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.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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