SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: The shameless functionary’s betise epitomized the prevailing garboil.


It’s another mind-expanding installment of SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.

Around this time each week, wails of self-flagellation and angst begin seeping out of the bunker’s down-low ventilation ducts.

Why all these newfangled words?

Why not the old, familiar, comforting words, the ones that sufficed back during the glory days, long before bad taste and naked greed kicked in like a bond-issue-percentage speedball, knocking you back into the turnbuckles but feeling oh so fine, and now, as the Great Elongated and Exasperated Obfuscator of comic book series fame (can Disney World be far behind?) you teach detailed principles of banking to actual bankers, at least when not otherwise occupied making healthy deposits into your own account?

Thankfully, even if one toils for the Public Housing Hammer, a healthy vocabulary isn’t about intimidation through erudition. Rather, it’s about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one’s pay grade or station in life.

Even municipal corporate attorneys reaping handsome remuneration to suppress information, squelch community dialogue and flee the council chamber before being forced to endure dissenting words uttered by grubby martini-swilling constituents, can benefit from this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we contemplate TIFs, CPIs, IUDs and IOUs, all we really have is time — and the opportunity to learn something, if we’re so inclined.

This week’s sentence is sure to send them fleeing for the ice-cold Mich Ultras: “The shameless functionary’s bêtise epitomized the prevailing garboil.”




1. lack of understanding, perception, or the like; stupidity.
2. a stupid or foolish act or remark.
3. something inconsequential or without merit; absurdity; trifle.

Origin of bêtise

1820-30; < French: literally, foolishness, equivalent to bête foolish (see beast ) + -ise -ice

These sound like a pretentious menu description: “Filet of locally sourced bêtise, garboiled to perfection.”



noun, Archaic.

1. confusion.

Origin of garboil

1540-50; < Middle French garbouil < Old Italian garbuglio

Wait — didn’t Bêtise Garboil play for the Canadiens … or was it Flaherty Collins?