A commenter here (with whom I share a close blood relation) introduced a word to this blog the other day that, while very familiar to the two of us, may befuddle some readers. Here’s the word:
That’s probably the proper grammatical spelling of the construction, but in its actual use it comes off as a single word, peewaddin (pee’ wad din, noun). You’d be hard-pressed to find an actual definition of it anywhere, but it is one of those special words that when you hear it in context you are immediately able to understand the meaning, if not the definition — even if you’re very young when you first hear it.
When I was a kid and we got together with all of our cousins we’d often end up with five boys within about three years of age of each other. This was an invariably loud and often quite physical conglomeration. One time when we were creating a cloud of dust in my aunt’s front yard she flung the front door open and silenced the assembly by threatening to “slap the peewaddin out” of us if we didn’t knock it off. This was also the aunt that frequently vowed to “snatch a knot” in us, so we took her seriously. (She was much more likely, however, to make us home-made doughnuts or cake.)
Even though I was only seven or eight at that time, I knew instantly that my peewaddin was something I definitely wanted to hold onto.