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What Stinks?

May 3, 2019

I don’t know why I thought of “P.U.” this morning. I didn’t smell anything that would warrant a “P.U.” so it’s a mystery. Maybe I had a dream where I smelled something? Or maybe it’s precognition and I’m going to smell something bad later today? Anyway, I turned to the internet and Wiktionary told me that “pew” is “An expression of disgust in response to an unpleasant odor.” And that “pee-ew” is a “drawn out version of phew” and “an exclamation of disgust.

In the world of definitions, that one rates a solid meh.

Pee-ew to those definitions.

The Word Wizard website had a thread on this from 2008 where someone named ‘Bobinwales’ posited that it is “PHEW” and “P.U” is onomatopoeia and “nothing more”. I don’t know if I buy that but I might buy a t-shirt that had his signature line printed on it: “All those years gone to waist!

The best and most thorough definition I found was on the Today I Found Out website. And before I forget, that’s a pretty cool website and I’m happy I found it. They define P.U., in part, as:

Dating back to the early 17th century, a common exclamation of contempt for a foul odor was pyoo. As English spelling had yet to become standardized, this word was also written as pue, peugh, pew and pue. Although each variant was correctly pronounced pyü, often in practice, and particularly to express outrage, both syllables were stretched out with the pronunciation: pē-‘ū (pee-YOU), which, over the years, has been changed into P.U. – From the Today I Found Out website

You can read the full definition, as well as the origins of other words that describe smelly things, by visiting their website where you can also learn why asparagus makes your urine smell (P.U.!) and why garlic makes your breath smell bad (pyoo!) and why a baker’s dozen is 13 and not 12 (Mmm… bread…).

Speaking of garlic, I recently learned that China produces more garlic than any other place in the world. Like 80% of the world’s garlic is produced in China. The garlic that is produced in California and packaged in granulated form and sold by Costco under the Kirkland brand doesn’t have much of a garlicky taste and I don’t think it’s very good.

So, now what? I guess that’s it.

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