Brouhaha. It was Webster’s “Word of the Day” a couple of days ago.
And, it is a word I don’t hear very often anymore. I am not sure if it is falling out of style — or — if I am getting to the point in my life when I am no longer in the midst of brouhaha circumstances.
Either way, it is a very good word. It sounds good to the ear, and it feels nice when you say it. Like you are a little on the Scottish side or something.
Of course, it means “a state of commotion or excitement.” A hubbub. An uproar. Even its definition is fun. Hubbub. Uproar.
As I think back on it, I can’t remember the last Brouhaha I was a part of. Most likely in my late 20s. Or even pushing it, my early 30s. After that time, it seems Brouhahas shifted more toward “dinners” or “cocktail parties.” There is rarely any sort of an uproar at dinner parties. The biggest excitement happens when those little tiny hot dogs wrapped in puffy pastry show up. So yes. The older-age-shift has more toward gatherings, or simply assemblies. And then later, we all quietly disperse, trying to go unnoticed as we are the first to leave.
Now, if any event lingers past 9 p.m., myself, and all my friends must retreat back to our cozy homes. It is a bit like the carriage turning back into a pumpkin. Only our skin wrinkles more. And our limps become more apparent and pronounced.
The origins of the word are a little obscure. When I looked it up, the dictionary said that some etymologists think brouhaha is “onomatopoeic” in origin.
Okay. That really cleared things up. Most of us know that an etymologist is a nerd who studies the meaning of words. To spot one, can be tough. They typically wear glasses, and most of them don’t really give a damn what their glasses look like, so long as they are functional. And the ratio for the etymologist is nearly 50% male/female. So that’s no help. Plus. They are rare. Paid jobs for experts in word-history are few. Every etymologist I have seen has worn a pale yellow bow tie. Okay. I’ve only seen one. And it was a picture. At the bottom of an article, he authored. But, I’m off track.
Brouhaha. And it’s origins. So, as I said, etymologists think brouhaha is “onomatopoeic” in origin. So what the crap is onomatopoeia? Well, I’m here to tell you. It is the naming of a thing by its sound. You name a thing, or action, by a vocal imitation of the sound it makes. Such as the words buzz or hiss. Or in this case, Brouhaha. (Broo-haha) (Or in my past experience, Brew-Ha-Ha!)
I’ll add one more twist. It could be biblical. Like yes, from the Bible. Other word-experts believe it comes from the Classical Hebrew phrase “barukh habba”, meaning “blessed be he who arrives” (Psalms 118:26). And then the French people gave it a ride from there.
So, believe what you will. We all do anyway.
But there it is, and that is all I know about it. Except for my past experiences in life that could be classified as Brouhaha-ific. Sort of like in the news here this week, when the kids from Clemson went crashing through their party-floor. Now that was a Brouhaha turned bad. Not really a ruckus. Not catastrophic. More like havoc and chaos.
I never had a floor-crashing incident. But, certainly, I’ve had various states of commotion or excitement.
Now, it has all simply scaled down, to accommodate my weathering tendencies. Excitement and commotion are relative. Like when the grocery is out of my favorite bagels.
And, if you will excuse me now, it is time for my B-12 and my Calcium. Party down, Kronenberger. Party down.
“They sicken of the calm who know the storm.”
― Dorothy Parker, Sunset Gun: Poems
“It is our ignorance of things that causes all our admiration and chiefly excites our passions.”
― Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful
“Yesterday, when it was tomorrow, it was too exciting a day for me.”
—Winnie the Pooh