Putting A ‘K’ Into Chaos, Conflict And Commotion

It’s a day well spent when you learn something new. My learning for today was the word “kerfuffle“. Such a pleasant word for denoting a commotion or fuss caused by conflicting views. It can be described as a humorous-sounding word for a non-humorous situation. As the comic strip below reveals, it serves to lighten up the mood when venturing into serious topics.


Fuffle was first used in Scottish English, as early as the 16th century, as a verb meaning “to dishevel.” The addition of the prefix car- (possibly derived from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning “wrong” or “awkward”) didn’t change the meaning of the word considerably. In the 19th century carfuffle, with its variant curfuffle, became a noun, and in the 20th century it was embraced by a broader population of English speakers and standardized to kerfuffle. There is, however, some dispute among language historians over how the altered spelling came to be favored.

Here’s another passage I found that extols it’s cheerfulness:

“Maud burst into the room causing such a kerfuffle you’d have thought someone had been murdered. Turned out one of the cupcakes for the tea break had been pilfered. ‘Tut, some people’ I said, discreetly brushing cake crumbs from my lap.”

And here’s some plain old fun usage of the word:

Pearls Before Swine - pb160403comb_ts.tif

Kerfuffle is all around us. Who would have thought?!



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