January 10, 2017 ☼ Word of the Day

Given to crotchets; subject to whims.

I see a lot when I hear “crochety.” I see an old man complaining about kiwi skin. “How can anyone stand that fuzzy nonsense?” And I see his half-listening wife as she crochets a doily with those bizarre little hooks. I see the fork of a human between their belly button and thighs. How can you not think of crotches?

What a fun word. It’s crackly like a milkless mouthful of Cap’n Crunch, but its “ety” suffix mollifies the crunch the slightest bit. Like “nicety” or “gaiety.” He’s not straight crotch (as the kids might say); just a touch. He’s crotchety.

Unfortunately for puerile minds, “crotch” is a red herring. This word has nothing to do with the fork of the body.

Crotchety is meant to evoke “crochet.” This is not the familiar verb of doily-making, but the noun which describes a peculiar whim or eccentricity. I’m fond of the example in Merriam-Webster:

Her one crotchet is a fondness for eating cookies while soaking in the tub.

Brenda, you are incorrigible.