Podunk

Atomina the atomic nina

Senior Member
Portuguese
I came across this funny word "podunk" where someone was complaining they couldn't find anything in the podunk where they lived.
I looked it up, and noticed it's AE slang. Do you BE speakers have a BE equivalent?

Thanks :)
 
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  • Alisterio

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I can't think of anything more specific than "little town in the middle of nowhere" or "dead-end town" in a BE context.

    Apparently Podunk is the name of an actual place in Massachusetts.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    "Podunk" is used as a stand-in for the name of a generic dull, uncultured small town that is not close to a major urban area.

    Tiffany wanted to marry a billionaire, and thought that the place to find one would be New York or London, and not Podunk.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I've heard of "Nowheresville" but I think that's an Americanism too.

    "Middle of nowhere" is frequently used - "I want to live in London, not out here in the middle of nowhere".

    What about "backwater"? It means a place where no development is taking place (named after stagnant pools).
     

    Basil Ganglia

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Some of these from my trusty Roget's .... one-horse town; jerkwater town; whistle-stop; hick town; wide spot in the road; a town where they roll up the sidewalks after sunset.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    From the OED's definition of stick:
    g. the sticks: a remote, thinly populated, rural area; the backwoods; hence, in extended (freq. depreciatory) use, any area that is off the beaten track or thought to be provincial or unsophisticated; esp. in phr. in the sticks. orig. U.S.
    The Styx would be a wet and miserable place to be. It's the river that borders Hades.

    Addendum: What Basil Ganglia just said (post #14), I say the same.
     
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    oreohoney19

    New Member
    English
    I also believed that hamlet would be appropriate here, meaning a small settlement, too small to be a village. This is a Middle English term originating from the UK.
     
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    Basil Ganglia

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I also believed that hamlet would be appropriate here, meaning a small settlement, too small to be a village. This is a Middle English term originating from the UK.
    I thought about hamlet (as well as several similar words for small rural towns). I didn't mention them, however, because to me they only convey "small in population".

    To me the essence of podunk, however, is the notion of "country bumpkin'. Podunk is used specifically to transmit that sense, and because hamlet does not convey that sense, I didn't mention hamlet (or similar terms). Also a podunk town can be quite a bit larger than a hamlet.

    ++++++

    But another expression I would add to the list is "a bumpkin town".
     
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    bicycle guy

    Member
    English, US
    I never investigated, but I thought BFE came out of military jargon. That`s where I first herard it, anyway.

    About "the sticks", I got kind of excited when I saw reference to origination from "the Styx" (that had never crossed my mind), then was dissappointed to read the etymology saying nothing about Styx.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    When I was small, Timbuktu, in those days spelled with -oo at the end, meant any very remote place in a non-specific sense, though that word carried none of the connotations of dilapidation, decrepitude, and tedium suggested apparently by Podunk; it just meant remote.

    I was later surprised to discover what a cultural centre Timbuktu actually is.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    From the OED's definition of stick:
    g. the sticks: a remote, thinly populated, rural area; the backwoods; hence, in extended (freq. depreciatory) use, any area that is off the beaten track or thought to be provincial or unsophisticated; esp. in phr. in the sticks. orig. U.S.


    Thanks for the OED definition, Cagey. I was sure I'd seen it written as "styx" as well as "sticks" :eek:

    Some Classics scholar must have been pulling my leg...
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Gosh. I've never heard of this B.F.[X] thing, though I intend to start using it as soon as I remember (B.F.Norfolk comes to mind ~ it even rhymes too, more or less.)
    Atomina, you might be interested in this thread too.
     
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