What’s a ‘ruction’?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: ruction…

An unsparing novel that addresses and denunciates the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Ireland,  A History of Loneliness, by John Boyne, tells the story of an honourable Irish priest who finds the church collapsing around him. The book offered more than a compelling story; it also gave me my word of the week, ruction.

Here is how the author used it:

Hannah had refused, laughing at the very idea, leading to ructions at home.

I guess correctly at the meaning because of the word’s similarity to ruckus, which means a noisy commotion or a heated controversy. A ruction, similarly refers to a disturbance or a quarrel. Synonyms are: disturbance, noise, racket, din, commotion, fuss, uproar, furor, hue and cry and fracas. I thought the photo of the fighting birds at the top of this post was a good illustration of a ruction.

Interestingly, etymologists speculate that ruction came to English in the early 19th century as a shortening and alteration of other words suggesting an episode of violence: either insurrection or eruption — or, perhaps, both. The earliest uses of ruction refer to the Irish Rebellion of 1798, an uprising against British rule. Ruckus came later, around 1890, and was probably formed by combining ruction with rumpus.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on Jan. 16/19.

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