Why Leaves Turn Brown in Autumn: A Taradiddle*

dragon flying

A great green dragon

flies over trees

Exhales its fiery breath

scorching all the leaves

autumn afternoon

* taradiddle (noun) – pretentious nonsense

The true origin of taradiddle is unknown, but that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter a lot of balderdash about its history. Some folks try to connect it to the verb diddle (meaning “to cheat”), but that hasn’t been proven and may turn out to be poppycock. You may hear some tommyrot about it coming from the Old English verb didrian, which meant “to deceive,” but that couldn’t be true unless didrian was somehow suddenly revived after eight or nine centuries of disuse. No one even knows when taradiddle was first used. It must have been long before it showed up in a 1796 dictionary of colloquial speech (where it was defined as a synonym of fib), but if we claimed we knew who said it first, we’d be dishing out pure applesauce. (from Merriam-Webster)

Top image courtesy of Pixabay

Lower photo (cropped) by Cristina Gottardi courtesy of Unsplash


5 thoughts on “Why Leaves Turn Brown in Autumn: A Taradiddle*

  1. Awesome post, LuAnne!

    Sunday, as I was raking leaves, The Boy and his friend from down the street were out chasing dragons. Friend ran up to me all out of breath and asked if I’d seen any dragons around. I told him no, the only dragons I’d been battling all day were the nefarious invisible leaf-breathing autumn dragons and that they were wearing me down. Ha ha ha!

    Balderdash was one of my favorite board games in the late 80s/early 90s, and amongst my friends, I was the undisputed champion. When it’s your turn, you present a list of 5 words, one of which has to be a word you made up. The other players have to guess which word is fake. I need to see if that game is buried in a closet at Mom & Dad’s house, my kids would probably love it!

    Liked by 1 person

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