Printable Version
Pronunciation: blaym-storm Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: (Colloquial) Concentrated thought about the cause of a failure guided by shifting the blame away from yourself or your organization.

Notes: Today's contribution may be a nonce word, like the verbs (to) prairie-dog and Christmas-tree. It may just be a flash in the pan like these, but who knows?. It is an authentic English word whose present participle serves as action noun and adjective, and bramestormer is the personal noun.

In Play: The meaning of this word is "brainstorm" with the implication of shifting the blame elsewhere: "No matter how hard we blamestormed, we couldn't find a suitable culprit to pin the misdirected mail on." Only a few dictionaries carry this word, mostly its noun form, blamestorming: "When faced with real problems, we usually start analyzing them, but that activity all too often slides into blamestorming."

Word History: Today's Good Word is obviously a compound comprising blame + storm by analogy with brainstorm. Blame was borrowed from French blâmer "to reprimand, rebuke, criticize", which it inherited from Vulgar (Street) Latin blastemare, a reduction of Late Latin blasphemare "to blaspheme; revile, reproach". The Latin word was borrowed from Greek blasphemein "to blaspheme", based on blasphemos "evil-speaking". We find storm in Germanic languages, like German Sturm and Danish, Dutch, and Swedish storm. It comes from PIE (s)twer-mos "turning, twirling, twister", from (s)twer-/(s)twor- "to twist, twirl", which we see in Sanskrit turati "hurried", Albanian turmë "crowd", Latin turbo "whirlwind, tornato", Icelandic truflun "disturbance", and "German stören "to disturb".

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!