Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Random Sequence: troth

"Before her coming, Maggie was sad, but tranquil, and as she believed herself, free -- Marie left her exalted, miserable, and bound by a solemn promise to hold fast her troth, in defiance of parents, friends, evil reports, the world!"
--"Nobody to Blame" by Marion Harland, Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine, April 1864

(I found a bound copy of several issues of Godey's in my basement and have been flipping through the dusty pages.)

troth = pledged faithfulness or word, fidelity

"betrothed" is related I believe. And if you "keep your word" about something, you have decided to "plight your troth". ("Plight" means to promise there, not that you're putting your fidelity in a pickle.)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Word of the Day: oneiric

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

oneiric [oh-NYE-ric] (adjective) [TWITO, page 102]

Related to or suggestive of dreams

"A fairly common type observed was a state of mental confusion associated with what has been termed oneiric delirium, symptoms of which were associated with a history of concussion and exhaustive experiences."
--John H.W. Rhein, M.D.,"Psychopathic Reactions to Combat Experiences in the American Army," The American Journal of Insanity (1920)

The oneiric John Lennon song "#9 Dream" is often rattling around inside my head.

(photo by me)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Link Mania: Reheated cabbage? When pigs fly

23 Untranslatable Foreign Words That Describe Love Better Than You Ever Thought
All you need is love... or "reheated cabbage"?


Word Buzz: demon, digital nudist, emotional support pig
When pigs fly: Your "emotional support pig" may need emotional support.


21 Phrases You Use Without Realizing You’re Quoting Shakespeare
Most surprising: "Knock, knock! Who's there..."


The Longest English Words to Ever Appear in Literature
Includes "honorificabilitudinitatibus" (TWITO, page 68). Say that 10 times fast.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Word of the Day: illapse

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

illapse (noun or verb) [TWITO, page 71]

To fall or glide into, the act of falling or gliding into something

"What moves thee, if the senses stir not? Light/Moves thee from Heaven, spontaneous, self-inform'd;/Or, likelier, gliding down with swift illapse/By will divine."
--Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

Hmm, gliding into something.... I recall driving a Volkswagen on a gusty winter night in upstate New York and gliding off the road into a snowbank. Car, passenger and driver were unharmed in this illapse.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Photo of the Week (by me)


Happy December! Time to trim the tree. Click the pic for a close-up view. Because you are not a Scrooge.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Brain Dump

I've decided to name my coffee table "tsundoku", the Japanese word for a pile of unread books.

I don't think I would have enjoyed pardoning a turkey when I was a teen. Or even now.

I found myself saying "I have a bad feeling about this" today about a certain situation. Yes, I've seen the new Star Wars trailer.

The most famous living philosopher in contemporary America is apparently Shia LeBeouf.

If you say someone is "low man on the totem pole", is that offensive to Native Americans?

Book title of the day: "Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found". Exactly what it sounds like. (I do not make these up.)

Saw "Interstellar". Wormholes, black holes, plot holes. Sci-fi space is like Swiss cheese.

"It's time to eat grandma." Commas deserve more respect.

Brit slang: "Bob's your uncle!" Meaning, "it's simple". I could use an Uncle Bob.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Random Sequence: such frippery

"Hum -- that means they call themselves 'aristocratic,' the younger folks -- for the old gentleman's always been too busy to care about your frippery called 'social distinctions!'"
--Mary W. Janvrin, "Only a Mechanic", in Godey's Lady Book and Magazine, July 1864

(I found a bound copy of several issues of Godey's in my basement and have been flipping through the dusty pages.)

frippery (noun) = showy or unnecessary ornamentation, including in language; overly affected elegance

There's a store in my neighborhood that specializes in frippery:
fancy funishings

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Word of the Day: oikofugic

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

oikofugic (adjective) [TWITO, page 101]

Marked by the urge to wander or travel away from home

"Genevieve's employment as an flight attendant for Oceanic Airlines enabled her to indulge her most oikofugic fantasies, but an emergency landing in Uzbekistan was not one of them."

sunset sky 5

Friday, November 28, 2014

Link Mania: Email in the 16th Century?

Ten 'Modern' Words With Literary Origins
The word "email" first appeared in print in 1594. Believe it!


10 Words Every Writer Needs to Know
Including "scripturient" (TWITO, page 133, which calls it an adjective). Apparently you can also be one. Sounds better than "scribbler"?


21 Rhetorical Devices Explained
When I was a kid, my favorite fictional character was Encyclopedia Brown. Those that called him that were engaging in "antiprosopopoeia", which is the opposite of "prosopopoeia" (TWITO, page 116).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Photo of the Week (by me): Ring Thing


Beautiful is boring. Click the pic for a closer view -- because that's what we do on the Web.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Much Ado about NOTHING

My wife collects antique bottles, including soda-pop bottles from bygone eras. Some of the names of defunct bottlers are evocative of summers past:
  • Minck's Better Beverages -- "A Sparkling Carbonated Beverage -- Triple Filtered Through Ultra-Violet Rays" (Brooklyn, NY)
  • M.H. Myers -- "For three generations, beverages of quality" (New York, NY)
  • Cheer Up (brand) -- "A Delightful Drink -- A Real Super-Charged Beverage -- For Hospital, Home, and General Use" (Morristown, NJ)
  • Hoffman Pale Dry Ginger Ale -- "Extra Dry" (Newark, NJ)
  • Skipper (brand) Beverages -- "Soda-Licious -- It's Fun to Drink" (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Manhattan Beverages -- "The Sign of Quality" (Woonsocket, R.I.)
Names like "Coke" and "Pepsi" just don't have the same ring.

Ultra-violet rays?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Random Sequence: animadvert on this

"Once I remember animaadverting severely upon the conduct of one who had spoken meanly malicious words of June herself -- words that I felt must wound her in a vital point."
--Marion Harland, "Seven Years", in Godey's Lady Book and Magazine, December 1864

(I found a bound copy of several issues of Godey's in my basement and have been flipping through the dusty pages.)

animadverting (verb, also "animadvert") = to comment or remark critically, usually with intense disapproval

Hmm, to say "animadverting severely" seems pleonastic.

The weird thing about this bound copy of Godey's (an American magazine) is that the issues are all from the 1860s, and there is not a single unambiguous mention anywhere of the American Civil War.