fan-hitting (classified)

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Oct 14 16:49:48 UTC 2008

On Oct 14, 2008, at 9:15 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> At 10/14/2008 11:59 AM, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>> Jan Harold Brunvand, "A Classification for Shaggy Dog Stories".
>> _Journal of
>> American Folklore_, Vol. 76, No. 299 (Jan. - Mar., 1963), p. 62
> So he calls these "shaggy dog stories", or does he classify them out?

the Feghoot stories date from 1956-73, so it's possible Brunvand knew
of the term "feghoot" for the subtype of shaggy dog stories that end
in atrocious punning, spoonerisms, etc. (check the wikpedia entries
for "feghoot" and "shaggy dog story").  but someone should be able to
check his 1963 paper.

"feghoot" is not yet in the OED.  should it be?  ("shaggy dog story"
made it, though.)

some of my favorite feghoots: the doubly spoonerizing "boyfoot bear
with teak(s) of Chan"; the punning "I left my harp in Sam Clam's
Disco"; and the magnificent punning "transporting gulls across staid
lions for immortal porposes" (this is the variant i know, and it looks
like the most frequent one, but you can also find "sedate", "state",
"estate", and "stately", which i judge to be inferior to "staid".
(the first of these i've known since i was a teenager.  the other two
i got from my daughter elizabeth when *she* was a teenager.)

collections of puns often include feghoots -- puns that require a
story to set them up.  the collection of imperfect puns that elizabeth
zwicky and i made some years ago included a number of these (our
favorite was "with fronds like these, who needs anemonies").
discussion in our article on the topic:

The American Dialect Society -

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