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And speaking of . . .

Posted by R. Berg on January 20, 2003

In Reply to: Transparencies never cease posted by Word Camel on January 20, 2003

: : : : I was interested to learn that "yikes" is actually a word. It is listed in the American Heritage Dictionary in any case. It says the origin is unknown, but I thought it would be worth posting to see if anyone else has any information about it, how old it is, etc.

: : : : It's probably also one of those words that is always plural. I can't imagine there is such a thing as a "yike".

: : Okay, okay, I take the hint.
: : OED 1st ed. has no "yikes," pl. It has "yike," sing., "an imitation of the cry of the woodpecker."

: Many thanks, oh infinitely patient one. Of course it sounds nothing like a woodpecker, but in Korea dogs quack so I guess anything is possible.

Somebody e-mailed me this marginally relevant joke: A dog goes to a Western Union office and says he wants to send a telegram. He dictates the telegram to the clerk. It goes "Woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof." The clerk tells him that because there's a flat rate for the first 10 words, he can add another "woof" at no charge. The dog says "But then it wouldn't make sense."