Word of the Day for July 13th

  • noun

 1. the voice of the people; popular opinion. 

  • Quotes

Polls are certainly useful devices for plumbing the depths of the vox populi.
– James D. Williams, “Detroit News Poll Not Quite What It Seems,” The Crisis, June–July 1992

Because of the recent silencing of most European democracies, in the choice of Willkie that night there was, even to many cynical or Democratic ears, an exciting, stirring sound, as of vox populi.
– “From Life’s Correspondents: Flanner on Willkie,” Life, October 28, 1940

  • Origin

Vox populi is of Latin origin, and is often found in the maxim vox populi, vox Dei meaning “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” It entered English in the mid-1500s. 

Word of the Day for July 5th

  • noun

1. the art of writing words with the proper letters, according to accepted usage; correct spelling. 

 2. the part of language study concerned with letters and spelling. 

 3. a method of spelling, as by the use of an alphabet or other system of symbols; spelling. 

 4. a system of such symbols: Missionaries provided the first orthography for the language. 

 5. an orthographic projection, or an elevation drawn by means of it. 

  • Quotes

… at bottom I disrespect our orthography most heartily, and as heartily disrespect everything that has been said by anybody in defence of it. Nothing professing to be a defence of our ludicrous spellings has had any basis, so far as my observation goes, except sentimentality.
– Mark Twain, “Chapters from My Autobiography,” North American Review, Volume CLXXXV, 1907

“Pardon me, sir. An urgent message just come on the despatch cart.” “‘Came,’ Constable.” The inspector examined the note. “Extraordinary. It seems, Constable Thackeray, that someone is asking me to release you from my class. I shall not refuse. Since the finer points of orthography have eluded you for so long, I am sure that they can wait another week.
– Peter Lovesey, Abracadaver, 1972

  • Origin

Orthography stems from the Greek word orthós meaning “straight, upright, correct.” It entered English in the early 1400s. 

Here is Saturday’s Word of the Day…

  

groggery 

  • noun

 1. a slightly disreputable barroom. 

Quotes

P. Dusenheimer, standing in the door of his uninviting groggery, when the trains stopped for water, never received from the traveling public any patronage except facetious remarks upon his personal appearance.
– Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, The Gilded Age, 1873

A volleyball court seemed to occupy the confectioner’s shop, the confectioner was nearly on top of the bridal shop, and the bridal shop had insinuated itself into the groggery next door.
– Lawrence Millman, “The Bay Islands,” Islands, February, 1994

Origin

Groggery is an Americanism formed on the basis of the word grog meaning “a strong alcoholic drink.” It entered English in the early 1800s. 

Here’s an interesting word for our word of the day! 😊

  

adjective

 1. pertaining to, situated in, or forming small or narrow spaces or intervals between things or parts. 

 2. Anatomy. situated between the cells of a structure or part: interstitial tissue. 
noun

 1. Crystallography. an imperfection in a crystal caused by the presence of an extra atom in an otherwise complete lattice. 

Quotes

Philosophy should never have been purified. Rather than being seen as a problem, “dirty hands” should have been understood as the native condition of philosophic thought–present everywhere, often interstitial, essentially interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary in nature. Philosophy is a mangle. The philosopher’s hands were never clean and were never meant to be.
– Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle, “When Philosophy Lost Its Way,” New York Times, January 11, 2016

We are come to a world within the world. In these alien reaches, these maugre sinks and interstitial wastes that the righteous see from carriage and car another life dreams.
– Cormac McCarthy, Suttree, 1979

Origin

Interstitial derives from the Latin interstitium meaning “interstice” or “an intervening space.” It entered English in the mid-1600s. 

Word of the day for Friday, 29th of January 

  

noun

 1. a highest point or state; culmination. 

 2. the point on the celestial sphere vertically above a given position or observer. 

Quotes

And at the zenith of his fame, how he would suddenly appear at the old village and stalk into church, brown and weather-beaten, in his black velvet doublet and trunks, his great jack-boots, his crimson sash, his belt bristling with horse pistols, his crime-rusted cutlass at his side, his slouch hat with waving plumes, his black flag unfurled, with the skull and crossbones on it, and hear with swelling ecstasy the whisperings, “It’s Tom Sawyer the Pirate!–the Black Avenger of the Spanish Main!”
– Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876

Hence it can hardly be wondered at that as his learning accumulated his practice dissolved, until at the very moment when he had attained the zenith of his celebrity he had also reached the nadir of his fortunes.
– Arthur Conan Doyle, The Mystery of Cloomber, 1889

Origin

Zenith comes from the Middle English cenith, which in turn traces back to the Old Spanish zenit. The lineage continues to the Arabic samt meaning “road” as in samt ar-rās, “road above one’s head.” 

Today’s Word Fact is Whom

  

Over the last 200 years, the pronoun whom has been on a steady decline. Despite its waning use in speech and ongoing speculation about its imminent extinction, whom still holds a spot in the English language, particularly in formal writing. Understanding when and how to use this embattled pronoun can set your writing apart.

Whom is often confused with who. What’s the difference between these two pronouns? Who is a subjective-case pronoun, meaning it functions as a subject in a sentence, and whom is an objective-case pronoun, meaning it functions as an object in a sentence. Who, like I, he, she, and they, performs actions, as in Who rescued the dog? (who is doing the rescuing in this sentence). Whom, like me, him, her, and them, is acted on, as in Whom did you see? (whom is being seen here, not doing the seeing). Whom more commonly appears when it follows a preposition, as in the salutation To Whom it may concern (Does it concern he? No. Does it concern him? Yes.) or in the title of Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel For Whom the Bell Tolls.

How do you decide which one to use? When in doubt, substitute him (sometimes you’ll have to rephrase the sentence) and see if that sounds right. If him is OK, then whom is OK. If the more natural substitute is he, then go with who. For example: You talked to whom? It would be incorrect to say You talked to he? but saying You talked to him? makes grammatical sense.

That said, in informal speech and writing, speakers will often opt for who where whom has traditionally been used. This choice sounds more natural and less formal to most native English speakers.

Do you ever use whom?

Please let me know if you’ve had trouble with whom in the past, I know I did! 

Does this help with when and where to use it?

Have a wonderful day!

All My Best, 

Jill

Word of the Day for 25th of January 

  

noun

 1. eager or excessive desire, especially to possess something; greed; avarice. 

Quotes

“Now Jonah’s Captain, shipmates, was one whose discernment detects crime in any way, but whose cupidity exposes it only in the penniless. In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely…”
– Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851

But the chevaux-de-frise of branches now lay within reach of his arm, and the very appearance of precaution it presented, as it announced the value of the effects it encircled, tempted his cupidity, and induced him to proceed.
– James Fenimore Cooper, The Prairie, 1827

Origin

Cupidity can be traced to the Latin word cupidus meaning “eager, desirous” from the Latin verb cupere “to desire.” 

Here’s the Word of the Day this New Year’s Eve 2015!

  

adjective

 1. glittering, especially with tinsel; decked with garish finery. 

noun

 1. imitation gold leaf; tinsel; false glitter. 

Quotes

Sharp perfumes stabbed the nostrils, clinquant finery flashed and glittered in a tinsel maelstrom…
– Arthur Cheney Train, The Needle’s Eye, 1924
Jubilation is the dominant mood when- and wherever a Christo/Jeanne-Claude project is realized. I have witnessed it time and again—32 years ago, in Loose Park, Kansas City, overlooking its Wrapped Walk Ways, every inch of the winding itinerary paved with bright clinquant stuff, of which Christo remarked: “When the sunlight falls on that nylon and sets it sparkling, it’s very beautiful.”
– Leo Steinberg, “Christo’s ‘Over the River’: An Act of Homage,” New York Review of Books, December 3, 2010

Origin

Clinquant entered English in the late 1500s and ultimately derives from the Dutch klinken meaning “to sound.” 

The unfortunate words of the past. Lost Words from Childhood. 

As I am a logophile, my Mother was kind enough to send me something all lovers of words will enjoy. This comes from a forward in an email and the author is credited within. 
Lost Words from our childhood 

 

Words gone as fast as the buggy whip! Sad really! The other day a not so elderly (65) lady said something to her son about driving a Jalopy and he

looked at her quizzically and said what the heck is a Jalopy? OMG (new

phrase!) he never heard of the word jalopy!! So they went to the computer and pulled up a picture from the movie “The Grapes of Wrath.” Now that was a Jalopy!

 

She knew she was old but not that old…

 

I hope you are Hunky dory after you read this and chuckle…

 

*WORDS AND PHRASES REMIND US OF THE WAY WE WORD*

by Richard Lederer

 

About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included “Don’t touch that dial,” “Carbon copy,” “You sound like a broken record” and “Hung out to dry.” A bevy of readers have asked me to shine light on more faded words and expressions, and I am happy to oblige:

 

Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie. We’d put on our best bib and tucker and straighten up and fly right. Hubba-hubba! We’d cut a rug in some juke joint and then go necking and petting and smooching and spooning and billing and cooing and pitching woo in hot rods and jalopies in some passion pit or lovers lane. Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumping Jehoshaphat! Holy moley! We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley, and even a regular guy couldn’t accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!

 

Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when’s the last time anything was swell? Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A.; of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal pushers. Oh, my aching back. Kilroy was here, but he isn’t anymore.
Like Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle and Kurt Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim, we have become unstuck in time. We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we can say, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! or This is a fine kettle of fish! we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards. Poof, poof, poof go the words of our youth, the words we’ve left behind. We blink, and they’re gone, evanesced from the landscape and wordscape of our perception, like Mickey Mouse wristwatches, hula hoops, skate keys, candy cigarettes, little wax bottles of colored sugar water and an organ grinders monkey.
Where have all those phrases gone? Long time passing. Where have all those phrases gone? Long time ago: Pshaw. The milkman did it. Think about the starving Armenians. Bigger than a bread box. Banned in Boston. The very idea! It’s your nickel. Don’t forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Turn-of-the-century. Iron curtain. Domino theory. Fail safe. Civil defense. Fiddlesticks! You look like the wreck of the Hesperus. Cooties. Going like sixty. I’ll see you in the funny papers. Don’t take any wooden nickels. Heavens to Murgatroyd! And awa-a-ay we go! Oh, my stars and garters! It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter had liver pills. This can be disturbing stuff, this winking out of the words of our youth, these words that lodge in our heart’s deep core. But just as one never steps into the same river twice, one cannot step into the same language twice. Even as one enters, words are swept downstream into the past, forever making a different river.

 

We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeful times. For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It’s one of the greatest advantages of aging. We can have archaic and eat it, too.

 

See ya later, alligator!