Gentle suspense. Tortured heroes. Mischievous heroines.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Word of the Day Chowderhead

  • chowderhead
  • audio pronunciation
  • \CHOW-der-hed\
: dolt, blockhead
"No matter how hard I have tried I cannot stop them from yelling 'Chowderhead!' and trying to poke one another's eyes out…." — From Elizabeth Berg's 2002 novel True to Form

"Many of my fellow Americans enjoy the sport of football…. If you're like me, you often opine that you could run the team, the program, or the franchise in immeasurably greater fashion than the millionaire chowderheads currently employed to do so." — From an article by Timothy Geigner at, January 1, 2014
The "chowder" in "chowderhead" is neither New England or Manhattan (though one could speculate that a chowderhead has either type of clam chowder for brains). "Chowderhead" is a mispronunciation of "jolterhead," a derivative of the 16th-century insult "jolt head." Before being extended to a thickheaded person (i.e., a blockhead), the term "jolt head" was used literally for a large, heavy head. The etymology of "jolt head" is obscure; the term is likely connected somehow to the "jolt" that means "an abrupt jerky blow or movement," but the exact nature of the connection is not known.


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