ACK! Ruffians! ACK! Pirates!
Welcome to another edition of Weird Word Wednesday!
Today’s words are brought to you by the letter “Ack.” (Fun fact: did you know that the British military began to pronounce the letter A as “ack” in early wireless communications to avoid confusion? For example: “ack-ack,” an abbreviation of “anti-aircraft.”)
How “ack” has come to refer to water is unclear. Was it an abbreviation of “aquatic”? Or were the aquatic pirates and ruffians of the days of “Andrewe’s Dictionary of the Cant and Slang Languages” so much more frightening than their terrestrial cousins that only they would elicit the eponymous expression of surprise and fear: “ACK!”? I think I need to go take an ack-break to think about this one…