Saturday, December 03, 2005

Musings: Bought vs. paying for

Why do we say "I bought a new [car or whatever]" as if it is in the past tense, when in reality we only signed the papers to begin a long series of payments on the thing we are (and, for months, will be) purchasing?

Email: "I am *not* drinking Merlot!" [MG]

OK so I'm not that guy... but my eyes were tired after a full work week and two glasses of merlot (which the server pronounced not as "mer-LOH" but "mer-LOT").

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Websites: MentorNet

"Be a mentor, get a mentor." MentorNet facilitates email-based mentor relationships and offers web-based discussion forums for persons of any age who want to find or give advice on how to succeed in a chosen career or life direction.

Words: nipple [AHED]

NOUN: (We know the definition of nipple.)
ETYMOLOGY: From obsolete neble, diminutive of neb.

NOUN: 1a. A beak of a bird. b. A nose; a snout. 2. A projecting part, especially a nib.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, from Old English.

Words: botch [AHED]

(Botch may have originally been ironic, since its original meaning was to mend -- but later, a failed attempt of same.)

TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: botched, botch·ing, botch·es
1. To ruin through clumsiness. 2. To make or perform clumsily; bungle. 3. To repair or mend clumsily.
NOUN: 1. A ruined or defective piece of work: “I have made a miserable botch of this description” (Nathaniel Hawthorne). 2. A hodgepodge.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English bocchen, to mend.

Gibberwocky: preventatative

(Believe it or not, Google currently shows 680 hits on this word.)

Words: cascade [AHED]

NOUN: 1. A waterfall or a series of small waterfalls over steep rocks. 2. Something, such as lace, thought to resemble a waterfall or series of small waterfalls, especially an arrangement or fall of material. 3. A succession of stages, processes, operations, or units. 4. Electronics A series of components or networks, the output of each of which serves as the input for the next. 5. A chemical or physiological process that occurs in successive stages, each of which is dependent on the preceding one, and often producing a cumulative effect: an enzymatic cascade.
INTRANSITIVE & TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: cas·cad·ed, cas·cad·ing, cas·cades
To fall or cause to fall in or as if in a cascade.
ETYMOLOGY: French, from Italian cascata, from cascare, to fall, from Vulgar Latin *casicare, from Latin cadere. See kad- in Appendix I.

Words: thalweg [AHED]

NOUN: Geology 1. The line defining the lowest points along the length of a river bed or valley. 2. A subterranean stream.
ETYMOLOGY: German : Tal, Thal, valley (from Middle High German tal, from Old High German) + Weg, way (from Middle High German wec, weg, from Old High German weg; see wegh- in Appendix I).

Acronyms: POOH

In oil drilling, POOH is the acronym for (I kid you not) "pull out of hole."

Words: virgule [MW]

(The slash in "and/or" is technically called the virgule or solidus.)

Main Entry: vir·gule
Pronunciation: 'v&r-(")gyü(&)l
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Latin virgula small stripe, obelus, from diminutive of virga rod

Words: solidus [MW]

(I've always known the slash in "and/or" as the virgule, but it's also known as the diagonal and the solidus.)

Main Entry: sol·i·dus
Pronunciation: 'sä-l&-d&s
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural sol·i·di /-l&-"dI, -"dE/
Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin, from Latin, solid
1 : an ancient Roman gold coin introduced by Constantine and used to the fall of the Byzantine Empire
2 [Medieval Latin, shilling, from Late Latin; from its use as a symbol for shillings] : DIAGONAL 3

Words: i.e., e.g.

I've long known that "i.e." stands for the Latin id est or "that is," but I just looked up "e.g." to learn it stands for exempli gratia -- that is, "for example."

Words: fer-de-lance [MW]

Main Entry: fer-de-lance
Pronunciation: 'fer-d&l-'an(t)s, -'än(t)s
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural fer-de-lance
Etymology: French, literally, lance iron, spearhead
: a large extremely venomous pit viper (Bothrops atrox) of Central and So. America

Words: elan [MW]

(To hurl or fling oneself into the fray.)

Main Entry: élan
Pronunciation: A-län
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Middle French eslan rush, from (s')eslancer to rush, from ex- + lancer to hurl -- more at LANCE
: vigorous spirit or enthusiasm

Words: lemma, dilemma [MW]

(Thing taken or received; a given condition.)

Main Entry: lem·ma
Pronunciation: 'le-m&
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural lemmas or lem·ma·ta /-m&-t&/
Etymology: Latin, from Greek lEmma thing taken, assumption, from lambanein to take -- more at LATCH
1 : an auxiliary proposition used in the demonstration of another proposition
2 : the argument or theme of a composition prefixed as a title or introduction; also : the heading or theme of a comment or note on a text
3 : a glossed word or phrase

Main Entry: di·lem·ma
Pronunciation: d&-'le-m& also dI-
Function: noun
Etymology: Late Latin, from Late Greek dilEmmat-, dilEmma, probably back-formation from Greek dilEmmatos involving two assumptions, from di- + lEmmat-, lEmma assumption -- more at LEMMA
1 : an argument presenting two or more equally conclusive alternatives against an opponent
2 a : a usually undesirable or unpleasant choice b : a situation involving such a choice ; broadly : PREDICAMENT
3 a : a problem involving a difficult choice b : a difficult or persistent problem
- dil·em·mat·ic /"di-l&-'ma-tik also -"dI-/ adjective
usage Although some commentators insist that dilemma be restricted to instances in which the alternatives to be chosen are equally unsatisfactory, their concern is misplaced; the unsatisfactoriness of the options is usually a matter of how the author presents them. What is distressing or painful about a dilemma is having to make a choice one does not want to make. The use of such adjectives as terrible, painful, and irreconcilable suggests that dilemma is losing some of its unpleasant force. There also seems to be a tendency especially in sense 3b toward applying the word to less weighty problems .

Words: psychrophilic [MW]


Main Entry: psy·chro·phil·ic
Pronunciation: "sI-krO-'fi-lik
Function: adjective
: thriving at a relatively low temperature

Main Entry: psychro-
Function: combining form
Etymology: Greek, from psychros, from psychein to cool
: cold

Words: tenterhooks [MW]

Main Entry: ten·ter·hook
Pronunciation: 'ten-t&r-"huk
Function: noun
: a sharp hooked nail used especially for fastening cloth on a tenter
- on tenterhooks : in a state of uneasiness, strain, or suspense

Proverbs: They don't give swords to those with pens

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Websites: My horoscope - The Onion

You will feel let down by the historical inaccuracies at a nearby medieval-themed restaurant this week before paying a visit to its bathroom.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Neologisms: tenace

To attach, to cling, to persist.

Words: knoll [MW]

Main Entry: knoll
Pronunciation: 'nOl
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English knol, from Old English cnoll; akin to Old Norse knollr mountaintop
: a small round hill : MOUND

Words: harridan [MW]

Main Entry: har·ri·dan
Pronunciation: 'har-&-d&n
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps modification of French haridelle old horse, gaunt woman

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Food: Jell-O, quick and easy

I discovered on Thanksgiving that you can make Jell-O more easily -- faster and with a flawlessly smooth texture -- if you avoid the add-cold-water routine just dissolve it in hot water (two cups for a small package) and pour it into the chilling pan. Works great! Thanks to SD.

Words: forfend [MW]

Main Entry: for·fend
Pronunciation: for-'fend, fOr-
Function: transitive verb
1 a archaic : FORBID b : to ward off : PREVENT