An unnamed caller to
Words to the Wise asked about the word smithereens, as in, “the children smashed
the piñata into smithereens.” Invariably, it seems to go with verbs of
violence, such as blow, punch, shatter, knock, split, and pound.
It shows up in other Irish words, such as
colleen (young woman), kippeen (small
stick), boreen (small lane), birdeen (young bird or girl), buckeen (a younger
son of the poorer aristocracy), caubeen (small hat), and spalpeen (young workman or scamp).
Listen to Mike’s program in real
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also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.