Friday, May 26, 2006

Scottius Maximus Word Of The Month

For May, it's "tarnation". One of my favorites. Definition is from

tar·na·tion- (tär-nshn) New England & Southern U.S. n.
The act of damning or the condition of being damned.interj.
Used to express anger or annoyance.
[tarn(al) + (damn)ation.]
Regional Note: The noun and interjection tarnation illustrate suffixation, the addition of a suffix to a word. Tarnation and darnation (the latter probably having come first) are both euphemistic forms of damnation. Tarnation seems to have been influenced by tarnal, another mild oath derived from (e)ternal! The Oxford English Dictionary cites late-18th-century examples of tarnation from New England, indicating that it has been part of American speech since colonial days.


  1. Whoa! I didn't know it was that bad of a word. I previously only heard it on The Andy Griffith Show. Which I thought was wholesome.

  2. I know. TAGS must have been more subversive than previously believed.

  3. Doesn't Yosimite Sam use the word "tarnation" frequently?

  4. THAT'S where I've heard it on TV before! Yosemite Sam! Strong work.