W4W: Some kind of joke

Children's go karts

Image: Pixabay

‘This is some kind of joke, right?’ Nev stared at the go kart at his feet as another whizzed past, the wheel nearly clipping his ankle.

Standing in the pits in front of him were Si, Gav, Mac and Boz, Mac giggling so hard snot was dribbling from his nose.

‘You said you wanted a driving experience.’ Boz had gone purple from laughing, face swollen like a overripe blackberry.

Nev pointed at a passing go kart, the driver intent as a pint-sized Lewis Hamilton. ‘That kid’s no more than twelve. None of them are.’

He’d thought his mates might club together, have him driving a Porshe 911, sitting in the seat of a scarlet Ferrari, burning the tarmac of Brands Hatch. He’d at least hoped for something with a V8.

A man wearing a driving jumpsuit and a plastic smile approached them. ‘Right, so where’s the birthday boy, then?’

‘It’s not my …’ It was then Nev noticed the blue satin sash with HI, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY written across.

Si’s knees were buckling, his backside almost touching the floor.

And that was his Best Man? What else did they have in store for him?

This was going to be a very long stag do.


Written for Word for Wednesday – started by the lovely Kat – and for The Daily Post’s prompt JOKE. Hop on the link to take part and read the other posts.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, JOKE the noun is from the 1660s joque, from the Latin iocus. It was originally slang referring to ‘something of no real importance’, though I wonder what word we used before the seventeenth century. Do tell me if you know.

According to the OED, Black joke is old slang for “smutty song” (1733), from use of that phrase in the refrain of a then-popular song as a euphemism for “the monosyllable.” 

Though if you can tell me which monosyllable they’re referring to, I’d be grateful.




14 thoughts on “W4W: Some kind of joke

  1. Haha! Love it!

    Having consulted my friend Google, I discovered several sources that tell me the euphemism for the monosyllable is in fact the four letter C word – (a word I never shy away from but, out of respect for your blog which is far less smutty than mine, I have not used!) Aka see you next Tuesday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I really should have guessed at that, shouldn’t I? You see, without Google, our minds would be pure as the snow. And not the yellow kind either 🙂 Thank you for reading, lovely x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure women friends aren’t as sadistic to each other as their male counterparts. And I’m sure your friends are too lovely to play a trick on you like that! Thanks ever so much for reading, Samantha 🙂


  2. Hmm, all I know about a ‘stag do’ is ‘stag don’t‘! I don’t know what ‘joke’ was in Middle or Old English. Perhaps they used the Latin word ludus, meaning play or fun. Or perhaps a similar word to German scherzen ‘to have fun’, which the Italians (who already had the word gioco) borrowed as scherzo ‘a jest or joke’. Musicians of course will know it as the name given to a lively musical movement, a speeded-up minuet which you couldn’t really dance to!

    Your mention of ‘Black Joke’ reminds me of the morris dance I could be seen participating in half a century ago at uni, a little less sedately than this version (fittingly done in the dark):

    The C-word KittyKat refers to was even two centuries ago, in The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue defined as “a nasty name for a nasty thing” (http://wp.me/s2oNj1-vulgar) and euphemistically called The Monosyllable …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t think of the word ‘jest’, but that was definitely around before, wasn’t it (as in jester)? I must say, I’m partial to a bit of Morris – never taken part, but I’ll watch whenever I see it done. There used to be a Morris festival in Buxton where I grew up – you’ve never seen so many hankies and the sound of bells was almost deafening. Quite a spectacle. Love to see the staff used too. Pratchett included a ‘Dark Morris’ in his book Wintersmith – a dance of power and mystery. Steeleye Span even set some of his words to music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfEUBJLZSHw
      And I was very slow on The Monosyllable, wasn’t I? The definition in the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue makes me worry. What kind of taumatic experience did the author have to view anatomies in such a way? 🙂
      Thanks so much for reading and for joining in, Chris 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jest, as in jester, comes I’m guessing from Latin ‘gesta’ meaning deeds, acts or doings (guessing again), and originally applied to medieval chronicles. From there perhaps it applied to any story, then tall tales, fibs, downright lies — and maybe jokes?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Interesting, Chris, thanks. Maybe we just weren’t funny before the word ‘joke’ – people invent words when they need them after all 🙂 . I remember reading an Ancient Greek ‘comedy’ years ago – different times.


  3. Poor Nev — that’s the problem with expecting your mates to read your mind! Hopefully he lets himself get into the swing of things and enjoys the entertainment. No fun being a spoilsport at your own party.

    As far as what we (English speakers) called jokes before 1660, the best I guess is “jest”, which only goes back another century. Maybe they didn’t joke in the Dark Ages. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I guess if you were alive here in say the 14th century, what with high infant mortality, low life expectancy, Black Death and famine and war and what amounted to slavery in the feudal system – there wasn’t much to joke about. 🙂
      The stag could have been worse – he should count himself lucky he wasn’t tied naked to a lamppost. 🙂
      Thanks for reading Joy

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Who knows how people got through these things – they just had to I suppose. And I’m guessing they had such hard lives anyway, there was a certain resignation to suffering.

        Liked by 1 person

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