My blog post last week was about a difficult subject, the American Civil War. I decided to write about a less serious topic today.
I was driving to one of my favorite places (the public library) recently, when the expression “stick-in-the-mud” flew into my head out of nowhere. I don’t have a clue what brought that on unless it was all the rain we’d had that week and our yard had turned into a sea of mud. Who knows how the human brain works?
When I got home, I thought: blog post! My research led me to idioms meaning essentially the same thing as stick-in-the-mud. Those others are “fuddy-duddy” and “old fogey.”
When were they first used?
One source says “stick-in-the-mud” was used as early as 1700, while Merriam-Webster attributes
it’s advent to 1832. English Through the Ages, by William Brohaugh says 1735.
Merriam-Webster says “fuddy-duddy” originated in 1904, while William Brohaugh’s book says
it came into general usage in 1905.
Merriam-Webster says “fogey” dates back to 1780. William Brohaugh agrees.
What does it mean?
All three of these idioms are colorful ways to insult someone for being old-fashioned, stuck in their ways, slow to accept change, etc.
Some examples of how the idiom is used
Don’t be such a stick-in-the-mud!
Don’t be a fuddy-duddy!
Get with the program. You’re being a stick-in-the-mud.
As language loses its color
I’m sad to report that “fuddy-duddy,” “fogey,” and “old fogey” did not make the cut when The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, by Christine Ammer was published in 1997. I guess that means I’m a fuddy-duddy and an old fogey for even including those expressions in today’s blog.
It’s idioms like “stick in the mud” that make the English language interesting. A synonym for it is “antediluvian,” but I much prefer “stick-in-the-mud.” Don’t you?
A question for multilinguals
For those of you who are fluent in languages other than English, do you know of a colorful idiom for antediluvian in another language?
A question for my friends and relatives
Are people calling me a stick-in-the-mud, a fuddy-duddy, or an old fogey behind my back? I hope not!
Since my last blog post
The spring weather has been beautiful! Our yard is ablaze with azalea blossoms and irises. I enjoyed doing a little yardwork, and I have stiff joints now to prove it. I also have poison oak on my face and arm to prove it, although I thought I was being careful to avoid it.
Until my next blog post
I hope you have a good book to read. I’m listening to The Lost Girls of Paris, by Pam Jenoff, and I’m reading The Good Sister, by Sally Hepworth.
I hope you have time for a hobby this week.
I hope the Covid-19 pandemic is getting under control where you live.