Words: high-falutin, adj.

MAN CANNOT live by Wagner alone but things will have come to a pretty pass should one ever forage in the attic for Pinky and Perky's EP about that "high-falutin, pistol-tootin' [sic] son of a gun from Arizona, Ragtime Country Joe".

Nobody talks of low- falutin, or even very much of falutin. It was first recorded in mid-19th- century America, and duly called -a mite jocularly - an "odious word" by James Russell Lowell. The OED moots a variant upon fluting or flying but Jonathon Green's admirable Slang gathers other possibilities: the Dutch verlooten - casting lots; the Yiddish hifelufelem, boastful talk; and the American high saluting - something one accords an officer rather than the desultory gesture made in the quartermaster's stores.

Comments