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Kerfuffle is a word of Scottish origin meaning a mess or an argument. (Suspicion: onomatopoeia for the sound of a flustered chicken fluffing its feathers.)
Kerfuffle is applied more broadly than wank and may mean any kind of argument, including some very serious ones. Wank, in the disagreement sense, applies only to situations where a critical observer would roll their eyes.
A few fans persist in misspelling it "kerfluffle." One reason for this persistence is the use of the kerfluffle spelling on the Fandom Wank homepage, where it's used as the text for the "post a comment" link.
Another reason is that some fans use "kerfluffle" when they want to mock the content of a kerfuffle further, because it makes the spelling connection to "fluff" and implies a lack of substance or sometimes a playful argument.
- I would dearly love to know how it became general fannish parlance, because it is otherwise a rare word. Need citation, speculation!
- Versaphile comments on the misspelling (see talk page): Hah, the kerfluffle spelling in fandom is totally my fault. When I designed the Fandom_Wank homepage, I didn't know the proper way to spell it was kerfuffle and used the alternate spelling. It stuck and it hasn't been changed since, no doubt confusing many Scottish people. (Accessed 29 October 2008)
- Category talk:Kerfluffles - Fan History Wiki: The Fandom History Resource, Archived version