A WORD: Arkansas, can you recognize the word hiding behind its definitions?

Democrat-Gazette photo illustration/Celia Storey
Democrat-Gazette photo illustration/Celia Storey

Let's play Obfuscation, the little game where I give you some of the definitions of a common word, and you recognize the word -- or not.

Today's word has five letters. It can be a noun, verb, interjection or adjective. This word is thought to descend from a Middle Dutch term for "lover" that was related to Middle Low and Middle High German words meaning the same thing. But another of its applications descends from a French term for boiled beef.

Its first use in English dates from 1548, a year in which cudweed, parsnip, pilfer and stone-cold also entered the language.

? ... ? ... ? ... ? ... ?

The word means:

◼️ Pimp.

◼️ A hired ruffian.

◼️ Pickled or canned corned beef.

◼️ Excellent!

◼️ To treat in a cruel, insulting or threatening fashion.

Our Nov. 20 word was "sorry." I'll publish this week's answer Dec. 4, but feel free to email sooner if you want to know right away.

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CORRECTION: A previous version of this article gave the wrong answer to the Nov. 20 puzzle.