Podunk

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Atomina the atomic nina, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. Atomina the atomic nina

    Atomina the atomic nina Senior Member

    Lisboa
    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 :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  2. Welshie

    Welshie Senior Member

    France
    England, English
    Can you tell us what it means first? :) Neighbourhood? Area? Town? Something like this?
     
  3. Atomina the atomic nina

    Atomina the atomic nina Senior Member

    Lisboa
    Portuguese
    Oops 'course Welshie. It means a very small town, very obscure, very unknown, in the middle of nowhere.
     
  4. Alisterio

    Alisterio Senior Member

    Mexico City
    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.
     
  5. MenteECuoreProgressista Member

    Florida, USA
    English - United States
    Feel free to bring the word into popular BE use, Alisterio ;)
     
  6. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    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.
     
  7. EmilyD Senior Member

    Rhode Island
    U.S., English
  8. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    Spain
    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).
     
  9. Atomina the atomic nina

    Atomina the atomic nina Senior Member

    Lisboa
    Portuguese
    OK so we have some good suggestions here for a podunk synonym: dead-end town, middle of nowhere, backwater.
    Thanks everybody :)
     
  10. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    There's also "the styx", sometimes written "the sticks" ....
     
  11. Atomina the atomic nina

    Atomina the atomic nina Senior Member

    Lisboa
    Portuguese
    Ooh Loob... isn't styx hell? A bit strong, no?:eek:
     
  12. Basil Ganglia

    Basil Ganglia Senior Member

    Bellevue, WA
    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.
     
  13. ajo fresco

    ajo fresco Senior Member

    Just wondering, does anyone else use B.F.E. ("Bum-F:warning:ck Egypt") in the same sense as Podunk, or is that just another one of our lovely Americanisms?
     
  14. Basil Ganglia

    Basil Ganglia Senior Member

    Bellevue, WA
    English - USA
    I am totally unfamiliar with B.F.E. in any context.
     
  15. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    California
    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  16. oreohoney19 New Member

    Canada
    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  17. Cypherpunk Senior Member

    Springdale, AR
    US, English
    Hmm. We use it around here all the time. Well, when we're bothering to talk about places in the middle of nowhere...
    Anyway, 'end of the earth/world' and Timbuktu are pretty common, too.
     
  18. Basil Ganglia

    Basil Ganglia Senior Member

    Bellevue, WA
    English - USA
    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".
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  19. bicycle guy Member

    Nevada, US
    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.
     
  20. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I'm not sure that it's an Americanism, per se. I've been saying "bum-f:warning:ck Saskatchewan" for years!:D
     
  21. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    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.
     
  22. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK


    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...
     
  23. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    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.
     
  24. Atomina the atomic nina

    Atomina the atomic nina Senior Member

    Lisboa
    Portuguese
    Thanks, Ewie! Boondocks and williwags are also great words :)
     
  25. ajo fresco

    ajo fresco Senior Member

    Another thread which mentions a variation of the B.F. thing (see post #2)... :p
     

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