This Maine slang term is dying out. What does it mean, again?

The Huffington Post mapped out some of the more interesting local slang words from around the country in a recent article, and it’s amazing to think that some of these terms were ever understood by English speakers.

In North Carolina, for instance, they apparently used to have some kind of folk toy called a “gee-haw whimmeydiddle,” and in Kansas, they would call a little ubiquitous gadget a “doodinkus.”

The local terms, many of which are dying out as more uniform Internet Speak takes over our dialect, were harvested from the now-famous Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), which was compiled over several decades by researchers tied to the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Some of the words that made the Huffington Post’s highlight list were indeed English, but don’t mean what you’d think. Oklahomans have the term “turd floater,” for example. (That means “a heavy rain.”) And in Montana, they call certain people “lamb lickers.” (Who are, of course, shepherds. What were you thinking?)

The BDN’s Emily Burnham went through many of the DARE words from Maine in this story from a few years ago.

The one local Maine slang term the Post picked for its map was: Tunklehead. That means “a fool,” apparently.

What we’re talking about

A guy who allegedly jumped from a Casco Bay Lines ferry last month, is going to $2,500 less wealthy. The U.S. Coast Guard announced today it will fine a man for allegedly jumping from the Bay Mist into the Fore River on July 2 when the vessel was pulling up to dock at the Maine State Pier. A Coast Guard official said jumping off a moving passenger vessel is “extremely dangerous.”

It was a tragic Monday night in southern Maine. A 5-year-old Belfast girl was fatally shot at a Milliken Road home in Scarborough. The case remains under investigation. “There is an extended family in our community who woke up this morning feeling the loss of their little girl,” Scarborough Police Chief Robbie Moulton said in a statement.

Portlander Josh Rogers is making tea out of seaweed, and people are loving it, The Forecaster’s Kate Irish Collins is reporting. Each blend of tea uses a different type of seaweed, Rogers told The Forecaster, including bladderwrack, dulse, kelp and sea lettuce. “Seaweeds contain around 60 minerals that are vital to human health,” he told the newspaper. “Drinking our tea is an easy, tasty way to get seaweed into your diet.”

Down the road a piece in York, town officials are worried about soil and water contamination at the site of a former state-owned garage. The town has plans to buy the Route 1 property, but wants further scrutiny of the environmental health of the site.

Tweet of the day

From Seriously Techgurl:

The Big Idea

Why do we need chins, anyway? I mean, we often take that part of our face for granted, but does it do anything? Anthropologists have long debated this question, which is obviously very important. Our primate cousins evolved without one. One hypothesis is that the human chin evolved as an additionally sturdy bone to anchor the tongue muscles used in human speech. Others argue the human chin evolved as another prominent body part to attract the opposite sex. And still more scientists say it serves no evolutionary purpose, but rather it’s just a leftover part of other facial shifts in humans — when our jaws grew inward and faces turned down, the chin stuck out.

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