At some point at work last week, I said I was flabbergasted by something. I can't remember what -- I think it was some odd piece of news. Someone said, "flabbergasted?" He knew what it meant; he was just surprised to hear it used. But it fit my feeling at the moment. From the OED:
- To put (a person) in such confusion that he does not for the moment know what to do or say; to astonish utterly, to confound.
Yeah, that was about where I was. But being questioned about it put me into Talk Wordy mode, so I wanted to know where it came from. Turns out that no one really knows. The OED gives the most information:
- First mentioned in 1772 as a new piece of fashionable slang; possibly of dialectal origin; Moor 1823 records it as a Suffolk word, and Jamieson, Suppl. 1825, has flabrigast, meaning to gasconade, and flabrigastit, meaning worn out with exertion, as used in Perthshire. The formation is unknown; it is plausibly conjectured that the word is an arbitrary invention suggested by flabby or flap and aghast.
Gasconade? Glad you asked. From the OED:
- n. Extravagant boasting; vain-glorious fiction.
- v. To indulge in gasconades; to boast extravagantly.
Apparently, gasconade is a slur. It comes from Gascon:
- 1. A native of Gascony, a former province in south-western France.
- 2. One who resembles a Gascon in character; a braggart, boaster (the natives of Gascony being notorious as such).