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July 11, 2010, 19:45
Short words this week. Let’s start with one that has a funny sound and a funny quote.

quiffchiefly British: a piece of hair brushed upwards and backwards from a man's forehead

Our quote provides proof (as if proof were needed) that men are clueless. Or at least, British men.
July 26, 2010, 19:14
nard – a fragrant ointment of the ancients. It apparently ranked right up with frankincense and myrrh.
July 27, 2010, 20:08
pogeyCanadian: the dole; government stipend
July 29, 2010, 07:08
niff – an unpleasant smell

Here used as a verb:
July 31, 2010, 19:42
whey – the watery part of milk that remains after curds form (i.e., the more “liquid” part of cottage cheese)It is a little-known fact that the spider, smitten with Miss Muffet, was merely trying to arrange a social introduction. Unfortunately, the minute swain stumbled over his own eight feet, and fell plop into Miss Muffet’s meal.
August 01, 2010, 08:39
An extra. I found this word, a new one to me, just a few minutes ago, while sipping coffee and reading my morning newspaper.
August 01, 2010, 15:30
This is the first I've heard of the word. But spange, blend of spare change or spare any change, apparently first appeared in print in The New York Times in 1996.
  • Leg-Rub Steve, a middle-aged married man, is one adult they can usually count on, but at this moment even he is letting Erin down. He is late, and Erin, a hyperactive Northern California child, is getting antsy. For distraction, he tries begging from the hipsters on a rain-slicked St. Marks. They call it ''spanging,'' a slurred ''spare any change?''

  • ''I don't spange much because I really don't like doing it. I eat out of trash cans a lot. Pizza. Hamburgers. Fries. Soda. Every now and again you luck out and find a pack of cigarettes.
    ''It's survival of the fittest. Those that aren't fit have to go home.''

Anne H. Soukhanov, author of Word Watch in 1995, published a "Word Watch" column in The Atlantic Monthly from September 1995 to December 2000. She records the word in her April 1997 column:

spange verb, slang, to panhandle for spare change: "'I don't spange much because I really don't like doing it. I eat out of trash cans a lot. Pizza. Hamburgers. Fries. Soda.... It's survival of the fittest. Those that aren't fit have to go home'" (young male living on the streets, quoted in The New York Times Magazine).
BACKGROUND: Spange is a slurred shorthand form -- an oral acronym, as it were -- of the question "Spare any change?" Like the expression traveler, used for a young drifter who rides the rails or hitchhikes from city to city, it comes from the argot of today's street punks. Some of those, ironically, are trustafarians -- rich or upper-middle-class youths living on the streets by choice. The term trustafarian, a blend of trust fund and Rastafarian, dates back to at least 1992 in British sources and reflects the dreadlocks hairstyles and neo-hippie, unkempt clothing affected by some of these youths.

The first use of the word I've found in a newspaper was in The Ledger - Feb 13, 1997 (Lakeland, Florida):
Carrie wanders off to take up her daily occupation of "spanging" (SPAIN-jing), begging for spare change.

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