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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick: Cuya-who-ga? (for the Week of April 27, 2008)

April 27, 2008

Q. Dear Twig: "Cuyahoggily"? I don't get it.

A. "Cuyahoggily"? Last week? Eh? Eh? OK, it's a made-up word. But I sure do like it anyway. Say it 20 times in a row and see, just see, if you don't start to laugh. Or spray spittle. Or your dad kindly asks you to stop. All three.

"Cuyahoggily." It stems adverbally from a river in northern Ohio: The Cuyahoga, which runs, rolls, winds and wends through a national park that bears its name (but no bears). Through a county that bears its name, as well (also no bears, but more people than any other county in Ohio). Through Cleveland. And into Lake Erie. (Note: Some people say "ki-uh-HAW-guh." And some say "ki-uh-HO-guh.") Me, I metamorphosed ("met-uh-MOR-fozed") near it. I lived as a nymph in that county.

Remember our contest! Pick your favorite funny noun (such as bream, lug nut or urohydrosis). Write a haiku on it. Send them to me at You might win my book, Hairy Blenny! I'll share the best here!



P.S. Amazingly, the following haven't been entered yet: Wawa, guano, endoplasmic reticulum.


Read more about the Cuyahoga River and, specifically, about the Cuyahoga Valley National Park at

Read more about the ostensible contest prize, Hairy Blenny and the Monkeyface Prickleback, at

"Early Native Americans used the (Cuyahoga) river as a trading route, and named it ‘ka-ih-ogh-ha,' or crooked, for it twists like an old lazy snake for 100 miles," says a National Park Service Web site.

Other sources say the Indian word means "winding stream."

You might remember that last week's word/topic, Susquehanna, came from an Indian word, too, and means something similar: "Long, crooked river."

About This:

"Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick," published by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences — specifically, by the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension, the research and outreach arms, respectively, of the College — is a weekly feature for children about science, nature, farming and the environment. It's written at, to and for a 4th-grade reading level.

For details, to ask Twig a question, and/or to receive the column free by mail or e-mail, contact Kurt Knebusch, CommTech, OSU/OARDC,1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691,, (330) 263-3776.

Online at

Kurt Knebusch