Oafishness


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Oafishness

 

bogtrotter Any rustic or country bumpkin; specifically, the rural Irish. The term, which dates from 1682, is most commonly used as an insulting epithet for unsophisticated countryfolk. Bogtrotter formerly referred to one who knew how to make his way around the bogs or swamps (which, the English maintain, abound in Ireland), or to one who fled to them for refuge.

butter-and-egg man A rich, unsophisticated farmer or small-town businessman who spends money freely and ostentatiously on trips to a big city. This American slang expression, which dates from the 1920s, is said to have had its origin in the heyday of Calvin Coolidge’s administration, when highly paid workers and newly made millionaires threw their money around in wild splurges. Butter-and-egg is a rather pointed reference to dairy farming and serves to underscore the unsophistication of the men it is used to describe. The Butter and Egg Man is the title of a play by George S. Kaufman written in 1925.

clodhopper A rustic; a clumsy, awkward boor; a clown; a churl or lout; a plowman or agricultural laborer. Literally, a clodhopper is one who walks over plowed land among the clods ‘lumps of earth or clay.’ The common association of all that is unsophisticated, boorish, and gauche with simple countryfolk and farmers gives clodhopper its figurative coloring. The OED suggests that clodhopper is a playful allusion to grasshopper By the early 18th century, clodhopper was used figuratively as an offensive epithet.

Did you ever see a dog brought on a plate, clodhopper? Did you? (Susanna Centliver, Artifice, 1721)

Today, the literal use is rarely heard.

country bumpkin An unsophisticated, awkward, clumsy country person; a rube or hick. Bunkin, presumably a variant, was used humorously as early as the 16th century to mean a Dutchman, particularly a short, stumpy man. It is thought that the term derives from the Dutch boomken ‘little tree’ or bom-mekijn ‘little barrel.’ The word country is actually redundant and is often dropped from the phrase.

hayseed A humorous nickname for a farmer or rustic. The term is said to have originated in American politics where the delegates of rural constituencies were known as the hayseed delegation in state legislatures. The word appeared as early as 1851 in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

rough edges See IMPERFECTION.

rough-hewn Uncultured, unrefined, unpolished; crude, coarse, gauche; blunt, tactless. Literally, rough-hewn refers to a piece of lumber that has been crudely and roughly shaped (by an ax or adze) without being finished or polished (by a mill). The expression is often applied figuratively to a person who lacks refinement or social grace.

Smooth voices do well in most societies … when rough-hewn words do but lay blocks in their own way. (Gabriel Harvey, Pierce’s Supererogation, or A New Praise of the Old Ass, 1593)

sodbuster A derogatory term for a farmer or one who works the soil. Originally Western slang, this word appeared in Carl Sandburg’s The American Songbag (1927).

Translations
References in periodicals archive ?
There is no-one in this country who has the same degree of charisma and oafishness though the former Mirror editor Piers Morgan runs him close which, of course, is why they are always at one another's throats.
The glass ceiling may be cracking and on the point of disintegration, but male prejudice, sexism and sheer oafishness nonetheless prevail.
In the unavoidably showier role, Jones (who cowrote the screenplay with Goddard) is more than competent bringing us the expected clumsiness, oafishness and cruelty of Thomas - "I'm a horrible little imp who can't hang onto his friends or his liquor," - but what's missing is the pathos, doubt and self-hatred that Hollander so brilliantly brought to the small screen version of similar events.
They remind me of my own wretched oafishness in the kitchen.
Usually, there's a sense of oafishness that accompanies a 79.