Language is a funny old thing. We take it for granted most of the time, but it’s incredible to think that countless people have come to almost the same understanding of what some randomly ordered letters refer to. It’s even stranger when you start looking at things like slang words, or words that were once on the tip of every tongue that no one even remembers anymore. Some of these words need to be brought back. Others need to be forgotten…


We’re not entirely sure where damfino came from, but we do know it makes an excellent PG-rated curse, and people need to use it more.
According to Passing English of the Victorian Era, it’s a shortened version of “I am damned if I know.” If you’re in a situation that calls for that particular curse, “damfino” is the way to say it with a verbal shrug and an eye roll. That’s especially true in the chaos of today’s world, when you can drop gems like: “Damfino how they didn’t see that advertisement was horribly racist.”
In spite of Victorian roots, the word was hugely popular through the 1920s thanks to Buster Keaton. According to The International Buster Keaton Society, Damfino was the name of a boat associated with him, mostly because it’s a ready-made punchline just waiting to be delivered after the boat sinks. Humor has changed a lot, too.
by Debra Kelly
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