“Kerfuffle”

Noun. Controversy, commotion. From the Scots “curfuffle.” “The kerfuffle began when the American bloke in the striped tie tried to prove he was not a poppy by stopping at a pub and shouting for some cold ones.” (Maureen Dowd, New York Times, April 30, 1989)/”Ricky Gervais Globes-hosting kerfuffle does not move ratings needle.” (Washington Post headline, January 11, 2011) Google Ngram.

5 responses to ““Kerfuffle”

  1. I predicted “kerfuffle” would enter the American lexicon more broadly when the first _Little Britain_ series became available on Region 1 DVDs, and according to Amazon.com, that was in 2005.

  2. Curfuffle spent most of its life as an obscure and little-used Scottish word. There is a theory that it took hold in its current form (kerfuffle) when comic books started to amplify words by prefacing them with ‘ker’, as in ‘KER-BAM!!’ and ‘KER-BOOM!!’ Suitably rebranded, kertfuffle spread to England, and now, it seems, it is slowly percolating the US language landscape.

  3. Ernie (the Sesame Street muppet) declares it one of his favo(u)rite words on the 2004 DVD ‘In celebration of me, Grover’.

  4. Pingback: Queue-fuffle | Not One-Off Britishisms

  5. i learnt ‘kerfuffle’ on internet scrabble club, a site out of romania

    it is a wonderful word, innit!

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