Posted by Lewis on March 06, 2003
In Reply to: Re: Flabbergasted posted by R. Berg on March 05, 2003
: : Can anyone help on the origin of "flabbergasted," or is it just one of those made-up words that have survived over the years?
: Well, in a sense, all words have that history except the obsolete ones.
: Oxford Engl. Dict. says:
: Flabbergast . . . First mentioned in 1772 as a new piece of fashionable slang; possibly of dialectal origin; Moor 1823 records it as a Suffolk word, and Jamieson, "Suppl.," 1825, has "flabrigast" to gasconade, "flabrigastit" worn out with exertion, as used in Perthshire. The formation is unknown; it is plausibly conjectured that the word is an arbitrary invention suggested by "flabby" or "flap" and "aghast."
that's interesting - it must be the forerunner of "gob-smacked" as to flap (one's mouth) aghast is like the action of smacking one's open hand to one's gob as a gesture of shock-horror-surprise