Lexicon/Dialect related question

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by bostjan, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Totally OT question.

    There is a word I heard a lot growing up.

    The word was an adjective, used to describe a child or pet as being overly excited, bustling, in a reckless sort of way.

    Pronunciation: (Kirshenbaum) reNd

    I don't know how to spell it, but I would guess "wranged." Like "wrangled," but without the "L."

    I have no idea if this was a word someone made up, or if it's a local thing where I grew up on the east side of Detroit, or maybe it's just something weird.

    I asked a language expert a few years ago, and she said she had never heard of it before, and I can't find anything online.

    So I'm reaching out to my SS.O friends. You guys seem to have more collective wisdom about pretty much every topic than any other group I can think.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Sermo Lupi

    Sermo Lupi SS.org Regular

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    I can't make up my mind whether I've heard that phrase before or not, but it does sound familiar.

    If I were to hazard a guess, I think that your 'wranged' is probably short for 'meringued', as in 'meringue'--the stuff you put on lemon pies. Meringue is made from egg whites and needs to be vigorously whisked to get the consistency right, which is basically an excited, bustling activity (as you've put it). We get several phrases from that same cooking metaphor: to 'whip to a froth' or 'whip into shape', for example, and if you look it up, 'meringued' is a synonym for whipped. In the verb form, it also seems like it might be slang for some sort of dance (as suggested by this definition on dictionary.com).

    It's just a guess, but it'd fit based on what you've told us.
     
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  3. Science_Penguin

    Science_Penguin SS.org Regular

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    Best I could find is the Scottish pronunciation of "wrong" which is apparently (at least spelled) "wrang."

    Dunno if there's a lot of Scots in Detroit, but if that is the case, it could be that some thickly accented grandparent used to say "wronged" in that context, and their particular pronunciation of the word developed into a term for misbehaving.

    Pure conjecture on my part, this would be the first I've ever heard of it.
     
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  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I think you might be onto something. Ten seconds digging into that and it looks like I might have gotten somewhere. Maybe it's a French Canadian/Arcadian thing.
     
  5. iamaom

    iamaom SS.org Regular

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    Maybe you misheard "deranged".
     
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  6. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Well, I suppose it is possible that's how it started. But "deranged" is pronounced <<derr-ainzhd>>, whereas the word I'm trying to find is pronounced with a soft "g", like "ringed," but replace the short "i" with a long "a."
    I ran into more dead ends with this, so I'm beginning to really think that it was something specific to my weird family.
     
  7. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Maybe you didn't mishear "deranged" but it seems quite likely someone did, and then it made it to you, possibly as the outcome of even more distortion. Just that the semantics of the word are spot-on makes this seem like the most plausible explanation to me.
     

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