When I was a kid, we (like virtually every other English-speaking person) called this…

…a dandelion.  But the thing is, we had a different name for this:

This, dear readers, is a fitterfetter (at least in my family).  It sometimes sounds better if you use the Boston accent I had as a kid (and have apparently lost after 17 years in the midwest), and say “FIT-uh-fet-uh”.

I don’t know where it came from, and I’ve never met anyone else outside of my family familiar with the term.  But I’d like to propose that this become its official name.  It’s fun to say (try it: “FIT-uh-fet-uh”), and it differentiates between the two.

Plus, when you watch Cosmos, you can call it Sagan’s Fitterfetter ship, instead of his Dandelion ship.  It just sounds cooler that way.

U.S.S. Fitterfetter

So I have four questions, basically.

  1. Has anyone else heard it called a “fitterfetter”?
  2. Does anyone else have any “family slang” that no one else seems to have heard of?
  3. What does this have to do with Science-Based Parenting?
  4. Do you think “fitterfetter” is somehow related to “fluffernutter“???

OK, now I’m hungry for a fluffernutter…  Where’s my Marshmallow Fluff???

..Rob T.

Dandelion and Fitterfetter pictures are CC-BY-SA-3.0/UpstateNYer at Wikipedia

“U.S.S. Fitterfetter” image captured from Hulu’s broadcast of Cosmos, episode 6, Travellers’ Tales.

Fluffernutter image from


7 Responses to Fitterfetter

  1. Lorry says:

    I grew up in an area that had no dandelions, and I only saw them in movies. What you call a fitterfetter was the only dandelion to me until college, when I moved and saw the yellow flower, and after several months became aware that it was ALSO a dandelion. What a revelation.

    • Rob T says:

      “I grew up in an area that had no dandelions”

      I had no idea such a magical place existed. But that’s pretty funny about never seeing a yellow one until college!

  2. Canada Jeff says:

    Sorry Rob, no “fiterfetter” proponents in my family, but we do have a similar family slang story;

    When I was a lad, the ambiguous nature of the word “spatula” was causing problems around the kitchen. Was my mother asking me to pass her the rubbery bowl scraper thingy, or the flat, hard, grilled cheese sandwich flipper thingy? More often than not, I got it wrong.

    We decided that the rubber bowl scraper thingy would be the spatula, and the grilled cheese flipper thingy would be designated the “gazunder” (guh-ZUN-der) because it gazunder pancakes, it gazunder fried eggs, you get the idea.

    The name stuck so well that it became a normal part of our family dialect. Years later, I asked my girlfriend (now bride) to pass me the gazunder, and to her credit she did not walk out on me on the spot, she just patiently asked for clarification, probably wondering what sort of fractured nut job she had gotten involved with. For our wedding, she had our special cake serving thingy engraved “The Wedding Gazunder”. Her journey to the dark side was complete.

    • Rob T says:

      I like the Gazunder. Good one.

      Likewise, my wife has adopted fitterfetter into her lexicon. Makes me happy to hear her say it.

  3. Ticktock says:

    My family has a name that we use for comforter: “eider down”. Although it’s a real word, my wife thinks I’m crazy every time that I say it.

    Also, both my parents had mothers who were British war brides, so pronounce some words oddly. Like for the breakfast pastry, they say “scawn” instead of “scone”. Weirdos.

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