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Funny Words And Quotes But Where Did They Come From?

We all hear funny words and sayings, but do you have any idea where they come from? Funny stuff!



Fascinating and Funny!

What's a Doofus?

Oh that Doofus, we all have millions of doofus around the house don't we? I personally can never find the doofus. I have so many arguments about who has moved the stupid thing, why I can't find it and so on.

The conversation usually goes something like this:

'Jess what you done with the doofus?' 'What doofus? 'You know the telly doofus'!

And so on. But why doofus and where the heck does that stupid word come from? Well here's the surprise. Its one of those English idioms that just appears out of nowhere and takes up residence in every single home from here in England to Kentucky USA!

But is it English? Well lets see.

According to Urban Dictionary, a doofus is actually someone who hasn't got a clue. As in, you are one hell of a doofus! Of course this is the polite version.

The Scots translate it with a lot of swearing in it! But this is pretty accurate too.

Dimwit. Nitwit. Halfwit!

Actually there is a belief that it comes from the Scottish word Doof meaning dolt. Or even the German doof meaning the same.

Evidently it appeared sometime in the 1960s. Don't ask me where, I would have to take a look in the doofus!

Mind you there is another story concerning the good old doofus, duffus or duffos!

Doofus  Dog!

Doofus Dog!



Fisog Visage Visard!

Now this is a word! My gran always said fisog and we never ever questioned it! But what the hell did she mean?

Well the conversation would go like this.

'My goodness, he had a right fisog on him'! In other words he was ugly. Or more to the point, his face (fisog) was ugly! No, my gran was a nice lady, but she did have her moments!

It wasn't until I got older did I start to question the word. Where did it come from?

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Well here's the thing. Evidently the French word for face is, wait for it......

Visage! Ah now I see it! But it doesn't stop there. I had to stop and think. How would my gran who never went out of her village in all her life, know the French word for face? Or should I say, her version of the word?

Evidently there is another word which is similar, and makes more sense.

Over here in England back in the 1600's, ladies who would 'Go abroad' which meant getting in a coach and going into town, often wore a mask.

It was the 'Done thing' at the time. And the name of the mask? A visard

Here's a little bit of history for you.

Madame Royer

Madame Royer

The Visard and the Renaiisance.

The visard was a strange looking mask. It was made from black velvet and didn't have ties to keep it on the face. The woman would have to place a button or bead in her mouth by clenching her teeth, which was attached to the mouth part of the mask.

The original use of the Visard was to stop sunburn ruining a woman's face and reputation. Back in the 16th and 17th century and for quite a while afterwards women who sported suntans were said to be 'Poor and low class'.

These early version masks became much more flamboyant when Charles II came to the throne after the harsh and stifling years of Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan rules.

There were parties galore, everybody was happy and the ladies changed the Visard to fancy Ball Masks which they wore at parties and even going out in the day.

Here's a contemporary writer bemoaning the horrors of the Visard. (below)

Visard Restoration Charles II

Visard Restoration Charles II

When they use them to ride abroad, they have visors or visards made of velvet...

Where with they cover all their face, having holes made in them against their eyes, where they look so that if a man that knew not their guise before

should chance to meet them he would think he had met a monster or a devil:

for her face he can see none, but two broad holes against her eyes, with glasses in them.

— Phillip Stubbs

Native American/India headdress

Native American/India headdress



And last but not least......

Here's a few more:

  • Q: Wet your Whistle?
  • A: English pub owners would bake a whistle in the drinking cup, so when they ran out of drink and needed another one they would just whistle!
  • Q: A feather in your cap!
  • A: Adding a feather in their cap when they killed another enemy! In the case of American Indians it says that a feather in a cap or headdress meant bravery or a brave deed.
  • Q: Cat got your tongue?
  • A:Middle eastern ancient tradition of ripping out people's tongues when they were lying, and feeding them to the cat.....!
  • Q: Get out of the bed the wrong side.
  • A: This is traced back to the Romans. If someone got out of bed on the left side then they would have a bad day.
  • Q:And my Favorite has to be. Hoisted by your own Petard.
  • A: A Petard was a primitive weapon or bomb that was used to 'blow the doors off' Yep sorry about the Italian Job quote, couldn't resist!

Hoisted by my own What???


" Hoisted with your own Petard'

A Petard was a small machine used to blow up doorways back in the day, as in:

I only told you to blow the doors off'!

But Hoisted by your own Petard meant 'Ya blew yourself up ya stupid......!'

Hoisted by your own Petard.

Hoisted by your own Petard.!

So, there you go. Whether you have been hoisted by your own Petard, got a feather in your cap or just forgot where you put your doofus, at least you know where the sayings started from.


Where DID I put that Doofus?!

© 2016 Nell Rose


Nell Rose (author) from England on November 05, 2019:

Thanks Patricia, lol! yes words can be very weird!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 04, 2019:

O my...chuckling all the while. Language can take us on all sorts of circuitous routes, can it not? Enjoyed your tutelage this afternoon. thanks for sharing Angels are headed your way ps

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 16, 2019:

LOL! Thanks Tim you always make me smile!

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on March 16, 2019:

Hi, Nell,

Do you think a doofus could put a visard over her fesog if asked? I mean, if the person (whoever) doesn't trip over a petard. I keep my petard under lock and key, Thank you very much. lol

Another great article, Nell. You kept me laughing at how words can come into our language and gradually change or disappear.

Much respect,


Nell Rose (author) from England on September 25, 2016:

LOL! thanks Shyron! you are a poet but didn't know it! thanks for reading, lol!

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on September 25, 2016:

I have written a limerick.

There once was an Englishman

who made himself a petard

instead of blowing a hold in the door

The dang thing hoisted him way out in the yard. ---by Shyron Shenko

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 25, 2016:

Thanks Jo, yes its great so far. And good to see you back, I would love to see more of your writing, have a great Sunday :)

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on September 24, 2016:

Now came back to see your response. I am better than i was...Still have not reach where i would like to be. As in having my spirit lifted to do what i love!

But by God's help i would be fine..Maybe sometime i will write about it.

Hope your weekend is going good thus far!

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 16, 2016:

Hiya Jo, great to see you back! lol! yes I am still crazy! sorry to hear you have had a bad few months, hope you are getting along better now?

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on September 16, 2016:

Nell Rose, hello its been a long while i see that you have not lost your sense of humour. Abd that you are still crazy. I don't think i said How dee doo for 2016.

I hope all is well with you. I have had some tuff months, but coming along by God's grace.

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 24, 2016:

Thanks Alun, yes words and meanings fascinate me, I have to go look for something when someone says its, drives me mad sometimes! lol! thanks for reading, nell

Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on July 24, 2016:

Always interesting to learn where phrases and words have originated, and how the origins may tell us something of the way people lived in the past, so thanks for this. Some interesting facts here. Alun

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 28, 2016:

Thanks Frank, always great to see you!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on April 25, 2016:

had to come back and reread this because just heard a few people saying these slangs.. made me think of this piece...:)

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 22, 2016:

Thanks again Koffee! lol! yes we do say the stupidest things don't we?

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on March 22, 2016:

What a great hub. I was amused all the way through. Love those old sayings. They certainly were colorful.

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 20, 2016:

Hi Ann, lol! yes doofer is used in my house for everything! apart from an insult, its always stuff! petard is interesting, thanks!

Ann Carr from SW England on March 20, 2016:

Great read and great fun, Nell. My education is widened!

Did you know that 'petard' is now used in French to mean a 'banger' as in firework or 'firecracker'? Fascinating how words mutate as time goes by.

The word 'doofer' is used a lot in my family, usually, like you, as in 'where's the doofer?' There are certainly a lot of doofers in every house.


Nell Rose (author) from England on March 02, 2016:

lol! yes its a great word that covers a lot of doofers!

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on March 01, 2016:

Whenever I hear 'doofer' I just think of the German and most times it seems to fit.


Nell Rose (author) from England on March 01, 2016:

lol! thanks lawrence, I will have to remember that if I go to Germany! Haha! thanks as always, nell

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on February 29, 2016:


Loved these. In German still today they use the word 'Dorf' for someone who's stupid as in an idiot! (its a very abrupt and not very polite way of saying it!)

Great fun.


Nell Rose (author) from England on February 23, 2016:

Hi bravewarrior, lol! yes its not a pretty sight! but its weird isn't it where all these sayings come from, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 23, 2016:

Thanks Deb, always great to hear from you!

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 23, 2016:

Hi Martie, yes! I do think I heard it was the same in German too! I think a lot of English came from our mixture of cultures, French German and even Norwegian, we have a long history of being invaded! lol!

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 23, 2016:

Thanks so much Frank, yes funny words seem to be known all over the world, amazing how much we all know them!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on February 23, 2016:

I've never heard of a doofus being a thing. In my neck of the woods, it's a stupid person or someone who has no common sense.

Cat got your tongue took me by surprise. I had no idea tongues of liars were ripped out and fed to cats! Oh, the visual is not pretty....

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on February 23, 2016:

Always an informative, yet entertaining read. Who says that learning can't be fun?

Martie Coetser from South Africa on February 21, 2016:

Language is a very interesting phenomenon. I can spend hours searching for the source of a specific idiom.

The word 'doof' in Afrikaans, pronounced.... my goodness, the English does't have a sound for our 'oo', but it sound somewhat like the 'oo' in the surname 'Moore' - Roger Moore. Only much flatter, and the 'f' is a plosive, as it is in the curse f-u-something-k. Anyway, the meaning of 'doof' in Afrikaans is 'deaf'. A person who cannot hear is 'doof'. I think we have some kind of a connection here?

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on February 20, 2016:

Nell Rose this was so entertaining and so worth the read thank you :)

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 20, 2016:

Hi Shyron, lol! yes we always find words to cover the fact that we can't darn well remember anything! LOL! thanks as always, and have a wonderful weekend, nell

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on February 19, 2016:

Here in the USA a Doofus, would be an ignoramus, and if you meant the thing-a-ma-jig or the whatchamacallit would be the remote for the TV but to wet your whistle is to take a drink of water, and a feather in your cap would be something you did that you can brag about.

Blessings my friend.

Thank you so much for the humor.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 15, 2016:

Funny and enjoyable read. A few I knew, the rest added to my knowledge. Thanks.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 14, 2016:

Thanks MsDora, it was one of those conversations with my hubby that started me off on this route! lol!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 14, 2016:

I've heard one person refer to another as a "doofus" and by your explanation, the usage was appropriate. Thanks for this and all the other explanations. Good for us to know what we're talking about when we use these terms from across the other side of the ocean.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 10, 2016:

Thanks John, yes everything in my house is a doofus! lol! over here we tend to use it for things more than people, nell

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on February 10, 2016:

Very entertaining ans fun to read of these sayings Nell. My wife and I often call each other "a doofus" if we do or say something extremely silly. Had never heard of a "fisog" or "petard" however. Thanks for the history lesson.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 10, 2016:

Thanks phoenix, glad you liked it, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 10, 2016:

Thanks Alicia, I love it too, and thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 10, 2016:

Thanks peoplepower, yes I love old words and sayings too, there are plenty more I need to research, lol! thanks

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 10, 2016:

Thanks so much emge, what a great comment, thanks, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 10, 2016:

Thanks Vellur, glad you liked it, nell

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on February 10, 2016:

I like learning where words and phrases came from. Some are funny, some are strange but all are interesting. Thanks for this.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 09, 2016:

Thanks for this enjoyable and informative hub, Nell. I love exploring the origin of sayings, too. It's a very interesting activity!

Mike Russo from Placentia California on February 09, 2016:

Thanks for writing this. It clears up some things for me. I love the origin of words and sayings. Nice job.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on February 09, 2016:

Its a wonderful post and enjoyed reading it. You certainly are a top hubber

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 09, 2016:

Hi Flourish, yes its probably just an English thing! lol! thanks, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 09, 2016:

Thanks DDE, I do love these funny words and sayings because there is always a real reason behind them!

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 09, 2016:

Aw thanks Chitrangada, yes writing is an easy way of sitting down and being productive at the same time! lol! yes this is English slang, so must be hard for anyone else to understand what the heck we are talking about! lol! but thanks so much for reading, and remembering I had an accident, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 09, 2016:

Hi Dabble, thanks for reading, I expect it all depends on where you come from? yes I am getting out the wrong side of the bed lots of times these days! lol!

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 09, 2016:

Thanks Paintdrips, yes me too! I loved researching these, thanks for reading,, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 09, 2016:

lol! thanks Kathleen, yes wet my whistle! who would have guessed that one? amazing! thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 09, 2016:

Hi rebecca, thanks so much, yes there are so many sayings that we take for granted but have no idea where or when they first appeared from! thanks for reading, nell

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on February 09, 2016:

Interesting enjoyed reading and learned many new words that I have never come across. Voted up.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 09, 2016:

I'm used to the term "doofus" but some of the others are new to me.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 09, 2016:

Great hub! I Tweeted! Informative and interesting. The way you explained in detail and with good research shows your interest in the topic.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 09, 2016:

Honestly I looked up into the dictionary to understand, what 'Doofus' actually means since I was not very clear about its meaning. But now it is clear.

Enjoyed reading your hub and it is good to see you writing fun hubs although you are in pain . I hope you are recovering fast.

Thanks for an enjoyable read and have a good day!

DabbleYou on February 08, 2016:

Interesting. The only familiar words and phrases for me are "doofus" and "Get out of the wrong side of the bed". :)

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on February 08, 2016:

Very educational. I loved learning a new thing or two, like Petard. And the part about the masks. Thanks for sharing.

Kathleen Kerswig on February 08, 2016:

Great hub! I smiled all the way through. Thanks for sharing about wetting my whistle. My parents used to say that all the time and now I understand where they got it from! Most members of my family spent a lot of time wetting their whistles!!! LOL! Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on February 08, 2016:

Nice hub, fun to read! My grandma had so many wise old sayings, I think of one almost every day. I've often thought about creating a Hub similar to this, I am so glad to see you did it, and you did it well!

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 08, 2016:

lol! thanks suzette, we aim to please! LOL! I just love funny words and sayings, they always have a strange history!

suzettenaples on February 08, 2016:

Haha! Funny hub! I enjoyed reading this! Who knew where these words and phrases came from? Clever write, Nell!

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 08, 2016:

Hi Savvy, lol! we tend to use stronger language for an annoying stupid person! Glad I made you laugh! have a great week, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 08, 2016:

Hi Ruby, thanks so much I love this sort of thing, find out one thing and off i go with the lot!

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 08, 2016:

HIya Jackie, a doofus is everything in my house! lol! thanks as always, nell

savvydating on February 08, 2016:

Ha! This is especially funny (and educational) because it helps the Americans readers to learn something about how those in England use certain words differently (to an extent). For example, an American would not say, Where's the doofus" in referring to the remote control. We just say, "What a doofus," in referring to an annoying person.

Also, I've never heard of petard or visog. If I blew my petard, I guess I'd be a goner for sure! Lol. As for the cat got your tongue thing. Eeek! The mere thought is horrible. Maybe I won't say that again!!

This article is just what I needed at the end of a long work day (where I'm supposed to be working right now). ;) Thanks for making me laugh, Nell.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on February 08, 2016:

I always wondered how a feather in her cap got started. Over here I've heard someone call another doofus, never know the origin. Fun read Nell. Thank you..

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 08, 2016:

Doofus is always a person not a thing where I come from. lol A really dumb person.

Never before heard of Petard. New one on me. All the rest though part of my language!

Interesting and fun read.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 08, 2016:

Thanks mactavers, glad you liked it, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 08, 2016:

Thanks Bill, yes still bruised but getting there, could have been worse! lol! glad it made you laugh too, I always say doofus!

mactavers on February 08, 2016:

Fun facts. Another great Hub.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 08, 2016:

That was a fun read. Doofus is one of my favorite words....thanks for the enjoyable read this morning. Hope you are recovering and doing better.

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