A Whackadoodle discussion in which my student and I examine both the connotative and the denotative meanings of the word Whackadoodle, in order to answer the question, “What does Whackadoodle mean?
“I think that I would have liked your brother,” she told me shyly. We had just finished reading a lesson on the Power of Understanding, which featured my brother.
“There was a lot there to like, believe me. I can’t tell you how many girls wanted to be my friend just because they had crushes on him in high school, but he was always faithful. He never broke a promise,” I smiled, thinking back. “He might be my original Whackadoodle.”
“Okay, so we might not have the same definition of Whackadoodle because faithful and Whackadoodle don’t compute in my brain.”
“To be honest,” I said. “I’d thought that I had made the word up. Nobody had ever taught it to me.” I thought back to my afterschool program. “The kids that I was working with would make these crazy, but sometimes brilliant statements, and I’d tell them, ‘You’re such a Whackadoodle.’ It was just a fun word to say. Imagine my surprise when I actually looked the word up, and discovered it had a whole different meaning.”
“When did you look it up?”
“When I decided to write my first book about you.”
“Me?” she countered. “You don’t think that I’m Whackadoodle do you?”
“Hum,” I thought about it. “I think we’re both pretty whacky, and we definitely live in a Whackadoodle world.
“What is the actual definition?”
“Shoot girl,” I bowed my head. “You don’t really expect me to remember all the exact definitions.”
“I know,” she said, pulling out her cell phone. A few minutes later she informed me. “The Urban Dictionary says a Wackadoodle is an eccentric, ditsy, arcane, or funny person.”
She kept clicking, and a few minutes later informed me, “Dictionary.com claims Wackadoodle describes someone or something as eccentric, wrongheaded, bizarre, or foolish, generally in an amusing way and with a mildly dismissive tone.”
“Wow,” she said after that, “The Wall Street Journal says, wackadoodle has emerged as a humorous label for someone or something that is eccentric at best, or unhinged at worst.”
I said nothing as she kept on clicking.
“This is an important one,” she concluded at last. “In 2014, the word Wackadoodle was entered into the Oxford English Dictionary and was officially defined as an eccentric or fanatical person.”
“Yeah,” I’d heard enough. “That’s their definition, but not mine. They spell theirs wackadoodle, root word wack, which is British slang for worthless or stupid ideas, work, or talk; rubbish. I spell mine Whackadoodle, root word whacky. When I say Whackadoodle, I think of my whacky, loving, faithful brother, and I think of those brilliant kids dancing around my room.”
“And you think of me?”
“Sure,” I admitted. “I think of you.”
“I suppose that’s why it’s important to confirm understanding before reacting,” she nodded happily. “I mean, if you had called me Whackadoodle before I knew your definition for Whackadoodle, I might not feel as good as I do now.”
“And how do you feel now that you know that I think of you as Whackadoodle?”
She considered my question. “I think that I feel kind of accepted for exactly what I am. I also think that I agree with you,” she added a moment later.
“Whackadoodle is a fun word to say,” she said, turning back to the book.
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You can reach Lynn Marie Sager at
- Navigating Life in a Whackadoodle World
- Finding Sense in a Whackadoodle World
- Teaching Logic in a Whackadoodle World
- Navigating Life Through Turbulent Tides
- A River Worth Riding: Fourteen Rules for Navigating Life
Check out her website at www.whackadoodleworld.com