Showing posts with label Wordology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wordology. Show all posts

Mar 9, 2020

More Wordology

Words sometimes seem similar, but have different meanings.
Infamous and famous are not the same words. You really do not want to mix up these commonly confused words. While famous means "widely known" with no positive or negative connotation, the adjective infamous is defined by Merriam-Webster as "having a reputation of the worst kind." People who are infamous are usually also famous, but people who are famous are not necessarily infamous.

Adverse and Averse are not the same words. Adverse is an adjective synonymous with unfavorable and harmful. Averse is an adjective used when someone strongly dislikes something. You can have an adverse reaction to a medication and you are averse to taking it again.

Accept and Except are not the same and are not interchangeable. Accept is a verb meaning to believe or receive something, and except is a preposition used to refer to something being excluded.
Entitled and titled are not synonyms. Per Merriam-Webster, entitled is an adjective meaning "having a right to certain benefits or privileges" or "showing a feeling of entitlement." A piece of literature is titled, meaning that it has a title.
Bemused and amused are not synonyms. People who are amused are not usually also bemused. While amused is synonymous with entertained, bemused is synonymous with confused and befuddled.

Disinterested and uninterested are synonyms and similar adjectives, but are not exactly the same. To be disinterested is to be unbiased. To be uninterested is to simply not care.


Incidentally, according to Merriam-Webster, the meanings of these words used to be reversed. Disinterested used to mean "not interested," and uninterested used to mean "unbiased."

Feb 14, 2020

Wordology, Quit Rent

Most quit rents are relics of medieval agreements. A few examples include: Some English landowners must produce a variety of quit rents: a bucket of snow on demand, three red roses, a small French flag, a salmon spear. Some rents only kick in if the king or queen visits: the renter must provide the crown with a bed of straw, in another the renter must offer a single white rose.


There is a quite recent one in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, USA. It started when the city imported a bridge from London (which had spanned the Thames river) and was auctioned off in the late 1960s. Robert McCulloch, Lake Havasu City’s founder, bought the bridge, and by the early ’70s, the bridge had been reinstalled in Arizona.

As a gift to London, during the dedication ceremony, McCulloch offered an acre of Arizona land and years later, when the city wanted to use that land for a visitor’s center, London agreed to lease it back to Lake Havasu. They settled on a token quit rent: a Kachina doll (a carved Hopi figure representing an immortal being).

Dec 20, 2019

Wordology, OMG

The first use of "OMG" was in a letter to Winston Churchill. It is not a modern acronym. The first appearance was in a letter to Winston Churchill during 1917. Lord Fisher, an admiral and naval innovator, wrote to the British prime minister and was obviously excited about a possible honor for himself and those in his line of work. He wrote, "I hear a new order of Knights in on the tapis—O.M.G. (Oh! My God!)—Shower it on the Admiralty!"

Incidentally, tapis is a heavy textile with a woven design; used for curtains and upholstery.

Dec 7, 2019

Wordology, Contronym

A “contronym” is a word that is its own opposite. For example: if you seed the lawn you add seeds, but if you seed a tomato you remove them.

Wordology, Anosognosia

My brother, whatshisname sent this to me, although he swears he never read it. Anosognosia is a deficit of self-awareness, the inability of a person to be aware of their own disability or illness.

French Professor Bruno Dubois Director of the Institute of Memory and Alzheimer's Disease at La Pitié-Salpêtrière - Paris Hospitals says, "If anyone is aware of his memory problems, he does not have Alzheimer's. . .The more we complain about memory loss, the less likely we are to suffer from memory sickness."

Many people over sixty forget the names of family or friends, forget where they put things, forget why they walked into another room, or misplace keys and other items. It is usually temporary forgetfulness. Half or more of these people have some symptoms that are due to age rather than disease or Anosognosia.

We are learning that forgetfulness is not a disease, but rather a frustrating characteristic due to age. The important thing is, those who are conscious of being forgetful have no serious problem of memory, but those who suffer from a memory illness, Alzheimer's, or Anosognosia, are not aware of what is happening.

Nov 30, 2019

Wordology, Fall and Autumn

Although both words refer to the same season, Americans often say “fall” more than “autumn.” Fall and autumn were both once known as “harvest,” according to Dictionary.com and “harvest” is technically the earliest name for this season. The phrase was a bit confusing, because it refers to both the time people usually harvest crops and the actual harvesting of crops. Because of this, “Autumn,” a word dating back to the late 1300s, became popular as an alternative.

The word “fall” likely stems from “falling of the leaves,” phrases poets liked, according to Merriam-Webster. Not long after, people shortened the phrase to “fall” in the 1600s.

Although both fall and autumn stem from Britain, autumn was the more popular word for a long time. Both have had their ups and downs in popularity. It was not until the 1800s that American English and British English took unofficial stances on these words: fall is the word of choice in the U.S. and autumn in Britain.

Oct 26, 2019

Wordology, Mukbang

South Korea video trend is known as “mukbang,” and it has spread to the US and around the globe on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Japanese mukbang entertainer Yuka Kinoshita has 5.34 million subscribers on YouTube. She is shown in different videos eating various foods, such as one hundred Chicken McNuggets, 62 hamburgers, 3 large pizzas, 10 pounds of cereal, 6.6 pounds of noodles. She is thin, 5' 2" tall, and weighs 95 pounds.

The trend has grown into a worldwide sensation and often involves massive consumption of foods in nauseating quantities. Hosts will often prepare or buy a meal, sit down and eat it as part of a live stream, watched by hundreds of thousands of fans. Many times, the whole purpose is to see the mukbang host take in multiple servings.

The trend is social and interactive. According to some, watching a person eat while possibly having a meal at the same time and perhaps the same meal that they are watching a mukbang entertainer consume on the screen fills certain longings in a modern society with less personal interaction. Social media gets scarier every day.

Jul 12, 2019

Wordology, Philematology

Researchers discovered two out of three people tilt their heads to the right when kissing. Doctors say it strengthens our immune system and slows down the ageing process.


  • Just thinking about a kiss increases the flow of saliva, which in turn loosens plaque. 
  • A normal kiss burns 6.4 calories per minute and an average kiss lasts 12 seconds.
  • People kiss in 90 percent of the countries worldwide. How and why differs from one country to the next. Three cheek kisses are a standard welcome in France, while in Japan; people only kiss if both parties want sex.
  • Germany ranks second with four kisses per day behind Sweden on the list of countries that are stingy kissers.
  • People in France and Italy kiss an average of seven times per day.
  • It is forbidden to kiss women in public on a Sunday in Michigan and Connecticut.

Wordology, Porculation

 It is the feeding or fattening of pigs.

May 17, 2019

Wordology, By The Same Token

Token is a very old word, referring to something that is a symbol or sign of something else. It could be a pat on the back as a token or sign of friendship, or a marked piece of lead that could be exchanged for money. It came to mean a fact or piece of evidence that could be used as proof.


“By the same token” first meant, basically “those things you used to prove that can also be used to prove this.” It was later weakened into the expression that just says “these two things are somehow associated.”

Apr 5, 2019

Wordology, Red Herring

The actual origin of the figurative sense of the phrase can be traced back to the early 1800s. Around this time, English journalist William Cobbett wrote a presumably fictional story about how he had used red herring as a boy to throw hounds off the scent of a hare.

An extended version of this story was printed in 1833, and the idiom spread from there. Although many people are more familiar with red herrings in pop culture, they also crop up in political spheres and debates of all kinds. Robert J. Gula, the author of Nonsense: Red Herrings, Straw Men and Sacred Cows: How We Abuse Logic in Our Everyday Language, defines a red herring as "a detail or remark inserted into a discussion, either intentionally or unintentionally, that sidetracks the discussion."

The goal is to distract the listener or opponent from the original topic and it is considered a type of flawed reasoning or, more fancifully, a logical fallacy.

Jan 25, 2019

Wordology, Tatterdemalion

A tatterdemalion is somebody wearing tattered clothing. It can also be used as an adjective meaning tattered or ragged in appearance.

Jan 18, 2019

Wordology, Minuscule

This is a frequently misspelled word. It is not 'mini-scule'. It bears no linguistic relation to mini or miniature, but actually comes from the Latin minus, meaning “less.” Now that you know the 'minus' origin, it should be easy to remember the spelling of minuscule.

Jan 11, 2019

Wordology, Shoes

From the annals of improbable research, we discover that 'Shoes' is a word which has many synonyms as this kind of outfit has developed in terms of its shape, which is obviously seen.


From the observation done in this research, there are 26 kinds of shoes with 36 distinctive features. The types of shoes found are boots, brogues, cleats, clogs, espadrilles, flip-flops, galoshes, heels, kamiks, loafers, Mary Janes, moccasins, mules, oxfords, pumps, rollerblades, sandals, skates, slides, sling-backs, slippers, sneakers, swim fins, valenki, waders and wedge. The distinctive features of the word “shoes” are based on the heels, heel shape, gender, the types of the toes, the occasions to wear the footwear, the place to wear the footwear, the material, the accessories of the footwear, the model of the back of the shoes and the cut of the shoes. Hmmm, this is no barefoot observation.

Jan 4, 2019

Wordology, Psithurism

The "p" at the beginning of psithurism is silent. It is pronounced sith-err-iz-um. It is the sounds of wind in the trees and the rustling of leaves.

Psithurism comes from the Greek word psithuros, which means whispering. It fits with the sound wind often makes when it blows through trees. On windy fall days, the rustling of the leaves seems almost musical. Your worries disappear for a time as you listen to the melodies of the wind in the trees.

Dec 7, 2018

Wordology

If something is run of the mill, it is average, ordinary, not special. It most likely originally referred to a run from a textile mill. It is material that has been manufactured, before it is decorated or embellished.

The expression you have your work cut out for you comes from tailoring. To do a big sewing job, all the pieces of fabric are cut out before they get sewn together. It seems like if your work has been cut for you, it should make job easier, but we do not use the expression that way. It is more that the task is ready to be tackled, but the difficult part is laying out the pieces in order, and doing the actual sewing.

Dec 1, 2018

Wordology

Push the envelope belongs to the modern era of the airplane. The “flight envelope” is a term from aeronautics meaning the boundary or limit of performance of a flight object. The envelope can be described in terms of mathematical curves based on things like speed, thrust, and atmosphere. You push it as far as you can in order to discover what the limits are.

Go haywire relates to actual haywire. In addition to tying up bundles, haywire was used to fix and hold many things together in a makeshift way, so a patched-up place came to be referred to as 'a hay-wire outfit'. It then became a term for any kind of malfunctioning thing. The fact that the wire itself became easily tangled when unspooled contributed to the use of the phrase.

Nov 2, 2018

Wordology, Break the Ice

It means to do or say something to relieve tension or get conversation going in a strained situation.

In the old days, commercial ships would often get stuck in frozen rivers during winter, so smaller ships called icebreakers would come to clear a path to shore by breaking the ice. During the 17th century, people began to use the phrase to mean "to reduce tension in a social situation."

Wordology, Put a Sock In It

This means stop talking. It comes from the late 19th century when people would use woolen socks to stuff the horns of their gramophones or record players to lower the sound, because these machines had no volume controllers.