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A Strange Little Word with So Many Issues

Chowing down while the dogs fight over a bone of contention. I’ve spent of good deal of my life dealing with words. We all use them. At least all of us who speak or write, but even illiterate people, who may not know how to spell them, use them, and people who are unable to speak or hear must think them. I think about words and how they came to mean what they do. You use them [...]

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By |2022-06-14T01:16:00+00:00June 14, 2022|Language, Synonyms, Vocabulary, Words, Writing|

Playing around with the Three “Homos”

Making it to the end of this essay is enough to wipe the smile off any face. I think I missed a week of blogging. I recently found a publisher for my book, and I’ve been going back and forth with a consultant, establishing a portal so we can start the editing process. That means carefully proofing two dozen chapters containing some 93,000 words and rounding up photos to illustrate the true crime manuscript. That’s my excuse [...]

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By |2022-01-26T04:14:50+00:00January 26, 2022|Homonyms, Homophones, Humor, Language, Vocabulary, Words|

Communication Thrives on the Words We Use

The origins of the words we use are often primitive, but we shouldn’t abandon them too quickly. Every once in a while, I run into a language purist who likes to take issue with stuff I have written as being wrong-headed or just plain wrong. These are people who think you shouldn’t use words like “stuff,” as I just did, because it is lazy. Find the definitive word, they’ll lecture, because stuff means unspecified things. Still, there [...]

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By |2022-01-24T09:09:32+00:00December 3, 2021|Language, Uncategorized, Vocabulary, Words|

Remembering Words We Seldom Use Anymore

Words come and go as the years go by. One of the great things about being young— as in late adolescence and well into the vague parameters of young adulthood— is you get to make up your own language and toss words and expressions your parents and grandparents are fond of onto the scrapheap. Words like scrapheap, for instance. I explored that subject a few years back in a newspaper column entitled: “Outliving a Big Chunk of [...]

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By |2022-01-24T09:09:49+00:00June 17, 2021|Pop Culture, Vocabulary, Words, Writing|

A Man of Letters Fools Around with Acronyms

Digging up a growing glossary of acronyms. We are flooded with a sea of acronyms, which are essentially language shortcuts. They may be organizations or expressions that we know pretty well and are usually comprised of the first letters of most of the key words used, often excluding the definite (“the”) and indefinite (“a” and “an”) articles that tie them together. That’s why most of us say or write NASA and not National Aeronautics and Space Administration. [...]

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By |2022-01-24T09:09:55+00:00February 24, 2021|Acronyms, Names, Uncategorized, Vocabulary, Words|

For Those with a Longing for Length

Looking at some legendarily long words that will give you writer’s cramp. I have to confess that the unrelenting, verging on overwhelming, abuses of political power have left me in a temporary state of dumbfoundedness. Now that’s a long word, unrecognized by my spell-checker and even in some dictionaries. But it is legitimate and means being dumbfounded or amazed to the point of being unresponsive, flabbergasted or gobsmacked. My spell-checker doesn’t recognize the last one either, but [...]

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By |2022-01-24T09:09:57+00:00September 23, 2020|Extremes, Language, Longest Words, Vocabulary, Words, Writing|

Erasing Past Sins Distorts History’s Lessons

History teaches us that racial harmony extends beyond racial tolerance. It’s not that I’m a big fan of “Gone with the Wind,” which was, in my opinion, a chick flick before that expression became part of the national vocabulary. The movie came out in 1939, many years before some started inappropriately referring to women as chicks and movies as flicks. A quick Googling revealed the term “chick flick” first appeared in print in 1988. It didn’t take [...]

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…and Now for a Few Hundred Words about Words

Words may be long, short, misleading, instructive, inspiring or denigrating. It’s time to take a break from current events for something that makes a little more sense. I will revisit a topic I’ve written more about over the years than anything else. I am referring, of course, to the fascinating English language. I don’t know where I’d be without it, even though I have abused, mistreated and even abandoned it on occasion. And yet I still love [...]

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By |2022-01-24T09:09:59+00:00May 27, 2020|English, Euphemisms, Language, Uncategorized, Vocabulary, Words|

Contemplating Names and Other Words

What’s in a name? Skill Unlimited or Limited Skill? Let me just say that it is sort of cool when your last name is actually a word that means something. It’s not so impressive with first names, because your parents may have anointed you with a moniker that is a noun, verb or adjective like, say, Spring, Messiah, Chastity, Bear, Crash, Harmony, Heaven or (and this is no joke) Earwacker. Some of those names might be setting [...]

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