1. the voice of the people; popular opinion.
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
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.
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.
… 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
Orthography stems from the Greek word orthós meaning “straight, upright, correct.” It entered English in the early 1400s.
1. a slightly disreputable barroom.
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
Groggery is an Americanism formed on the basis of the word grog meaning “a strong alcoholic drink.” It entered English in the early 1800s.
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.
1. Crystallography. an imperfection in a crystal caused by the presence of an extra atom in an otherwise complete lattice.
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
Interstitial derives from the Latin interstitium meaning “interstice” or “an intervening space.” It entered English in the mid-1600s.
1. a highest point or state; culmination.
2. the point on the celestial sphere vertically above a given position or observer.
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
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.”
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,
1. eager or excessive desire, especially to possess something; greed; avarice.
“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
Cupidity can be traced to the Latin word cupidus meaning “eager, desirous” from the Latin verb cupere “to desire.”
1. glittering, especially with tinsel; decked with garish finery.
1. imitation gold leaf; tinsel; false glitter.
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
Clinquant entered English in the late 1500s and ultimately derives from the Dutch klinken meaning “to sound.”