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In case you dropped onto this page out of the blue, here is an intro to my 101 Favorite Words. And here are my picks from the letter B… (Oh, in case you’re curious, this photo is my own personal blimp. This is how I travel in my daydreams. Batman has his batmobile. I have my blimp.

Buckaroo – 1) Cowboy. American English, from bakhara (1827), from Spanish vaquero “cowboy,” from vaca “cow,” from Latin vacca. (`Vaquero’ is used especially in southwestern and central Texas and `buckaroo’ is used especially in California.) 2) A style of cowboy boot with a high and uniquely tapered heel. 3) A reckless, headstrong person. “Don’t run in looking for a fight like some kind of buckaroo.” 4) A dollar (variation of buck). “That’ll be twenty buckaroos, buddy.”

Although the song “Act Naturally” became popular due to the Beatles, the original was recorded in 1963 by ‘Buck Owens and his Buckaroos’ and became a No.1 hit. The Beatles did their cover of it in 1965, with Ringo Starr as lead singer. Ringo Starr later re-recorded the song as a duet with Owens in 1988.

So what would a female buckeroo be called? A buckeroozie?

Blimp – 1) a small nonrigid airship used for observation or as a barrage balloon. 1916. Common theory is that the word derives from the designers’ prototype nickname Type B-limp, in the sense of “without internal framework,” as opposed to Type A-rigid 2) any elderly pompous reactionary ultranationalistic person (after the cartoon character created by Sir David Low, Colonel Blimp.)

We’re going to stuff Colonel Blimp in his non-rigid airship and pack him off. He better hope his hot air can keep it aloft!

Blackguard – scullion, kitchen knave. Perhaps once an actual military or guard unit; more likely originally a mock-military reference to scullions of noble households, of black-liveried personal guards, and of shoeblacks. By 1736, sense had emerged of “one of the criminal class.” Hence the adjectival use (1784), “of low or worthless character.”

His mother was a fishmonger, his father was a whore and young Jack became a blackguard, picking pockets and nicking scented hankies from the ladies just for fun.

Boondoggle – American English. Originally coined by a scoutmaster to describe the woven lanyards made by boy scouts in the thirties, it then became popularized during the New Deal as a contemptuous word for a wasteful or impractical project or activity, often involving graft.

“The boondoggle, which leapt literally into fame overnight when it was introduced by the Rochester Boy Scouts at the jamboree in England, is a braided lanyard on which various things such as whistles can be hung. So fascinating do the boys find it, that they have spent practically all their spare time on the work.” Scouting Magazine, 1930

Borborygmus – a rumbling or gurgling noise made by the movement of fluid and gas in the intestines. From Greek borborygmos, from borboryzein “to have a rumbling in the bowels,” (imitative).

They ate their beans and franks and later, over the campfire, just when he was waxing romantic, she felt, so woefully, a herd of buffalo start to stampede in her belly, setting up a wild borborygmus.

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