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post #155
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Word Management: Fizgig & Flotsam and Jetsam

To: All Departments

From: Word Management Department

Re: New Words on File

FYI. Two new terms have been added to the database. They are:


This word was discovered on page 166 of Peter Carey's 2001 novel, True History of the Kelly Gang. When asked to turn over his mentor to the police, young Ned Kelly declares, ‘I ain't a fizgig'. In context, young Ned is saying he is not a stooge or a turncoat.

Research on has yielded a wide of variety of meanings including ‘a firework made of damp powder that makes a fizzing or hissing noise when it explodes' and ‘a gadding, flirting girl'. Fizgig is also a fishing term which means ‘an implement with a shaft and barbed point used for catching fish'.

The Word Management Department would like to request funds to travel to Victoria, Australia to research this term further.

Flotsam & Jetsam

On an episode of Project Runway, Tim Gunn looked at a dress and said there was a lot of ‘Flotsam and Jetsam' on it. The dress had a lot of bells and whistles on it. Since all the members of our department are obsessed with Project Runway (go Chloe!) and believe Tim Gunn has a great vocabulary, we decided to research this further.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Flotsam and Jetsam means ‘discarded odds and ends'. It can also mean ‘destitute homeless individuals'.

Again, the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms: Both words originated in 17th-century sailing terminology. Flotsam literally meant ‘wreckage or cargo that remains afloat after a ship has sunk.' Jetsam meant ‘goods thrown overboard from a ship in danger of sinking in order to give it more buoyancy.'

Now we know, and it's all thanks to Tim Gunn who can advise the wardrobe of the Word Management Department anytime.

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