Friday, October 20, 2006

Words worth espousing - "bumf"

Every morning at work I check my bumf hole? Some days I check it two or three times. Occasionally I ask a colleague to check it for me. Do you?

Bumf: That portion of the enormous mass of official correspondence which was used for a more undignified purpose than originally intended. Later applied more generally to correspondence and literature of little value.

This was an abbreviation of ‘bumfodder’ current from 1889 as schoolboys’ slang for ‘toilet paper’. In the war it was applied to official correspondence, most of which was viewed as unnecessary. It has acquired general currency for paperwork since World War I. Also spelt ‘bumph’.