The Suitcase Lady


January 23, 2018, 9:30 pm

Officially, it is not a word. It doesn’t appear in the dictionary. But unofficially, it most certainly is a word. Most of us instantly grasp the meaning of recombobulation…..and smile.

Modern airports are places where smiles are often in short supply. Long lines, cancelled flights, overpriced food, and over-worked employees are not conducive to happy faces. Add to this the security measures which require travelers to divest themselves of their clothes, shoes, jewelry, food, water and electronics and it all adds up to stress.

The former director of the Milwaukee Airport, Barry Bateman, saw the need for some comic relief and created the RECOMBOBULATION AREA  at the end of the security lines.  MKE has the proud distinction of being the only airport in the world with these clever signs. Pretty good for an airport that will always be a step-sister to O’Hare.

The coining of “recombobulation” might be recent, but the word “discombobulate” goes back to the early 1800’s in America when there was a fad to mix Latin roots with slang to create “long, fancy sounding made up words.”  While checking out more of these all American, highfalutin, faux educated words, I came across these jewels:

  • Absquatulate, get out
  • Hornswoggle, to trick or hoax
  • Foofaraw, a great fuss about something insignificant
  • Discumgalligumfricated, greatly astonished, but pleased
  • Ramsasspatorious, excited, anxious, impatient

I can definitely say that I feel ramsasspatorious when I’m recombobulating in the MKE airport. I can’t find all my thingamabobs and I just want to absquatulate.

2 Comments for this entry

  • Liz Levins

    Love the recombobulation area. Too few Barry Batemans in public administration!

  • Susan Smith

    Being from the south I can expound on a wide variety of unpublished words that are commonly used and understood by those living in various regions of that part of the U.S. One word that did catch me by surprise in a southern restaurant was YAMCHUS. Curious as to the proper spelling. It was used in the context of: Wow, the food here is yamchus ( great ).