaddle is the opposite. “Quit lollygagging and skedaddle off to school,” your mother would say. A vomitory is an exit. If you stare at someone you are gongoozling. If you are talkative you have Logorrhea. Confuse others with your speech and you are a pettifogger, you are discombobulating people.


I come from an era where the word wicked meant evil, the word sick meant you needed medication and thongs you wore on your feet. Here are a few more words from the days when men were men and women were tired of it. Swell. Next time someone asks you how you’re doing, say, “Swell.” Swell was such a groovy word. And groovy gave way to “far out!” You used this when shocked by something good. “Dick Van Dyke is on? Far out, man. Like wow.” Fiddle sticks. My mildly exasperated mother said this a lot. When things got real bad she’d say, “For the love of Pete!” If older people wanted to insult each other they’d say, “Your mother wears army boots.” The strongest language I ever heard my good Presbyterian mother use was, “You stinker.” Man, that was swell.


Words. They can bring laughter, sadness, or great joy. Today I woke up a little discouraged, and picked up a book my dad read at breakfast when I was a kid. It’s called The Living Light. The cover is faded, but the words inside are as current as today’s news. And they’re life-giving. Here is what I read. “All honour to God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; for it is his boundless mercy that has given us the privilege of being…members of God’s own family. Now we live in the hope of eternal life because Christ rose again from the dead…You love him even though you have never seen him; and even now you are happy with the inexpressible joy that comes from heaven itself….For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has in mind for us to be.”


Some words are laugh-giving, some are life-giving. I hope these words from God’s Word have made you smile. When I put the book down I said, “Honey, come here. Let’s canoodle.” Now I need to vamoose. I need to absquatulate.

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Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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