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November 6, 2003

Slang of the Week: brain fart (noun phrase)
a stupid thought

“Janine, come back! I didn’t really mean what I said about your sister’s breasts! That was just a brain fart!!” pleaded Steve.

Celebrity quote:
“I was having a huge brain fart when I did the dark hair. My hairdresser persuaded me. And at first it was cool but then I went on vacation and my girlfriend got her hair highlighted and I was like, 'Man I gotta go back, I wanna be blonde again!’”
-Britney Spears

Since a fart is gas that comes out of the butt, a brain fart is presumably gas that blows your intelligence out of your head, something that may have happened to Ms. Spears earlier than her decision to change her hair color.

Brain fart came on the scene about twenty years ago, but fart has been a "bad" word for much, much longer. Originally found in Old English, it gained literary popularity in the late 14th century, when writer Geoffrey Chaucer had his characters farting with the strength of thunderbolts in his classic The Canterbury Tales.

Of course, Chaucer didn’t use such charming synonyms as cut the cheese, break wind, or let one rip, but that was probably because they didn’t exist yet, and not because he was restrained.

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