Tuesday, July 08, 2014
Doug asked about the word crotchety. It is frequently—and unfairly—applied to an old person, and it means cranky and bristly.
Synonyms include bad-tempered, cantankerous, choleric, crabby, cross, crusty, curmudgeonly, fractious, grumpy, grouchy, ill-tempered, ill-humored, ill-natured, irascible, irritable, ornery, peevish, pettish, petulant, prickly, short-tempered, snappish, tetchy, testy, touchy, and waspish.
It came into Middle English from the French word crochet, a hook. Through the years, crochet referred to various hook-shaped or hook-like devices:
· A small device used for fastening things
· A surgical instrument
· A tool used to reap
· A device used by porters to carry parcels
· Animal or insect claws
· A peculiar notion
· A fanciful literary device
· A battle array
So, it’s as if a crotchety person is being jabbed or pricked, and is therefore irritable and difficult to approach.
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