This AskMetaFilter question begins:
A few months ago, my wife posted on her a blog an article that appeared in the September issue of Vogue. It’s about Ashley Javier, an exclusive New York hair stylist, whose penthouse shop is in a “rough part of Manhattan”:
When he arrived on Twenty-eighth Street, “This place was harrogatha! Harrogatha!”
Neither one of us knows the word, and my wife included in her blog entry a request for a definition. No one has come forward, and I’m beginning to go crazy.
A fair amount of pointless guessing followed; finally, someone contacted Mr. Javier and posted the result:
When Ashley moved to NYC 15 years ago, he befriended Paul Rutherford of Frankie Goes to Hollywood fame.
So harrogatha (pronounced huh-RAH-gutha) is a term that he picked up from Paul and it means that something is so horrible, so horrendous, so bad that it’s practically infectious.
Ashley’s not sure where Paul picked it up, or if he made it up.
So there you have it. You can simply admire the pluck and resourcefulness of the AskMeFi crew (and raise an eyebrow at the fecklessness of the Vogue reporter, who didn’t bother to explain the word), or you can incorporate this silly but memorable vocable into your own usage and try to get it into the next edition of your favorite dictionary.