A farrago is a whole bunch of random stuff all mixed together in a disorganized way.
fuh RAY go
Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one farrago or multiple farragos/farragoes.)
You can spell the plural "farragos" or "farragoes," but you probably won't use it much.
The adjective is "farraginous," said "fuh RAJ in us."
How to use it:
Usually you'll talk about "a farrago of things," like a farrago of thoughts that keep you up at night, a farrago of loosely enforced rules in your office, this farrago of grammar errors all over your foreign language homework assignment, and that farrago of stuff in that one drawer you haven't cleaned out in forever.
And you can leave out the "of" phrase if you like: "Their presentation was a hot mess. There wasn't a single piece of clear information in that entire farrago."
As you can tell, "farrago" almost always has a negative meaning: it's not just any mixture; it's a confused, disorganized mixture. But you could apply the word gently: "I'm still enjoying that book's farrago of facts about etymology."
You may have noticed already, but let me point out this grammar tidbit: you can have either a farrago of countable things ("a farrago of criticisms") or a farrago of uncountable stuff ("a farrago of emotion.")
It seems that the days surrounding a birth or a death in the family turn into a farrago of memories, and in those memories it's sometimes hard to recall whether the newborn or the person who passed was there in body or just in spirit.
A movie scene that takes place in a math class just isn't authentic without some crazy farrago of equations on the blackboard. Never mind if it's a sixth grade class, let's see some Greek symbols up there.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "farrago" means when you can explain it without saying "jumbled mixture" or "disorganized pile."
Think of a book, movie, TV show, or play that you think is ridiculous, and fill in the blanks: "To me, (Title) is basically a farrago of _____."
Example: "To me, Family Guy is basically a farrago of nonsensical flashbacks."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing New Word Order! It's a card game that I recently created; it involves figuring out the order in which certain words and phrases entered our language. I'll give you several words and/or phrases, and you'll use your knowledge of history, slang, technology, popular culture, fashion, psychology, etc. to put them into chronological order. I'll post the right answer to each question on the following day. If you like this game, you can download and print it to play with your family and friends. (It's free.)
Remember, you don't need to come up with the actual years--just try to get the words in the correct time order.
Try these today:
Astroparticle physicist, campy, & Jacuzzi.
A Point Well Made:
John Keats: “Every mental pursuit takes its reality and worth from the ardour of the pursuer.”
1. The opposite of FARRAGO is
A. RANDOM BITS
B. DISINTEGRATED HEAP
C. CATALOGUED COLLECTION
2. With a farrago of footnotes, the textbook _____.
A. presents a clear and well-balanced view of each topic
B. offers resources for further reading regarding current disagreements within the field
C. gives the impression that the author failed to be selective in presenting interesting but tangential information
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
When you need a more sophisticated word than "jumble" or "mishmash," you might use today's word, "farrago," or our previous word "salmagundi."
Interestingly, both of these words are related to food. "Farrago" is based on a Latin root meaning a mixture of different grains for animals to eat. Could you recall the (human) food that makes up a literal salmagundi? Follow the link if you want to check--there's a picture of it, too.
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