Word of the day for Thursday, March 9th

It’s not a verb referring to what you are doing to your body on a Funyuns-rich diet. It’s not a Don Martin onomatopoeia for Rapunzel Letting Loose Her Hair For Prince #2.

Flabellate. It’s an adjective meaning “fan-shaped.” Merriam-Webster and LACMA are playing a “match the word with the picture” game this week on Twitter, and it’s a much pleasanter distraction from certain daily horrors than the other daily distractions we’ve been getting from said horror-makers on Twitter. Other highlights from the game: kinker and natiform. What will tomorrow bring?

Published in: on March 9, 2017 at 9:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Word of the day for Tuesday, February 28th

I don’t know what I was doing yesterday, but I found myself in the midst of a lot of Australian words that I had never heard as a kid in those Australian tourism ads starring Paul Hogan: larrikinism, bunyip, yakka. My favorite, however, is:

shivoo

shivoo. Shivooooooooo! It means a boisterous party or celebration. “Origin uncertain” according to dictionary.com. My humble opinion is that you know you’re really at a boisterous party when the noise of the party reaches a cacophony of nonsense words “Shivoooo!” and such like. Shivoo just sounds better as a word for a party than Blarghablah or Yakyak. Also, I haven’t looked them up yet but it’s possible that those are Australian words for something else.

Published in: on February 28, 2017 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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But can she bake a cherry pie?

There’s a pretty good gag in this cartoon involving the raspberry jam making a “raspberry.” I started wondering why the derisive noise also known as a “Bronx cheer” came to be known as a raspberry, and I learned that it comes from Cockney rhyming slang. “Raspberry tart” = “fart.” Well, there you have it. Enjoy those tarts, everybody.

Word of the day for Thursday, January 19th

You may have noticed a cluster of insults experiencing an uptick in usage lately, but if you haven’t, most likely you will after tomorrow. Some are new, and some have been around a while. Snowflake. Mangina. Feminazi. Gamma. Beta. Beta cuck. Cuckservative. Cuck anything.

The last three examples are of course variants of “cuckold,” which is the word for a man whose wife has cheated on him, and that is apparently the worst thing in the world to be if you are either Shakespeare or a member of the alt-right community. If you are a man and you find yourself arguing with either Shakespeare or a member of the alt-right community, you will probably be called a cuck and at that point be inclined to argue with a name-caller about who is a cuck, who has cucked whom, and so on. Don’t. It is pointless to engage. Just smile and move along, and think of the lovely word

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aporaphanidosis, which supposedly was the accepted punishment in ancient Greece for adultery. That is, the cuckold was well within his rights to stick a radish up the butt of the guy who had sex with his wife. And it seems to me that it’s far better to be a cuck than someone who is in danger of being violated by a salad bar. But that’s just my special little snowflake point of view.

Word of the day for Tuesday, January 10th

I am really quite astounded at how little I can accomplish some days, particularly if it’s cold and wet outside. Now, I’m inside and I don’t know why what’s going on outside should have any effect on me, but my activity tracker says I’ve taken zero steps today so obviously something’s up.

I want to say I’m developing a

Glitter text generator

hibernacle, but a hibernacle is not a barnacle you get when you’re hibernating. The emphasis is not on the second syllable, but the third. A hibernacle is your tabernacle when you’re hibernating. I guess I am developing a hibernacle after all. It’s the couch. Praise be, and pass the fuzzblanket.

Thanks to Merriam-Webster’s Winter Words quiz for the inspiration today
Published in: on January 10, 2017 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Word of the day for Wednesday, July 6th

Is there a foreign word for tragedy fatigue? Is there a foreign word for hoping that tonight you won’t have nightmares about rampant mayhem and your imminent torture? I either need the world to get better or I need some new foreign words that describe things succinctly. Oh, here is one. It doesn’t describe any of those things I was just talking about, but maybe we should stop thinking about those things for a while:

Glitter text

The word and its meaning (“emptiness after visitors depart”) aren’t that mindblowing, but what the Baining people in Papua New Guinea do to alleviate it is. According to Tiffany Watt Smith, a research fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London, in order to get rid of that lousy awumbuk feeling “the Baining fill a bowl with water and leave it overnight to absorb the festering air. The next day, the family rises very early and ceremonially flings the water into the trees, whereupon ordinary life resumes.”

Thank you, Tiffany. I have a feeling that your new book The Book Of Human Emotions is going to make the world a little better. Just knowing that there is a Centre for the History of the Emotions is making my world a little better. Now, is there a foreign word for “gratitude for finding a whole new list of great foreign words“?

Word of the day for Monday, May 23rd

Oh gosh – I found this word today, and thought, “Oh, I don’t need to write it down, I’ll remember it,” but then I didn’t remember it, and nearly put myself into a swivet trying to remember this word. Which is funny, because the word I was trying to remember was

swivet

swivet. Swivet! It means “a state of nervous or irritated concern,” or “panic or extreme discomposure.” Rhymes with divot and trivet and pivot. Its synonyms are pother and dither and tizzy. Thank goodness I remembered.

Published in: on May 23, 2016 at 7:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Your vote counts, but has to use its fingers

Don’t worry; I’m not going to talk about the US presidential race. I could barely handle all the “fuck you”s that my unflattering Jollibee post engendered years ago, so there’s no way I’m going to take on something as obviously volatile as this year’s contest for the Oval Office. Instead, I’d like to take a moment to shine a light on some candidates for the US Senate that my fine state of California has on its ballot this year. If you’re like me, you know that these lower-ticket races are just as important as the big one, but there aren’t any Facebook memes about these candidates so you actually have to do a little homework to know who to vote for.

The big thing to know is that there are 34 aspirants vying for one seat. That is a pretty big field to get through. Thankfully, thirteen of those candidates couldn’t handle submitting candidate statements, so I will eliminate those guys right off the bat. As for the remaining 21, I am happy to say that the spectrum of opinions presented is wide indeed. Here are some of my favorites.

There’s the 70-year-old Eagle Scout:

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the alarm clock:

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the mysterious acronym enthusiast:

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the mainstream Facebook president with driving core values:

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the Christian who actually seems to embody good, decent values and somehow that’s very confusing to me in this day and age:

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the … okay, this guy can go suck it with his Andrew Jackson nonsense:

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the only candidate willing to speak up about mind control slavery (tl;dr: she is against it):

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a beautiful video game unicorn:

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and the guy I’m probably voting for:

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So many different voices, almost too many choices! It’s such a breath of fresh air, isn’t it? I’m sure I’ll find someone who speaks for me. And you 13 who couldn’t turn in a statement? Try harder next time.

You can click on any photo to enlarge the image for ease of reading, or don’t. It doesn’t really matter.

 

Word of the day for Tuesday, May 3rd

I’m not taking a side on this issue, I’m just reporting that there is a word for the recent law that has just come into effect in Berlin banning residents from making their entire homes available for short-term rental without a permit. And that word is

zwecten

Zweckentfremdungsverbot. Thank you once again, German language.

Published in: on May 3, 2016 at 5:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Word of the day for Friday, March 11th

An old (younger) school friend’s kid doesn’t know who Elvis Presley is. A Lyft driver looks at me like I’m crazy for mentioning that I remember the year 1994 even though it’s a completely valid thing to say in the context of the conversation. I start making rules like “kids should know pop culture history from at least the year they were born” and then realize that this year’s high school sophomores were born in the year 2000. I start noticing that things that I think happened a year ago actually happened four years ago. I find myself doing the math a lot to place things in perspective relative to my experiences.

A former teacher dies, and when I do the math I see that he was three years younger than I am now when he made such an impact on my life. I’m toasting that teacher in a pizza parlor that now serves craft beers in the area that used to screen Laurel & Hardy movies when we were kids who went here after AYSO soccer games. This place has a new name and I can’t remember the name it had when I was a kid. It was a long time ago. It was just yesterday. I guess I’m deep in

Gothic text from pookatoo.com

zenosyne. The sense that time keeps going faster. Courtesy of our old friend The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

 

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