Don’t oaf-rock your kids
fabulous, long-forgotten word: Oaf-rocked.
In a story on Paul Anthony Jones’ book, The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities, the BBC reports on lost words such as “frowst,” which is “19th-Century schoolboy slang word for ‘extra time spent in bed on a Sunday’.” Lie too long in bed and you’ll feel “frowsty.”
“Oaf-rocked” comes from Yorkshire dialect, meaning “weak as an adult due to a sheltered or pampered childhood.”
Oaf here is either a corruption of ‘half’ (in the sense that a weak adult was only ‘half-rocked’, or improperly cared for as a child), or ‘elf ’ (derived from an old piece of folklore that claims elves would steal human children and replace them with their own ‘changelings’).
“Oaf” and “elf” come from the old Norse “alfr” meaning elf’s child, changeling, halfwit, silly person or deformed idiot. Nowadays, we think of elves as small and cute and oafs as big and clumsy.
Anyhow, don’t oaf-rock your children.