Muddle-headed Kay (mhw) wrote,
Muddle-headed Kay
mhw

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Request for assistance.

[Crossposted from unusual_words]

I'm in need of assistance in tracking down an obscure word. The word is cadigan or kadigan.

Wikipedia says this about it: A cadigan (or kadigan) is a sort of word that inhabits a syntactic space between nouns and pronouns. Specifically, cadigans refer to tools or parts of tools whose actual names are unknown, unremembered, or to which names have not been assigned. Cadigans serve as placeholders for names of objects that are otherwise unknown or unspecified.

So far I have a report of ONE citation, in Vol II issue 3, Dec. '75 of Verbatim: the Language Quarterly, "You Know What" by A. W. Read: "thingamajig, who's-is-face, deeliebobber and other cadigans."

Can any of you wonderful people come up with anything better than that?

Edit: The Talk page discussion is going on here if anyone wishes to see what's been found out so far.

Edit 2: Someone's proposed that it may be, or have originally been, que digan meaning 'what they say' in Spanish. Any Hispanophones out there who'd be prepared to say whether they think that would be plausible? The research so far has already noted: Spanish tends to use fairly self-explanatory phrases as cadigans: el como-se-llama, el que-te-dije; they also reach for Latin, and borrow quídam as a word for something or another. Mexican Spanish adds chingadera, not to be used in polite circumstances. Cadigans for unspecified persons include Don Fulano/Doña Fulana and Fulano/Fulana de Tal; if a second or third person is needed, they are Mengano and Zutano.
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