December 16th, 2013 .

Hope You’re Sufficiently Suffonsified

Pat Morden

Planning to eat your way through the next couple of weeks? Of course! Good food is a big part of the holiday season. My faves are chocolate and shortbread.

But when I’m offered something to eat and feel I can’t fit in another bite, no matter how delicious,  I sometimes find myself saying, “No thanks, I’m sufficiently suffonsified.”

I always assumed that this silly expression was made up – something in the ilk of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. But no, there is apparently a legitimate folk etymology. The phrase was apparently once considered a polite way to respond to an offer of food – more acceptable in company, I guess, than belching and saying, “No thanks, I’m full to the back teeth.”

That strange word, suffonsified, turns up in many forms, including surancified and circoncified, and there are many theories as to how it may have developed.

Interestingly, there is some evidence that the phrase is Canadian in origin, or at least in surviving usage. It appears in Margaret Atwood’s novel Cat’s Eye, and was adopted as the pseudonym of a Vancouver restaurant reviewer. How Canadian to find a tortuous and entirely unnecessary way to be polite!

So go ahead, impress your friends and relations at the holiday groaning board. When you’ve had enough turkey and stuffing, you know just what to say.


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