Posts Tagged ‘words’
I have a reasonably large vocabulary, I suppose. Some words, particularly newer ones, apparently elude me, however. Twerking and selfie have been added to the Oxford Dictionary of English recently, and I had been largely oblivious to both terms.
Oh, I had vaguely heard of twerking, when some white female celeb was accused of doing it on a video – I no longer know (or particularly care) who – a few months (or years?) ago. But it’s like the name of the second person I meet at a party where I know no one; it slips off into the ether of my mind. It wasn’t until the infamous Miley Cyrus incident on some awards show recently, that I don’t watch but got lots of coverage, did it finally stick. Oh, yeah, twerking: OK, got it. Read the rest of this entry »
When I was living in Charlotte, NC for a few months in early 1977, I wasn’t particularly thrilled. The city was, in the words of my father “a big old country town”; BTW, it’s gotten much better there, IMO.
One of my few outlets was to go to the main library and read books and magazines, or see movies. One of the films I saw was Gaslight. It was the 1944 US version, not the 1940 UK take; both were based on a 1938 play, Gas Light. The iteration I saw “was directed by George Cukor and starred Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, and 18-year-old Angela Lansbury in her screen debut.”
Without getting into the particulars of why: “Paula loses a brooch that Gregory had given her Read the rest of this entry »
I was clearing out some old newspapers when I came across the continuation of a story from August about words being added to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, which I meant to write about at the time. That ever happen to you? Here’s the article.
Shown below are some of the words, along with a few thoughts about them. The years indicate first documented use.
– n (1939) a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension
Surprised this didn’t make it sooner.
– n (1982): an instance of temporary mental confusion resulting in an error or lapse of judgment
There are some variations on this term that may be more popular.
– n (2006): a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying
I was really shocked Read the rest of this entry »
From Salon: Your words matter -New science shows brains are wired to respond to certain kinds of speech. This was revealing.
A portmanteau word is a word that’s made up of 2 other words; for instance, motel from motor hotel, smog from smoke and fog, brunch between breakfast and lunch, chortle from chuckle and snort, malware from malicious software, or the previously mentioned gerrymander. Here are more portmanteau words.
From JEOPARDY! in 2001: “Lewis Carroll coined the term ‘portmanteau word’, explaining how “slithy” combines these 2 words.” Read the rest of this entry »
The wallpaper is beginning to peel in our bedroom, probably because of a leak, now fixed by the new roof we got this summer. It’s always something with a house that’s about a century old. I said to The Wife, “This house is giving me agita.” She thought I had made up the word; I had not.
Agita (n) – a feeling of agitation or anxiety. “Judging by its spelling and meaning, you might think that ‘agita’ is simply a shortened version of ‘agitation,’ but that’s not the case. Both ‘agitation’ and the verb ‘agitate’ derive from Latin ‘agere’ (‘to drive’). ‘Agita,’ which first appeared in American English in the early 1980s, comes from a dialectical pronunciation of the Italian word ‘acido,’ meaning ‘heartburn’ or ‘acid,’ from Latin ‘acidus.’ (‘Agita’ is also occasionally used in English with the meaning ‘heartburn.’) For a while the word’s usage was limited to New York City and surrounding regions, but the word became more widespread in the mid-90s.”
So the Wife says, “Where did you learn that word?” Read the rest of this entry »
There was a 1980 hit song by a group called the Barracudas called Summer Fun, from an album I happen to own; in fact, a mail order customer at FantaCo sent it to me in gratitude. The introduction to the song comes from an ad c. 1967; the story line was that a Plymouth car dealer couldn’t say the word Barracuda, problematic because the hot Plymouth car that year was supposedly the Barracuda. (The whole ad can be heard, after the 27 second mark, here.
What reminded me of this was the fact that I was doing a reference question last month and realized I could not say the word Read the rest of this entry »