Two Words: Kerfuffle & Non-Defunct

Kerfuffle and Non-defunct

Kerfuffle probably originates in Scotland and started out simply as “Fuffle” meaning “to muss” or to throw something into confusion.  It is often associated with the concept of “ruffling someone’s feathers.”  The “Ker” portion of the word is also believed to be Scottish and means “awkward.”  Eventually this morphed into “curfuffle” or “carfuffle” in England and was adopted as a noun in the 19th Century.  For some reason in the 20th century it seems to have been standardized into the spelling “kerfuffle.”

This is one of those words that many think passed from use in the 19th century, but it is still there and a good way to express the “ruffling of someone’s feathers.”

Red Divider

Non-defunct sounds like a good, hyphenated word since “defunct” is a real word.  And there are lots of words made from the combination of words and concepts, but not “non-defunct.”  The question might be: “Are people working to force the word into the dictionary through usage?”.

If “non-defunct” were a word, or a hyphenated word it would still be improper since it would be a double negative.  The proper word is “existing,” “active,” or “present.”  These are the opposite of “defunct.”