Blivet

A blivet [bliv-it], also known as a poiuyt, devil’s fork or widget, is an undecipherable figure, an optical illusion and an impossible object. It appears to have three cylindrical prongs at one end which then mysteriously transform into two rectangular prongs at the other end.

In traditional U.S. Army slang dating back to the Second World War, a blivet was defined as ‘ten pounds of manure in a five pound bag’ (a proverbial description of anything egregiously ugly or unmanageable); it was applied to an unmanageable situation, a crucial but substandard or damaged tool, or a self-important person. In some areas of the U.S., it refers to a juvenile prank, clearly connected with the original military usage: a sack full of excrement is ignited on the victim’s porch, while the pranksters ring the doorbell and run. The victim attempts to put the flames out by stamping on the bag.

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