Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

where did it come from and where did it go?


it's a word from my childhood, used to mock someone who'd done something wrong by accident.

1. collect the eggs, trip over your own feet and break the lot, bringing mocking and laughing and shouts of "dunderhead" from siblings and/or dad.

2. prepare a mug of hot chocolate mix and instead of the kettle of piping hot water, absent-mindedly pick up the teapot with cold left over tea and fill your mug.
"dunderhead".   And if mum was in a bad mood, she'd make you drink it.

and so on.

I heard it often up until I was maybe 15 or so, then it fell out of fashion I suppose, I haven't heard it since and have no idea why it popped into my head today.

It's one of those words that was only directed at boys for some reason, girls were never called dunderheads. 
They must have got called something, but I don't recall what that was.

Do you remember any odd words from your childhood?


  1. It's funny isn't it, how words in such strong use for years can then disappear. From my childhood in the 70s, I remember "What a whacker" before whacker was replaced with wanker. It's now lost forever.

  2. I was occasionally called a "chucklehead" which I imagine was about the same thing as a dunderhead.

  3. I certainly showed some (a lot) of dunderhead tendencies. And was called a 'duffer' or a clot. Sometimes a thrombosis - a slow moving blood(y) clot. And I don't miss being called any of those things.

  4. Yes I do remember that word and also "pillock". My parents didn't call me names that I remember.
    I think the term dunderhead may have come from the Dutch word 'donder' meaning thunder??
    I also do remember blockhead, dimwit, fathead (I think that is one my folks used), prat, dodo (I use that one now), nitwit, ratbag, moron. Oh boy, there were so many and none of them really rude as are so many derogatory terms used today.

  5. Yes, I remember it. Another term dropped from the Aussie vernacular.

    Hubby and I also remember a (long forgotten) little animated childrens' film called, "Dunderklumpen".
    When we first started dating, we exclaimed with delight when we found out that we had watched it as kids. And so, knew what the other was talking about when one said, dunderklumpen!
    We still call each other that from time to time, even these days :)

  6. Jackie K; I remember whacker, although I didn't hear it very often.

    Delores; chucklehead sounds like someone who would giggle a lot.

    Elephant's Child; duffer! I remember that too. Mostly in reference to older men who were getting forgetful. The old duffer's lost his keys again.

    Mimsie; I never heard pillock, it's more an English word and I read it in novels set in London. I remember blockhead, nitwit and ratbag too.

    Vicki; there's so much that's been dropped from the Aussie vernacular. it's a shame really, our language was so much more colourful before political correctness stepped in. Dunderklumpen sounds delightful! I've never heard of it. I'm wondering now if google can find it for me?

  7. I'm guessing it's German. (You've surely heard Dumkopf?) I've seen Chucklehead in American fiction.
    Meanwhile in their enthusiasm for stirring the mugs I'm astonished at how far the Dopey Australian media think they might go. With brothel customers in parliament it's apparent that what you say in this country of robots is far worse than what you do. Abbott says some woman has sex appeal and there's an enormous rumble over it. Good heavens, women spend their entire lives dolling themselves up for compliments like that!
    Only a dyke would be offended, and that weird thing calling itself Penny is a sure bet.

  8. Dunderhead sounds so affectionate, really. Words do fall out of fashion or are (mis)appropriated, gay being the most obvious. I always chuckle at 'twerp'.

  9. Hey River, I looked it up and found a trailer for Dunderklumpen on YouTube. Here's a link...

  10. My father never called us names which sometimes left him spluttering for a word to use...this of course was our cue to run off..

  11. You said PILLOCK possibly English. Of course that is where I've heard it and occasionally still hear it. MOH is English. He's the one that says it. lol

  12. Dunderhead is a word I had forgotten. You must have been reading my blog today when the word came to your mind! I remember dumkopf too.

  13. R.H. I heard Dumkopf often from my dad, whenever we did something silly that he didn't understand. Tony Abbott doesn't bear thinking about.

    jabblog; it does sound very affectionate and I don't think I ever heard it said meanly, always with fun.

    R.H. I've heard that too, from both my husbands.

    Vicki; thank you, I'll look that up.

    Kymbo; smart man, your dad. spluttering long enough to let you get away.

    Mimsie; I was sure it was English.

    Andrew; I had this in my head a couple of days ago when I scheduled the post.

  14. Hi River,

    Being a Brit, you will never have heard of similar words. In fact, Manchester and Walsall (where I was born) are only 70 miles apart and I have used Walsallian words that never made it this far North.

    "Dunderhead" doesn't ring a bell either.




  15. Pardon me, one feels obliged to exit the closet as a scholar, revealing some natural aptitude for philology. Without consulting google I know that koph is the German word for head. I had a girlfriend, Monica Swartzkoph (who had been turning into Ulrich Meinhoff before shooting off to Selby). I'm suggesting dunderhead is an English translation of dumkoph. Further to this,
    those who read Copperwitch may know I've been examining my sojourn as a boarder at Her Majesty's bluesone castle in Coburg (there's a German association for you!). I was in the YOGs: Young Offenders Group. One of the guards was a German who doubled as our physical training officer, making us run around, do exercises, and generally pummel one another. Prison food was "no goot," he said, we would need to exercise to compensate. He also promised that this exercising would increase our chances of running away from the police.
    One morning as he unlocked the cell doors to let us out I was still in bed instead of being on my feet ready to step out. "Dumkoph!" he yelled at me.

    Really, he was a marvellous bloke. Marvellous good humour.

  16. I forgot to say.......

    -From Robert.
    Your potential third husband.

  17. Plasman; now that you know it, you can add Dunderhead to your vocabulary and confound everybody.

    R.H. I'm sure you're right; dumkopf and dunderhead are the same. I like the sound of that German guard you had, he seems very sensible regarding the exercise to negate the effects of poor quality calorie laden food.

  18. There wsn't much calorie, the signature dish was a plate of stew with two scoops of rice dumped in the centre (a sight I'll never forget). We did get an occasional slice of something sweet, and every Friday night were given two currant buns from the prison bakery. I was hungry most of the time, hungry for sweet things. The evening meal was a 4pm then we were locked in our cells until 7 next morning. It was a long night.

  19. R.H. no food from 4pm to 7am? I'm a snacker-that would drive me crazy. it would help with weight loss though, maybe I should try it.

    muhammad kumail; no thank you. don't come back.