What I Learned From My Mom: Jazz Hands and Fisticuffs

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My Mom has a language all her own. Well, for all the etymology geeks out there, it’s not so much a language as a vernacular or even a jargon. No matter how you categorize it, it’s a sort of word pizzazz that’s distinctly hers.

Over the years, we’ve collected these terms with the goal of someday making a bound thesaurus — a Mom-saurus if you will. (Though, on second thought, that may sound more like something from the Paleolithic era than a word reference). Semantics aside, it’d be packed with turns of phrase, idioms, and sayings that just might be on an endangered words list were it not for my mother.

A few of the real gems include terms like: ravs instead of ravioli; sconces for, well, sconces but used at a rate higher than that of true sconce sightings; fisticuffs for any sort of run-in, but, when said, it must be accompanied by the action of spinning clenched fists under your chin in the manner of the Fighting Irish mascot; and excessive use of the word traipsing, as in, “the cat was traipsing about the garden with no regard for the orchids I had just planted.”
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