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1. Halfwit-ticism, 2. Half-witticism
  [vote for,

1. Statement which suggests that its speaker is or may be a halfwit, particularly statements made with humourous intent which are for whatever reason judged to be completely witless: e.g., "Working hard or hardly working?"

2. Humorous statement on the Halfbakery which is sensible only within the context of this site.

Monkfish, Nov 24 2000

A page full of definition number 2? http://www.halfbake...ea/Uberhomingpigeon
[PotatoStew, Nov 24 2000, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Urban Dictionary http://www.urbandictionary.com
A website to post and find definitions for words and phrases not (yet) in standard dictionaries. [Apache, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny http://en.wikipedia...pitulates_phylogeny
Now discredited. [Blumster, Feb 15 2005]


       "Hardly working hard"
thumbwax, Nov 25 2000

       "What can I do you for?"
danrue, Nov 30 2000

       "Can ya do me a flavor?"
danrue, Nov 30 2000

       "What goes around comes around"
hippo, Jan 19 2001

       "I could care less."
centauri, Jan 19 2001

       Don't forget about the ones that aren't humorous, but nonetheless serve warning that the speaker is witless. Stuff like "I'm not religious, but I'm spiritual," "love at first sight" and "match made in heaven." The one about "not religious/just spiritual" is definitely one of the worst. But there's also the repertoire issued by corporate drones who must rely on cliches as a crutch for imagination. For example, "bringing something to the table" or having "a lot on my plate." Then there's "window of opportunity," "win-win situation," "glass ceiling" and "welcome aboard"--God, I HATE that one. Aboard WHAT? Abject misery? Also: "economic model"--as if cupidity has anything to do with structure. I could continue, but (here's another one) "you get the idea."
rachele, Jan 20 2001

       Actually, Rachele, cupidity has everthing to do with economic structure, *cubiformity* is specious.
Scott_D, Jan 20 2001


       No, no; I disagree. The definition of cupidity is simply "greed," which is an underlying motivator, not a an elaborate method--that is, "structure"--one wields to achieve their (often ill-gotten) gains. What I'm saying is that glossing over it and assigning the legitimate-sounding term "economic model" seems a roundabout way to the good old-fashioned, straightaway method of just ripping everyone off, which is what business amounts to anyway. I mean, be real about this. You can assemble all the "economic models" you want, but what's behind it? Cupidity. What I'm saying is, just get it over with and stop making it sound carefully thought-out and benign.
rachele, Jan 20 2001

       Oh, I have another one: "Number theory". You can talk about math all you want, but at bottom I'm pretty sure it's just a bunch of people fooling with perfectly ordinary numbers and trying to sound smart. Man that makes me mad. And people who go on about "politics" and "political systems", trying to dignify something that's just about a bunch of people who want to be able to tell other people what to do. And those who swank around talking about "automobiles" and "Wankel rotary engines" when those are really just heaps of smelly metal. Thank goodness there are people like me who are clever enough to see through it all.
Monkfish, Jan 20 2001


       Thank you, because that's exactly it. That's what I was trying to say, though I think you did a lot better job of illustrating it than I did. I know that economic "models" are based on cupidity, and I agree with Scott_D on that, but the point is that people who play fast and loose with these sort of terms are simply attaching to a basic, distasteful fuction a euphemism that makes it seem legitimate, logical (though, interestingly and conveniently, beyond our understanding) and therefore, somehow "okay." It's probably all hooey, of course, but once you shroud it in challenging configurations, that "hooey" is less evident to many, many people.   

       In summary, euphemism is advertising's best friend; advertising, as most of us are aware, is the sine qua non of consumer fraud.
rachele, Jan 20 2001

       Sarcasmo strikes again and claims another victim with his subtlety.
PotatoStew, Jan 20 2001


       Who is "Sarcasmo"? Surely you don't mean me. Anyway, I didn't detect any sarcasm in these remarks whatsoever. Just the facts, sir.
rachele, Jan 20 2001

       Anyway, with a name like "PotatoStew," you don't need to be criticizing anyone.
rachele, Jan 21 2001

       Ouch, rachele... please, no need to insult me. I was referring to Monkfish as Sarcasmo, not you. Monkfish has been known to exhibit some sarcasm on occassion, and unless I'm mistaken (and if I am, then I certainly apologize to all involved), he didn't actually agree with you, but was instead poking a little fun at your comments.
PotatoStew, Jan 21 2001


       No, seriously: Where did your name come from? (Sorry it seemed like I was insulting you. I couldn't do that, though--I don't even know you!)   

       So monkfish seemed to be making fun of me? No news there. Everyone makes fun of me--heh heh! I didn't get that impression, though. Probably I'm oblivious to it by now.   

       Anyway, I do apologize. No hard feelings, okay?
rachele, Jan 21 2001

       Not a problem, rachele. Sorry I was vague in my original remark. By the way, I totally agree with you on the "not religious/just spiritual" thing. What exactly does that mean?   

       Another possible halfwitticism: "Let's run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it."
PotatoStew, Jan 22 2001

       Yeah, that one and "put that in your pipe and smoke it." That one must be older than Tut, but people still say it. Or "try that on for size." Phew.
rachele, Jan 22 2001

       "What star sign are you?"
hippo, Jan 22 2001

       "Well it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other."   

       Just heard this for the first time last week and I had to stop the speaker to make sure I understood what she meant: "Either way, it doesn't matter." Uh, sure.
iuvare, Jan 22 2001

       I ain't doin' it for my health (overheard from person out for morning exercise/walk) I pointed out the halfwitticism-thankfully, only took a moment for the person to "get it"
thumbwax, Jan 22 2001

       When people tell you to "have a nice day," just say "thanks, but I have other plans."
rachele, Jan 22 2001

       "You try it first." ----- Here's your sign.
reensure, Jan 23 2001

       "Well, be that as it may", "Oh, that's a whole nother (sic) thing", "I could tell you but then I would have to kill you",
bristolz, Jan 24 2001

       "Just as an FYI..." "Nothing's impossible." "You can't even taste the mushrooms."   

       Funny, there were hard returns in the Annotation box.
centauri, Jan 24 2001

       "Proof's in the pudding."   

       "Pass the buck."
iuvare, Jan 24 2001

       "Close only counts in horseshoes and handgrenades."
"Close enough for government work."
"Close enough for jazz."
PotatoStew, Jan 24 2001

       juvare, et al:   

       I have been wanting to know what "proof of the pudding" means since I first heard it. What the hell is "proof of the pudding"? Can anyone explain this to me? It's driven me crazy forever, especially because there's a catering company in town that actually calls itself that. Which, of course, is even more puzzling, because now I not only don't know what "proof of the pudding" is supposed to mean, but I don't understand why a caterer would choose that as its name.   

       I can assemble some sense from most of these, stupid and irritating and unimaginative as they are, but what's this s&*($ about "pudding"?
rachele, Jan 25 2001

       "peal your eyes" thats just DISGUSTING! everytime i hear it i gringe. also, anyone using the word "tolleration" or "acceptince" in a positive manner. people who wear crystals, and "the cats meow" or "the leader of the pack"
cybercyph, Jan 25 2001

       rachele - The full saying is "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" meaning (with relation to puddings only) that whilst it may look and smell wonderful you never know whether or not it's going to be any good until you actually taste it. In a wider context it's kind of an anti "style-over-substance" saying which can be applied to anything that looks good so far, but has yet to show you whether or not it can actually do what it's really truly there for. (e.g. Hotels with flash reception areas, but what about the rooms / service? Bands with looks and attitude, but what about the music, etc).   

       On a more general note this thread appears to have mutated into a "phrases we hate" discussion, so I'll add in one that bugs me - when someone says "pacifically" when they mean "specifically". That winds me up out of all proportion. In fact, I can feel a letter to the Daily Telegraph coming on.   

       Can't see too much wrong with "six of one, half a dozen of the other" or "either way, it doesn't matter", though.
mark_t, Jan 25 2001

       Another one which at first sight appears stupid is "the exception that proves the rule". What many people don't realise is that 'prove' in this phrase is actually used in the sense of 'test', as in "proving" a horse.
hippo, Jan 25 2001

       Thank you, waugsqueke. "Nucular" is also at the top of my list (along with apostrophes used in words that are PLURAL!!! and not possessive). Most irritating and disappointing of all was the fact that Jimmy Carter (whom I do not hate) said "nucular," and he was not only President of the U.S., but even had a degree in Nuclear Physics! I mean, just what IS a nucule?!!   

       ...calming down now...
beauxeault, Jan 25 2001

       "Ec cetera." Do the people who say it this way have ANY idea what it's for and what it means, or are the just aping? (Or horsing around?)
centauri, Jan 25 2001

       waugsqueke: It isn't over 'til the Fat Lady sings (which apparently has nothing to do with opera and everything to do with steam trains, but that's a *whole* other thread.)   

       beauxeault: Apparently the most common mistake from genuine non-native-English speakers is to say "unclear" rather than "nuclear", which leads to the study of "unclear physics" - an improvement over the original if you ask me.
mark_t, Jan 25 2001

       centauri: Or whether they know what "per se" means for that matter.
iuvare, Jan 25 2001

       Hey, I only just learned what "per se" means (which is why I avoid using it), but when people, especially those on radio or television, say "ec cetera" rather than "ET cetera," or if someone writes the abbreviation "ect." I could spit. I don't care if they don't know Latin, but it's just wrong to use phrases when you're just imitating and don't know what they mean.   

       "Febuary" drives me insane too. Would the radio personality who says "Febuary" also say "libary"?
centauri, Jan 25 2001

       centauri: I agree--It's not whether one knows where the word or phrase came from that bothers me so much as whether they know what it means and when to use it. (Indeed, I just learned what "proof is in the pudding" meant this morning after viewing mark_t post. Thanks, mark.) Most, however, simply imitate the context in which they heard the phrase without really knowing what it means.   

       waugsqueke: "eX-presso" instead of "eSpresso" is another gem.
iuvare, Jan 25 2001

       waugsqueke: Well, I should hope so...
PotatoStew, Jan 25 2001

       Why keep looking when you have found it?   

       Proof. Only mathemiticians proove things, everyone else demonstrates. Prahaps. What-everrr. However, there is allways room for inuendo.
Gimp, Jan 26 2001

       Oh dear! I say all this stuff. Er...help?
DrBob, Jan 26 2001

       DrBob: I would be willing to bet that everyone offering up these halfwitticisms has personally used one or more of the offending phrases at some point(s). The key question is, have you repented of your evil ways?
PotatoStew, Jan 26 2001

       Potatostew: I certainly have used a lot of these phrases. See, it's one of those things that, when I first here a lame phrase, I think "Okay, that's dumb." Then, when the opportunity presents itself, I use the phrase sarcastically. Over time, however, the phrase works its way into my regular vocabulary and the line between sarcasm and actual intent blurs to the point that I don't even think to express myself properly and say something like "you hit the nail on the head"...and mean it.
iuvare, Jan 26 2001

       Getting back onto the original topic (though "Febuary" and "libary" and "heighth" are certainly sure and instant indicators, and ones I would love to go on about a little more), have you ever had anyone tell you, "You have a very old soul"? Has anyone out there ever heard this and actually managed to control their grimmace--or vomit? Much more effective pick-up lines are the ones that at least have the decency to be blatantly idiotic, such as "My friend here and I (no, sorry, they'd be more likely to say "me," but let that pass)--my friend here and I were having a discussion. Is the plural 'octopusses' or 'octipi'?" I actually was the recipient of this one. Well, okay, it was when I was still in school and hadn't yet learned that one avoids the kind of places one might risk hearing such a thing.   

       And then I got a little older and learned that one hears much worse EVERYWHERE.
rachele, Jan 27 2001

       Dear PotatoStew,

Sadly not. In fact, my conversation has become so chogged (HA![See definition No.2 of half-witticism for explanation]) with half-witticisms that it's become increasingly difficult to make much sense of anything that I say to anyone. Now, what can I do you for?
DrBob, Jan 27 2001

       Actually the phrase "what can I do you for" could be a legitimate question when asked by a hooker.
buckrogers, Jan 27 2001

       I think the people saying "do you for" are aware of the double entendre. The problem is that they're overusing an already well-worn joke.
jutta, Jan 27 2001

       Not so longer ago I heard someone described as "a minefield of information".   

John Youles, Jan 28 2001

       Just because they're cliche's, doesn't mean they're evidentiary of small intellects. I love cliches, if only for the irony, kitschiness, etc. The reason they are cliche is because they work, because they're cute, etc.   

       A lot of the things you bring up are either self-evidentiary (for instance, "Have a good one" definitely refers to day, and "Welcome aboard" is a metaphor likening an office to a ship), not idiotic, or just ordinary, neither of which makes them a sign of dimwittedness. I think you all owe the world an apology.
ShoutingMatch, Jan 28 2001

       Oh, wait, I left out "You cynical bastards. You cynical cynical cynical 'I'm a product of gen-x look at me blah!' bastards."
ShoutingMatch, Jan 28 2001

       You have a good point, ShoutingMatch; however, I think there is a distinction here that is getting lost. I don't think phrases like "welcome aboard" or "have a good one" really fit under the proposed definition of halfwitticism (even though they have been offered up here). They aren't usually intended to be funny, instead they are just innocuous greetings or sentiments, even if they are a bit overused for some folks tastes.   

       But statements like "Working hard or hardly working" or "What can I do you for" are usually said in an attempt to be humorous. A true halfwitticism (by my reckoning) is usually accompanied by a goofy grin and an implied "heh heh... did you notice that clever play on words... wasn't that witty?" that just doesn't hold up because of the overuse that those phrases have endured.
PotatoStew, Jan 28 2001

       Also, "welcome aboard" points back to a sense of community on ships, where every person has to some degree to depend on the others. If, say, I make partner in a law firm and my fate is truly entangled with that of the speaker, "welcome aboard" is appropriate. But more often than not, the ship metaphor (or the folksiness of all the ya's and grammatical errors) is used to gloss over the recipient's status as yet another expendable worker bee. "Outing" such empty phrases is far from cynical; to the contrary, those noticing their false tone hold speakers responsible for their words, a very moral stance.
jutta, Jan 28 2001

       These last three comments sum it up fairly well for me, but I would also like to add to the pogrom list, those people whose conversation is constructed entirely of Monty Python (or other favourite TV program) quotes.
DrBob, Jan 29 2001

       The OED, 1st ed., says the plural of "octopus" is "octopodes", anglicized "octopuses". I think what's being pluralized in the original is the word for foot, not that for the cephalopod, so you probably shouldn't say "octopoda" even if you know that they're all female. Dang.   

       IIRC, "expresso" is a perfectly legitimate term for the pressure-produced coffee drink, having developed in Portugese from the word for 'fast' instead of in Italy from the word for 'pressure'.
hello_c, Feb 04 2001

       "Thank goodness there are people like me who are clever enough to see through it all." Indeed!
grover, Feb 06 2001

       Indeed, it's a bent brush that can paint its own handle.
Gordon Comstock, Feb 11 2001

       must the half witticism be necessarily verbal? It bloody drives me up a wall to see someone with an icthus (IXOYE-fish) on their car that is *UPSIDE DOWN*!! If you're going to brazenly display such an emblem, at least have the decency to understand it's history and display it uprightly! bah!
absterge, Mar 15 2001

       Maybe the God Cod should come with directions...or a 'This Way to Heaven' arrow or something...
StarChaser, Mar 17 2001

       "Are you going to finish That".... and ..."I'll take that for ya" Deffinite Halfwit-ticisms....
DeltaRhythm, Apr 03 2001

       My realator says nucular. Let's try to level the playing field.
melanerpes, Apr 18 2001

       If you twist a Halfwit-ticism can it become a Half-Witticism? To wit:   

       "It's a dozen of one and six of another" or "It's six of one and half of three others" (I use this last version, people look at you oddly for a second and then go on talking)   

       "Yeah it's cold out but at least it's a damp cold"   

       "I may be dumb, but I'm stupid"   

       "It's a cold wind that blows nobody any warmth"   

       "Every cloud has a silver spoon" *nod wisely*
Dog Ed, Apr 18 2001

       Dog Ed: I love that kind of thing, because if you use one and get a smile, it doesn't just mean that you've said somenthing funny. It also means that the other person is intelligent enough to understand the joke, and that they know you're intelligent enough to have said it as a joke rather than a faux pas.   

       Of course, I guess that line of reasoning would make G.W. Bush the most intelligent person on the planet, so there may be a problem with my logic.
beauxeault, Apr 18 2001

       My favourites are when people say these things but get the words wrong, thinking they are using the correct inane proverb, but in fact, are showing their stupidity.
My favorite would be 'He did it all off his own back' instead of ' 'he did it all off his own bat' (derived from the game of cricket, if you didn't know, as in he got fifty all off his own bat, as opposed to a fifty partnership. if any americans want circket explaining, then I'll have to start another half-bakery idea......)
On that note...
goff, May 01 2001

       I came here to repent today. I hope my fellow B/2-ers will forgive me. I have committed half-witticism heresy. No one here in the office noticed (they all laughed -- the heathens).   

       A co-worker just walked by on his way out the door, proclaiming that he would be right back. Before I could stop myself, I found myself spewing that annoying half-witticism, "Thanks for the warning!"   

       Forgive me, half-bakery, for I have sinned.
globaltourniquet, May 01 2001

       I'm just glad nobody here uses the "u r kewl" internet slang. Pure crap.
AfroAssault, May 04 2001

       If I may speak for the bakers at large, we forgive you, gt. Your honesty and recognition of your offense have spared you from the Ultimate Price. Your penance shall be ... oh, something marginally uncomfortable, but also vaguely amusing for us here. I don't know, come up with something. Maybe you should have to cut and paste all the meaningless annotations from the Slaughtered Cattle Blood Drink thread into the No More Pointless Bickering thread, where they belong.
absterge, May 04 2001

       i do not have anything to give that he can not offer   

       or from a different type, my least favorite trick question or whatver is
'how can you make 55 cents with 2 coins, but one is not a fifty cent piece'
'one is a nickel, the *second* one is a fifty cent piece'

       i hate those kids
erth2rst, Jun 08 2001

       "Nukular" as opposed to Nuclear... GW Bush is good for this one... so was his Daddy.
Unmanageable, Jun 21 2001

       And, if I'm not mistaken, so were Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter. Plenty of people, government officials and otherwise, are guilty of this.
PotatoStew, Jun 21 2001

       Jimmy Carter is only 98% as guilty as those who say "nucular," since his pronunciation is more like "nucaler." But he loses mega bonus points in my book because he supposedly has a degree or two in Nuclear Engineering, and should know better (as if the others shouldn't).
beauxeault, Jun 21 2001

       I like hooey! Who *kicks* cats?! I have a friend (although I'd never admit it anywhere but the internet) that thinks he actually came up with the lines: "cul8tr" and "'till the banana splits". I worry about this particular friend sometimes... I just hate it when people start a conversation with "Guess what!"
ichinichi, Jul 02 2001

       You've got to be careful with some of these comebacks though. My father, while passing through airport security once, was asked if he had any arms. "Yup, two!" he replied glibly. Big mistake. It was some time before he got out of there.
Lemon, Jul 02 2001

       Hey, ShoutingMatch You write: Just because they're cliche's, doesn't mean they're evidentiary of small intellects.   

       Well, I will do the apology -half-witted though it may be- when you learn the "plural/possessive" rule that governs using apostrophes. You are evidently half-there if you re-read the above.
bobzaguy, Oct 07 2001

       realator? What's a realator? A guy that sells realality? Perhaps you mean realtor?
RayfordSteele, Feb 07 2002

       "Can I ask you a question?"
phoenix, Feb 07 2002

       How about the mis-use of "literally" - as in "I literally died." One of my friends uses this occasionally, but she seems to be still here.
TeaTotal, Feb 08 2002

       from what mark_t said that should mean that most Americans should be wandering around using 'unclear' in the place of 'nuclear'. Unless of course he counts Americans as native Englishmen/women.
kaz, Apr 05 2002

       Let's go round the horn.
Bring this ship into harbor.
Put this puppy to sleep.
Thank god it's Friday.
I value your input.
What's good cooking?
He's out to pasture.
Let me know if I'm going too fast.
k_sra, Oct 28 2003

       It seems that this Halfwitticism discussion has degenerated into a forum for people to air their grievances about others' stupidity and poor grasp of the English language. Well, here's one more grievance for you: I thought this site was for half-baked ideas, not new words and their definitions along with vaguely related grievances. There's a whole other site for that: urbandictionary.com   

       I'll post a link.
Apache, Jun 15 2004

       Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.   

       Or at least it used to. Linky.
Blumster, Feb 15 2005

       Quote from the help file on removing ideas:   

       word invention - the idea suggests a new term for something previously indescribable. These are collected at pseudodictionary.com and similar sites, and should be posted there.
Blumster, Feb 15 2005

       Blum, the bakery is dynamic. It has grown and changed and redefined itself over time. We all adjusted, and we all know the old ideas that would have been choked to death, in the present day bakery. But why would you want to remove, what for some of us, are fond memories of bakers of the past, and the actual sense of community we used to have?
blissmiss, Feb 15 2005

       That is completely resonable, and from what I gather of the site, is what I'd have guessed.   

       I guess the question I have then, is: Why the changes?
Blumster, Feb 15 2005

       Why is the sky blue? Where does the wind come from? Evolution v...Get my drift?
blissmiss, Feb 15 2005

       I imagine the changes in the site are responses to a change in circumstances. I should think that an official line on new word definitions was put in place in response to a rash of "I've thought of a new word" postings. Used this way, changes help keep the Halfbakery as the Halfbakery and stop it turning into pseudodictionary or worse.   

       [bliss] - was it really so much better in the old days, or are you just feeling the lack of sunlight?
wagster, Feb 15 2005

blissmiss, Feb 15 2005


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