Most and least favorite words. #4

This post continues my top ten lists of favorite words and un-favorite words.

Favorite word #4:  Knucklehead.

This word makes my list because I use it often to describe myself, and because its true derivation is so different than one would expect. Most of us think this is a synonym for ass, birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, buffoon, dimwit, dolt, donkey, dope, dork, drip, dufus, dullard, dunderhead, fool, goof ball, ignoramus, imbecile, jerk, lame-brain, moron, nerd, nincompoop, nitwit, numskull, oaf, pinhead, scatterbrain, simpleton, and twit. (Thank you, Dictionary.com.) But Wikipedia tells us that the knucklehead was a Harley-Davidson motorcycle engine that was so-named because of the distinct shape of the rocker boxes. As the design of Harley-Davidson engines has evolved through the years, the distinctive shape of the valve covers has allowed Harley enthusiasts to classify an engine simply by looking at the shape of the cover. A knucklehead engine has round knobs on the cover that resemble knuckles, giving the knucklehead its name.

Unfavorite word #4: But.

I was born a cynic, and this is a word that comes altogether too naturally for me. I need to cut back consciously on using the word but, but it still remains my top critique of my own communications style and word selection. Rats! That resolution didn’t get far.

I act like a knucklehead frequently, but it makes my life more fun because I can laugh at myself.

 

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One Response to “Most and least favorite words. #4”

  1. Bryan Lungo says:

    So how did the word knucklehead go from being a motorcycle engine to indicating someone’s lack of perception or intelligence…perhaps I am a knucklehead for asking this question?

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