Gaylord is a forename and sometimes a surname with origins in Old France. Back then it was spelled Gaillard until it was anglicized during the reign of King Edward VI (1547-1553) when protestants from Normandy emigrated to England to escape religious persecution. In name meaning books and websites, Gaylord is defined as meaning brave or representing strength. However, a direct translation of the word gaillard is 'ribald, bawdy or strapping,' as in, 'he's a strapping young fellow'.

Of course, the true popularity of Gaylord arose in the 80's as the term became popular as a playground insult. Supposedly the gay community was developing some kind of complex hierarchy and the intended victim of the insult was portrayed as leading it. It also could be flipped around as 'Lord of the Gays' and could be retorted by exclaiming, 'Nu-uh, you're the flaming duke of queerdom.' Kids can be so creative when they're cruel. Gaylord had a brief comedic rise recently in 'Meet the Parents,' a film starring Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro in which Ben Stiller's character is named Gaylord Focker, much to everyone's shocked amusement.

Though a difficult name to grow up with, all Gaylords should be proud of a long heritage of standing strong and bravely against opposition. We have Mitch Gaylord, Gaylord Perry, Gaylord Jon Ranson... oh wait, that's me. Apparently, kids aren't the only ones that can be cruel. Parents play that role quite easily as well.

Gaylord is, like heroin or band-aid, a trade name that has entered general use. It got its name from the Gaylord Container Corporation (which in turn got its name from the family name), which is now part of Temple Inland, a large Texan forest products corporation.

A gaylord is a simple, clever idea: a very strong, corrugated cardboard box on a wooden pallet. The term gaylord sometimes also refers to only the cardboard box, but most people use it to refer to the combination. A standard gaylord is usually from three to four feet cubed, about the right size to be handled by a forklift or pallet jack. The gaylord is surprisingly strong for something made of paper: I have seen them filled with materials weighing probably up to 500 kilograms. It is quite a feat to do with an item made of heavy paper, light wood, and that probably altogether only weighs forty or fifty pounds. Gaylords are an important way to keep random stuff together in a warehouse setting.

That being said...GAYLORD! The possibilities of juvenile humor are truly endless and inexhaustible. Whether intentional or unintentional, the gaylords of the world, and the big sweaty men who jam them full, are a neverending spring of laughter. Just when you think the joke has been played out, someone says, quite innocently, "I need to go get to that gaylord from behind". Of course, part of the humor comes from the ironic knowledge of how silly and stupid the puns and innuendos are. Part of it just comes from how funny the word gaylord is.

So to sum up: Gaylords...useful AND funny.

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