November 4, 2012

New Words: Kerfuffle & Gyre




Sounds like a kids fun play word to me: The children participated in a kerfuffle over the Halloween candy.

I don’t know when or how this word made my new words list, but it did, and I did an Internet search to uncover its meaning: noise, excitement and argument2; a commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views3; A kerfuffle is some kind of commotion, controversy, or fuss1.

Kerfuffle is a humorous-sounding word for a mostly non-humorous situation: some kind of disturbance, scandal or mess. However, a kerfuffle usually isn’t 100% serious. People talking loudly in public could be making a kerfuffle. If a politician says something embarrassing by accident, it could cause a kerfuffle. Often, people use this word when they think people are making too big a deal of something, as in “What’s the kerfuffle all about?”1

Using the word in a non-humorous way in reference to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy: Impatient persons in the wake of the hurricane, waiting in line for water, became involved in a kerfuffle.


Which brings me to the second new word of the day: gyre, which I saw used in describing the winds of Hurricane Sandy: The storm is likely to form a “combined gyre” or a “hybrid vortex,” Cisco wrote…4

I continued my Internet search and discovered that the word gyre is also an oceanic term: an ocean gyre is a circular ocean current formed by the Earth’s wind patterns and the forces created by the rotation of the planet. There are five major gyres:




  • Indian Ocean Gyre
  • North Atlantic Gyre
  • North Pacific Gyre
  • South Atlantic Gyre
  • South Pacific Gyre6

Gyres collect and hold trash in the ocean, creating garbage patches.

It might be fun to use both kefuffle and gyre in one sentence: The accumulation of man’s garbage in the ocean gyres (garbage patches) causes a kerfuffle between environmentalists and industrialists.



Hurricane Sandy Enters the Ligonier Valley, PA., Oct. 29, 2012:

Are You Prepared for Frankenstorm’s Onslaught?:

Writers Die With Pen In Hand…









  1. Thanks for the definitions. Would not have taken the time to look them up.

    Comment by Barbee Hodgkins — November 4, 2012 @ 1:06 pm | Reply

    • Barbee, I haven’t heard from you for a long time. How are you? Thanks for commenting!
      Carolyn Cornell Holland

      Comment by carolyncholland — November 4, 2012 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  2. Heard the word “kerfuffle” last night on the Big Bang Theory. Didn’t take long to figure out the meaning.

    Comment by Pam — November 9, 2012 @ 8:44 am | Reply

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