the eleventh word herd

Knick-knack  — a dainty little trinket or ornament. “Knick” is merely a reduplication of knack. We now use knack as meaning “a dexterous facility,” but in the 1500s it was used to mean “an ingenious contrivance; a toy or trinket.”


A lick and a promise — refers to something being done quickly and not very well. For example, the perfunctory washing performed by children. (1850s)


Piping hot — very hot, usually referring to food. No, it doesn’t come from being “piped in” or “piped aboard.” It’s a reference to the sizzling, whistling sound made by steam escaping from a hot pie.


Tickety-boo — fine, okay, all correct. May have originated with the Hindi phrase “tikai babu,” which is what your Indian servant might have said when you told him to bring ’round the Bentley during the Raj. (1920s)


Twee — excessively quaint, pretty, sweet or sentimental. It appears to have developed from tweet, not the noise a bird makes, but a childish attempt at saying sweet. (Early 1900s)


Muckraking — the action of searching out and publicizing scandalous, embarrassing, or unpleasant information about famous people in an underhanded way. Stir up controversy.


  One thought on “the eleventh word herd

  1. Leanne Taylor
    August 15, 2021 at 6:52 am

    Excellent –
    Always entertaining
    And educational!

    I had to laugh at
    “A lick and a promise”.
    Always thought it was mildly disturbing when a mother used her spit to clean her children’s faces.
    Then came my own children …
    And I must admit to doing the same …
    (eliciting “Ick”s from them)
    With a promise from me that if they couldn’t do better, I’d do it for them. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 15, 2021 at 9:57 am

      LOL I remember “a lick and a promise” from my childhood and I don’t doubt that I got my face cleaned that way!


  2. Leanne Taylor
    August 15, 2021 at 11:39 am

    Your “piping hot” reminds me that my grandmother gave me a pie bird years ago.
    Do bakers still use these?

    Oh, and the pie bird does pipe: I tested it on a peach pie.
    Anybody hungry?

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 15, 2021 at 11:51 am

      I nothing about pie birds. I only know what the thing is because of how you used it in the sentence! lol And yes, if it’s peach pie, I’m hungry. Guaranteed!


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