Sunday, September 09, 2018

Words I'm Thinking Of: toubbillon, doolally, killcow

Tourbillon = a whirlwind or vortex, like a hurricane

"...do you think that a seat upon the bench would have removed me from the tourbillon of politics?" -- John Quincy Adams (1811), TWITO, page 148

Doolally = insane, mad, eccentric

"I like talking to people who are a little doolally," said Lisa. "Not a lot crazy, just a little bit." TWITO, page 42.

Killcow = an arrogant or bullying person

"Don't be such a killcow," Helen said when Karl kept interrupting her. "What do you mean?" he replied. "I'm a vegetarian!" TWITO, page 80

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Word of the Day: mooreeffoc

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

mooreeffoc [MOOR-ee-fok] (noun or adjective) TWITO, page 91

Something that appears strange when seen from an unusual angle

"That wild word, 'Moor Eeffoc,' is the motto of all effective realism; it is the masterpiece of the good realistic principle--the principle that the most fantastic thing of all is often the precise fact."
--G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens: A Critical Study (1906)

This word comes from Charles Dickens, who used it in his abandoned autobiography. He was sitting in a London cafe one day and noticed that "moor-eeffoc" is "coffee room" spelled backwards; Dickens was looking at the establishment's name from the "wrong" side of the window. G. K. Chesterton and J. R. R. Tolkien later used "mooreeffoc" in print to mean something suddenly seen in a strangely new way. (You might say that David Lynch films are full of mooreeffoc places, objects, and people.)

It’s one of those words that is more commented on than used, but I feel up to the challenge: "Her face transformed into a frightening mooreeffoc as he looked up from the floor, with her spiked heel pressed firmly against his chest." Sadly, I'm no Dickens.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Shmagma, Goog, Whizz, Thizz, and Z-bars: Know Your Drug Slang!

"Hey buddy -- wanna buy some shmagma?"

Know your drug slang! The DEA's new report includes these amusingly psychedelic street terms:

Goog: Ecstasy/MDMD/Molly
Pink panther: Marijuana
Whizz: Methamphetamine
Shmagma: Marijuana
Thizz: Ecstasy/MDMD/Molly
Abajo: Heroin
Z-Bars: Alprazolam (Xanax)

DEA Drug Slang Report is (Probably) Unintentionally Hilarious

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Word of the Day: lachrymose

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

lachrymose [LAK-rih-mos] (adjective), TWITO, page 82

Mournful or tearful

"Her tears seemed to grieve the kind-hearted Munchkins, who became lachrymose and began pulling out handkerchiefs."
--L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Word of the Day: curwhibble

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

curwhibble [KUR-wib-ul] (noun), TWITO, page 37

A thingamajig or whatchmacallit

"Many thanks to your honor. What pretty curwhibbles and etceteras! I’ll hang ’em to my watch to give it a travelled air.”
--Anonymous, "A Captivity among the Rockites," in The Metropolitan (1831)

More junk. There are many objects around my home that one might call thingamajigs, whatchmacallits, or even curwhibbles. For example, something I found in a Chinese junk shop that hangs from a floor-lamp's switch. This whatsit has a little metal fan on top, from which is suspended an oddly shaped brass bell with some inscrutable writing engraved on it. And from that hangs a coin of some sort, with a square hole in the middle. There are bas-relief dragons curled around the hole, as if guarding it. And there are also red tassels hanging from various parts of this thing. I guess you could call it a bell, but it's much more than that. Altogether, when suspended, it's about 10 inches (25 cm) long. It is completely useless. And that’s what I like about it.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Word of the Day: acephalia

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

acephalia (noun) or acephalic (adjective) [TWITO, page 10]

The absence of a head or the absence of a brain

"Comparative anatomy, and acephalic monstrosities among the mammalia and man, furnish incontrovertible proofs of the brain not being the origin of the nervous system at large."
--Johann Gaspar Spurzheim, The Anatomy of the Brain (1826)

Yoko Ono once said, "Consider if it is such a catastrophe to live without your head." She added that it might make it easier to move around, since one's body would be so much lighter. Zen humor aside, I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a state of acephalia. I often live in my head--the curse or blessing of the introvert, depending on how you look at it. I do have a rich interior life that would be hard to give up.
I wouldn't mind getting rid of the nattering jukebox of stuck records that is sometimes set to forte in my head, though.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Word of the Day: chaussure

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

chaussure [sho-SUR] (noun) TWITO, page 32

Footgear; shoes

"'I delight in Hessian boots,’ said Rebecca. Jos Sedley, who admired his own legs prodigiously, and always wore this ornamental chaussure, was extremely pleased at this remark...."
--William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair (1848)

I often wear sneakers (athletic shoes, plimsolls), as I work in a casual place. I also wear leather chaussure, though--no special reason--and feel a bit more grown up at those times, if slightly less comfortable.

Drawing by me!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Word of the Day: truttaceus

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

truttaceus [troo-TAY-shuss] (adjective): TWITO, page 149

Pertaining to or like a trout.

"....crowded with the boats of paradise, we would fancy parades and serenades mid its roral gales, lepid glens and truttaceus charms...."
—Anonymous, in The New Rugbeian (1859)

A "chub" and a catfish -- those are the only types of fish I ever caught. And I threw them back. That's the kind of guy I am.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Word of the Day: cachinnate

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

cachinnate (verb), TWITO page 26

To laugh loudly

"By no means is the wit of a kind to please the ‘groundlings’; there is nothing of that 'capital fun' in it that so tickles the genuine John Bull, who, if he exerts his risible faculties at all, is satisfied with nothing less than a horse-laugh, which may be classical enough, because, we suppose, it was after that fashion that the centaurs of antiquity used to cachinnate."
--Antonius Anthus, in The Foreign Monthly Review and Continental Literary Journal (1839)

Things that make me cachinnate: bigfoot reports, possibly apocryphal George W. Bush quotations ("Too bad the French don’t have a word for entrepreneur"), pro wrestling, The Office (meaning the TV show, especially the British version), and puns.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Word of the Day: escritoire

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

escritoire [ess-krih-TWAR](noun): TWITO, page 48

A writing desk

"...this diverted suspicion into a new channel, and it was suggested that the robbery and the murder had really been committed by common housebreakers. It was then discovered that a large purse of gold, and a diamond cross, which the escritoire contained, were gone."
--Edward Bulwer Lytton, Devereux (1829)

Perhaps you are seated at an escritoire at this very moment. For myself, I prefer to curl up on the couch (also: sofa; grandma called it a "davenport") with my laptop as I tap my way along the information superhighway to my literary destiny.


Why is a raven like a writing desk? Because they both have quills?

Monday, February 26, 2018

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."

He took a great fall.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Wandering Word Thoughts: Don't slonk!

Try not to salivate while you suaviate (i.e., when you kiss someone).

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You won't be able to maintain your froideur (coolness or reserve) if you eat too much sriracha (a pungent sauce of hot peppers pureed with sugar, salt, garlic, and vinegar, most often used as a condiment).

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Don't slonk (swallow greedily) if you don't want to jirble (spill [a liquid] by shaking or unsteady moving)!

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Try to wrap your head around this: The pope wears a "small gourd" (a zucchetto) on his bean.

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Depending on how the food tastes, degust (tasting carefully) may lead to disgust.