Search found 213 matches

by George Kovac
Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:58 am
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Fancy
Replies: 3
Views: 338

Re: Fancy

Thanks for calling attention to that charming British usage which, I regret, has never found much of a market among Americans. I first encountered that usage as a teenager, listening to these coy lines from a Beatles song: His rival it seems, had broken his dreams By stealing the girl of his fancy. ...
by George Kovac
Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:10 pm
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Animadversion
Replies: 1
Views: 1041

Re: Animadversion

Dr. Goodword wrote: In English, the same root became worm , comprising the basic ver- root with an -m suffix instead of -t . The V became W in Germanic languages, but remained in Latin vermis "worm", a word which went on to become Italian vermicelli "little worms"—enough to turn ...
by George Kovac
Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:58 am
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Antinomianism
Replies: 1
Views: 147

Re: Antinomianism

What a great and topical word, well deserving of recrudescence! Thank you Mr. Towart and Dr. Goodword for restoring it to our attention. OK, I admit to collecting, archiving and retrieving examples of word usage I find exemplary. Garry Wills is a skillful writer and an astute observer of politics, h...
by George Kovac
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:14 pm
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Decimate
Replies: 5
Views: 1883

Re: DECIMATE

Decimate is routinely used to mean "near annihilation." Some purists object to this distortion of the word's original meaning, but, well, language proceeds as it will, etymology be damned. For the purists, I submit this prodigy of correct usage that I recently encountered. The author desc...
by George Kovac
Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:42 am
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Tureen
Replies: 1
Views: 195

Re: Tureen

Dr. Goodword wrote: Terrin is what French did with Latin terrenus "earthen". Terrenus is the adjective from terra "earth", as in Mediterranean "middle Earth". English borrowed several words from Latin containing terra, not the least of which was the phrase terra firma,...
by George Kovac
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:49 am
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Articulate
Replies: 6
Views: 632

Re: Articulate

Luke, Your observation is accurate, and I have noted that particular verbal tic to my friends over the years. But I would not call the pronunciation inarticulate. It is a shift in the language that is more widespread, though Mr. Obama is older than the vanguard in this change. I, too, find it curiou...
by George Kovac
Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:16 pm
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Bon mot
Replies: 14
Views: 1425

Re: Bon mot

David Myer wrote: ... my grandmother in a restaurant in London saying very loudly having perused the menu: "Hmph! Not much of a choix, is there?" David, Have you considered that perhaps your grandmother was commenting not on the menu, but on the waiter's pronunciation: "Hmph! Not muc...
by George Kovac
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:49 am
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Tortuous
Replies: 1
Views: 294

Re: Tortuous

Apparently, the editors of the Wall Street Journal took Sue Gold up on her suggestion that this word deserves greater prominence. “Behold the Commerce Department’s new and tortuous process for reviewing exemptions to steel and aluminum tariffs.” Wall Street Journal, “The New Tariff Bureaucracy,” pag...
by George Kovac
Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:01 am
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Bon mot
Replies: 14
Views: 1425

Re: Bon mot

Points well taken David, especially when it comes to borrowed French words. Often use of the French is a pretention used to call attention to the alleged sophistication of the speaker. It is the linguistic equivalent of name-dropping. If two words get the job done, use the demotic unless there is a ...
by George Kovac
Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:20 am
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Antic
Replies: 2
Views: 374

Re: Antic

Antics and hijinks (or high jinks ) are synonyms. Sort of. Both words share the characteristic of being allergic to the singular form. While antic is a plausible construction (e.g., "'An antic like that will get you expelled next time,' the principal warned the student.") I find it imposs...
by George Kovac
Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:24 pm
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: So-so
Replies: 1
Views: 292

Re: So-so

I was disappointed by the so-so number of responses to this topic. So, I'll add something. The same duplicative locution appears in Spanish and with the same sing-song quality: así así. But in Spanish, así así is always a tad judgmental or negative, and always means "mediocre." If someone ...
by George Kovac
Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:10 am
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Score
Replies: 2
Views: 432

Re: Score

Score is one of those plain words so long in the English language that it has accreted numerous meanings, of which Dr. Goodword prudently chose to focus on only a few of the most salient. “Sack,” “play,” “hit” and “run” are other examples of simple old words with universes of barely related meanings...
by George Kovac
Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:17 pm
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Folk
Replies: 3
Views: 441

Re: Folk

I might be climbing out on a limb here, but, without a doubt, many of us often balk at folks who don’t say all the consonants in words like milk, welcome, handsome, Wednesday, sandwich and pumpkin. Comb through any dictionary for miscellaneous examples and make a column of them; not all are foreign ...
by George Kovac
Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:41 am
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Kompromat
Replies: 2
Views: 368

Re: Kompromat

I think “kompromat” is linguistically related to the word “laundromat,” which is a scheme for concealing the transformation of profits from illegal activities and corruption into ostensibly "legitimate" assets. Kompromat is information you can leverage, like knowing the details of someone'...
by George Kovac
Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:14 pm
Forum: Good Word Discussion
Topic: Clart
Replies: 7
Views: 503

Re: Clart

Dr. Goodword wrote:

Clart must have been long in spoken use, for the compound verb beclart occurred rather frequently in the 13th century.


Beclart? As to the nature and usefulness of be- as a prefix to a verb, see Slava's comments on this site under the word "benight."

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