Monday, August 22, 2016

Word of the Day ninnyhammer

What's "the word I'm thinking of"? Today, it's....

ninnyhammer [NIN-ee-ham-er](noun) [TWITO, page 96]

A fool, simpleton or silly person

"You silly, awkward, illbred, country sow...have you no more manners than to rail at Hocus, that has saved that clodpated numskull'd ninnyhammer of yours from ruin, and all his family?"
--John Arbuthnot, "The History of John Bull" (1712)

Sometimes I think I’d have to be a ninnyhammer to collect all of these obscure words. I’ve been doing it for years, without a clear idea of what I would do with them. Then one day I realized I could collect them in a book, achieving fame and fortune. The rest is history.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Random Sequence: pajock

"For thou dost know, O Damon dear, This realm dismantled was Of Jove himself, and now reigns here A very very — pajock "
--William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act 3, scene 2

pajock (noun) = a peacock, or a vain person -- considered an ass.

Now you can call your least favorite athlete a "pajock". Or your least favorite politician....

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Random Sequence: Finical

"A knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats, a base proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, fifthly-worsted-stocking knave; a lilly-livered, action-taking, whoreson glass-gazing super serviceable finical rogue, one-trunk-inheriting slave."
--William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 2, Scene 2

finical (adjective) = finicky, fussy

When Shakespeare insults, he really insults, wielding his pen like a scimitar.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Random Sequence: Quiddities and Quillets

"There's another; why may not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks?"
--William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act V, Scene 1

quiddities (noun,plural of quiddity) = quibbles, objections
quillets (noun, plural of quillet) = subtle distinctions

Lawyers -- always mincing words. Unlike me, of course....

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Story Cubes 18: Vertigo (fiction)


"I don't have a magic wand," I said when we reached the top of the tower.

She gave me a sour look. "You don't need one," she said. If you weren't slow as a turtle and such a straight arrow, you could leave footprints around the world."

"You are just full of clichés, aren't you?" I retorted.

Angry, she turned and stared out at the landscape, her mouth slowly opening and closing, like a fish. Apparently, she was trying to think of something pithy to say, but nothing would come out.

I started to whistle a meandering tune and leaned out of the window. I could just make out our footprints below. It was getting dark, and I saw a star fall to earth. Then I felt her hand on my back. For an insane second, I thought she was going to push me.

I turned around, and we both started to laugh. Vertigo? I said. "Don't worry. This isn't the end," she said.

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(The bold-faced words are interpreted from the images on Rory's Story Cubes)

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Quote of the Day: Unusual Usage

"A usage dictionary is one of the great bathroom books of all time. Because it has the appeal of trivia, the entries are for the most part brief, and you end up within 48 hours — due to that weird psychological effect — actually drawing on exactly what you learned in some weird, coincidental way."
—David Foster Wallace

Monday, June 06, 2016

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Random Sequence: Fustian

"Drunk? And speak parrot? And squabble? Swagger? Swear? And discourse fustian with one’s own shadow? O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!"
--William Shakespeare, Othello, Act 2. Scene 3

fustian (adjective) = bombastic, absurdly pompous

Do you know any political figures today who could be described as fustian? Think hard, now....

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Story Cubes 17: Keys (fiction)



I walked to the middle of the bridge, slow as a turtle. Then I dropped my keys into the water, perhaps startling the fish down there. They were my the keys to the old house, the one we lost in the fire. I guess I was saying goodbye, in a way, to that life. I looked up at the sky. No rainbow there. Then my phone rang. "It's six o'clock", she said. "Where are you?" "It's only early morning on the other side of the globe", I said. And I wished I was there.

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(The bold-faced words are interpreted from the images on Rory's Story Cubes)