The week gone by — Jan. 3*

*And maybe some more, since last week was a bit slow and I didn’t do an actual recap the week before. My blog, my rules.

In news that should be as shocking as Tuesday following Monday, the top term on Lake Superior State’s 2021 list of banished words — complied since 1976 “to uphold, protect, and support excellence in language by encouraging avoidance of words and terms that are overworked, redundant, oxymoronic, clichéd, illogical, nonsensical—and otherwise ineffective, baffling, or irritating” — is “COVID-19” or any version of the word.

And like Wednesday follows Tuesday, the second word is “social distancing.”

Continue reading “The week gone by — Jan. 3*”

What’s that word I’m looking for? Wait … there is none.

If you’ve ever spent time in a coffee shop, I’m sure you’ve seen them, maybe even been one yourself — the people who sit at their tables a long time but buy little if anything.

Did you know the French have a word for that? It’s “seigneur-terrace.”

And from the Scots comes a word that I can relate to — the nervous hesitation right before introducing someone whose name you can’t remember. I usually just introduce the person whose name I do remember and then give the other person an “and please tell them who you are …” look. It works most of the time.

The word is “tartle.”

Continue reading “What’s that word I’m looking for? Wait … there is none.”

Decluttering the dictionary

We all have words and phrases we’d be happy to never have to hear again.

I, for instance, could not agree with this person’s sentiments any more wholeheartedly.

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The words of our times

Voltaire’s “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms,” or a variation thereof, has been one of my favorite sayings since my freshman history teacher in college wrote in on the board the first day of class.

I usually think of it in terms of debate — the maneuvering done to ensure it is contested on one’s own terms.

I had a pair of frustrating debates online over the weekend — although given their arguments were the same and they had other similar characteristics, I can’t guarantee it was two different people — because they refused to address the question I presented.

Instead, they wanted to converse on different terms, probably because they knew they’d lose on mine.

Continue reading “The words of our times”