Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for May 25, 2021 is:
bumbershoot BUM-ber-shoot noun
“Actually, it may be time to dig out the underused bumbershoot from the back of your closet.… According to Bagnall, these balmy days may be over for a while as three coming storms line up to bring cooler and wetter conditions….” — Steven Mayer, The Bakersfield Californian, 22 Jan. 2021
“Someday, umbrellas may do more than just keep people dry. A researcher in the Netherlands has designed a simple sensor that ‘listens’ to rain. And that sensor can turn a bumbershoot into a rain-measuring whiz.” — Cameron Walker, Science News for Students, 3 June 2014
Did you know?
Umbrellas have plenty of nicknames. In Britain, brolly is a popular alternative to the more staid umbrella. Sarah Gamp, a fictional nurse who toted a particularly large umbrella in Charles Dickens’s novel Martin Chuzzlewit, has inspired some English speakers to dub oversize versions gamps. Bumbershoot is a predominantly American nickname, one that has been recorded as a whimsical, slightly irreverent handle for umbrellas since the late 1800s. As with most slang terms, the origins of bumbershoot are a bit foggy, but it appears that the bumber is a modification of the umbr- in umbrella and the shoot is an alteration of the -chute in parachute (since an open parachute looks a little like an umbrella).