If you know me at all, you know I love Rachel Maddow. One of Rachel’s favorite words seems to be “Kerfuffle”. In fact one of the reasons I love Rachel is she routinely uses words like “kerfuffle” without missing a beat. So I decided to learn the origin of the word “Kerfuffle.” I already knew what it meant: a disturbance, row, or commotion of some sort but I wondered where such a funny-sounding word came from.
Apparently kerfuffle is a word that originally came from the 19th century Scots Language. And BONUS LEARNING!! (good thing, because I haven’t been keeping up real well with 1 entirely new thing EVERY day)….according to Wikipedia, Scots is the “Germanic language variety originally spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster” (next up—learn where Ulster is) and it is not the same as Scottish English or Scottish Gaelic. Kerfuffle has had many spellings over the years and actually has not been well-documented, probably because it was typically used so informally that it was said, but not often written. In fact, there have been kerfuffles over the origin and spelling of kerfuffle. C.S. Lewis says in his autobiography “I could put up with any amount of monotony far more patiently than even the smallest disturbance, bother, bustle, or what the Scotch call kurfuffle.”
Regardless of where it comes from, kerfuffle is one of my new favorite words. It perfectly describes what my dogs have several times a day and gives me an excuse to say a serious word and still sound a little silly.