Word of the Week

UESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2022

https://www.dictionary.com/e/word-of-the-day/skookum-2022-01-11/?param=wotd-email&click=ca77rh?param%3Dwotd-email&click=ca77rh&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Live%20WOTD%20Recurring%202022-01-11&utm_term=WOTD

skookum

skoo-kuhm ] 

adjective

large; powerful; impressive.

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WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF SKOOKUM?

Skookum “large, powerful, impressive” derives from Chinook Jargon, a pidgin spoken primarily during the 1800s in the Pacific Northwest that still has hundreds of speakers today. A pidgin is a simplified language variety that fuses elements from multiple languages, and Chinook Jargon is primarily based on four sources: English, French, Lower Chinook (a Chinookan language once spoken along the Columbia River), and Nootka (a Wakashan language still spoken along the western coast of Vancouver Island). However, skookum entered Chinook Jargon instead of Lower Chehalis, a Salishan language once spoken in the southwestern coastal area of the Olympic Peninsula; skookum derives from Lower Chehalis skwəkwə́m “ghost, spirit, monster.” Skookum was first recorded in English circa 1830.

HOW IS SKOOKUM USED?

[Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato] is perhaps now most widely associated with Baroque and bel canto opera—her skookum approach to the aria “Tanti affetti” from Rossini’s “La Donna del Lago,” with its dizzying runs and leaps up and down the staff, has made her rendition a cult favorite—but she is no less at ease with the gentle lines of the American songbook. JOEL ROZEN, “OPERA’S MISS CONGENIALITY TAKES ON A RARE ‘CINDERELLA,’” THE NEW YORK TIMES, APRIL 6, 2018

At the head of the anti-statehood efforts was the lobbyist for the Alaska Packers Association, W.C. Arnold. “The fishing and cannery industries employed W.C. Arnold, a man so powerful that he was called ‘Judge Arnold,’” Alaskan historian Claus Kaske told the San Francisco Chronicle in September of 2008. “Arnold was a skookum lobbyist, and he told Congress that business was paying the cost of running the territory.”DAVE KIFFER, “KETCHIKAN SUPPORTED ALASKA STATEHOOD, EVENTUALLY CHRONICLE, DAILY NEWS FOUGHT THE BATTLE LOCALLY,” SITNEWS, JANUARY 03, 2009

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