Snickerdoodles and Other Silly Words

It’s another cookie baking day. The boy politely asked for snickerdoodles and though they are my least favorite cookie to eat, how can a mother refuse? Especially when the word “please” precedes the request. As I stood in my kitchen rolling boring, bland cookie after boring, bland cookie, it occurred to me that the most interesting thing about this particular treat is its name. Snickerdoodle. Who thought up this ridiculous name? It’s not even listed in my giant-sized Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language.

I found snicker, “to laugh in a disrespectful manner” and snickersnee, “a knife”. Did some mother in generations past make a grave error in her recipe and leave out the flavor? Upon eating the insipid cookie, did she make a self-deprecating remark comparing herself to a doodle, “a foolish or silly person?” Rather than kindly eating the cookie, did her family snicker at her error?

This is just one of the many, many silly words I adore. What’s not to love about kerfuffle, “a commotion”; rigamarole, “an elaborate, complicated procedure”; or hullaballoo, “an uproar?” I called my son doodlebug, “the larva of an antlion” for the first year of his life. Don’t even get me started on scallywag. You have read The Pirate’s Booty, haven’t you?