WOW #30

Bagpipes

My Scottish heritage has dragged out another wee term for us to look at.  Today, we consider the word

KEN

Definitions for ken

knowledge, understanding, or cognizance; mental perception: an idea beyond one’s ken.

range of sight or vision.

Chiefly Scot. a. to know, have knowledge of or about, or be acquainted with (a person or thing). b. to understand or perceive (an idea or situation).

It came into the English language before the year 900 AD, and it didn’t come alone.  Its widely dispersed ancestors also gave us;

English ken comes from the very widespread Proto-Indo-European root gnō- (and its variants gnē-, gen-, and gṇ-) “to know.” The variant gnō- appears in Greek gignṓskein (and dialect gnṓskein), Latin gnōscere, nōscere, and Slavic (Polish) znać “to know.” The variant gnē- forms cnāwan in Old English (and know in English); the variant gṇǝ- (with suffixed schwa) yields cunnan “to know, know how to, be able” in Old English (and can “be able” in English).

These also gave us Gnostic, and Agnostic, as well as the Scottish term, canny, which means skilled, expert, astute, shrewd or cautious, and the English word cunning, a noun which means just about the same thing.

Now that we know all about Ken, let’s have a look at BarbieBarbie is a predecessor to Kardashians, only with less plastic, and more intelligence, personality, and believable figure.  If Barbie is so popular, why do we have to buy her friends??   😕

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Complete And Correct

Calipers

Used properly, the English language is one of nuance and precision.  Used as many of the great unwashed do….it’s a wonder that even the pizza order is correct.

I have quoted Mark Twain’s admonition that “There’s a mighty difference between lightning, and a lightning bug.”

I recently stumbled across a blog post about euphemisms;

Euphemisms are generally used to change something icky into something more palatable. As George Carlin said, “Sometime in my life—no one asked me about this—toilet paper became bathroom tissue. The dump became the landfill. And partly cloudy became partly sunny.”

I heard Carlin’s debut album, shortly after it came out.  It was funny.  His later work – not so much.  It’s difficult to be funny for 40 years.  He began to make fun of the English language.  I didn’t find it terribly funny, because it was neither complete nor correct.

None of the above are euphemisms.  Early toilet paper was paper….like pages from a Sears catalog.  It beat using a corn cob. Soon, it was transformed into soft, absorbent tissue, used all through the bathroom, for applying skin cream, removing makeup, blotting lipstick, (a single square is faster and cheaper than an entire Kleenex) blowing your nose, or as emergency feminine hygiene material.  It is no longer paper, used only on the toilet.

We used to just dump and abandon garbage – hence, DUMP.  Nowadays, waste is shredded, some is incinerated, compost starter and soil is added and mixed, and the lot is bulldozed and landscaped into a re-usable landfill.

Media weather language is precise.  There are seven words to describe skies – from overcast, to cloudy, to partly sunny, to scattered (clouds), to partly cloudy, to sunny, to clear.  Partly sunny is 10% open sky.  Partly cloudy is 10% cloud.  They are not even vaguely the same.  One did not turn into the other, no matter what George falsely claims.

George lost me as a customer when he claimed that there were 3 words – flammable, inflammable, and non-flammable.  “Why 3??  Either it flams, or it doesn’t flam.”  Just a minute George, flammable means that something will burn.  Inflammable means that it will immediately, vigorously burst into flame.  A block of wood is flammable.  An open pail of gasoline is inflammable, so, there are 4 words, flammable – non-flammable, inflammable – non-inflammable.  If you’re going to bitch about something, even for comedy, it really helps your credibility if you know what you’re talking about.

I was in a medical center the other day, where an information station was set up under an umbrella. Emblazoned on the umbrella were the words SERVICE AMBASSADOR. I find nothing distasteful about the word INFORMATION, but I am entertained by the thought of a group meeting to find a supposedly better (and definitely more pompous) description of the services offered under that umbrella. SERVICE AMBASSADOR: Do you suppose the, ahem, ambassadors who staff that desk need congressional confirmation?

Like ‘toilet paper’, above, ‘Information desks’ have developed to provide far more services than mere information.  Every English-speaking country in the world has Ambassadors.  I can only hope that it was a vain attempt at humor, and not narrow-minded American provincialism that she felt any of them require U S Congressional confirmation.

Loblaw’s food chain came forward, and admitted to price-fixing on bread.  A letter to a newspaper complained that their fraud conviction was ironic.  1 – By voluntarily admitting wrong-doing, they received immunity from prosecution – so, no conviction.  2 – The bread was exactly as advertised, just too expensive.  What they did, was price-fixing, not fraud.  3 – What is ironic, is that the guy who complained, hasn’t got a clue what he’s talking about.

Come on people, Stop, Think, Understand!  English is a beautiful, accurate, expressive language.  Please learn to use it correctly.  That’s what I ask for.  What I’ll probably get….is that guy’s Hawaiian pizza.  😯

WOW # 28

monitor

For all you either/or, bits and bytes, take it or leave it, coming or going, ones and zeros lovers, the Word Of the Week is

UNARY

Adjective – consisting of, or affecting, a single element or component; monadic

Word origin for unary – 1923, from Latin unus “one” (see one ) on model of binary, etc.

You just knew that, if there’s the word ‘binary’, for ‘two,’ guys like me mean that there’ll be a “My way or the highway” word for ONE.

Actually, it’s not even a Hobson’s Choice word between a poor option and nothing. It shows a mandatory, single course of action.  ‘Free Will’ is an illusion when unary is in town.

In my teens, one day my Mother told me to perform some chore. Trying to show some I’m growing into an adult spunk, I asked, “or else what?”  She calmly replied, “There’s no ‘or else’.  It needs doing.  It’s your job. Do it!”

Much as many of us value our independence, freedom, and options, there are times that life just throws one of these, It’s gotta be done, and there’s only one way to do it curve-balls at us.  Now there’s a word for it that you can throw back.   🙄

’18 A To Z Challenge – A

Challenge '18 Letter A

Charlie Brown

Aaugh!  Is it April again??  I just awoke from my winter’s hibernation, and shambled out of the Den, to find other folks well into the alphabet already. As usual, I’m off to a slow start.  Using my Great Awakening as a cheat for the letter A, I’ll make this one a theme-reveal post – “Theme” in only the loosest of senses.

I thought that I might use ‘Trope’. It’s a figure of speech that includes ‘interpolation,’ which is just a fancy word that means the (sometimes)nonsensical non-sequiturs covered by the promised rambles inside some of my rants.

I decided instead, to go with Chaos And Confusion.  I provide the chaos, and you are confused.  This is completely different from last year’s theme, which was Confusion And Chaos, where you were confused, and I provided the Chaos.  Got that all straight??  Good, now explain it to me.

Understand

Alms! Alms for a hungry beggar!  Hungry for inspiration – not food.  (Have you seen my tummy recently??  Happily, NO.  My belt size threatens to become greater than my IQ.  [And there you have the first of my non-sequitur interpolations.])

If any of you have a word or theme, for any letter, that you think would be safe to let me loose with in public, feel free to submit it.  I would welcome all suggestions.  I can do serious research, or just my usual, disorganized babble.

Please stop back again soon for a post that doesn’t use any letters of the alphabet, but definitely in two weeks, when I use the letter B to batter the American Bible Belt, and Donald Trump’s banality.  😯

Alright, Let’s See What’s Left

Lefty

Well, this is

AWKWARD

In this episode of, We Hate You Because You’re Different” we look at ‘handedness’.

  1. lacking skill or dexterity.

Synonyms: clumsy, inept; unskillful, unhandy, inexpert.

Antonyms: deft, adroit, skillful, dexterous; handy.

lacking grace or ease in movement: an awkward gesture;

an awkward dancer.

Synonyms: uncoordinated, graceless, ungainly; gawky; maladroit; clumsy.

Antonyms: graceful.

lacking social graces or manners:

a simple, awkward frontiersman.

Synonyms: gauche, unpolished, unrefined; blundering, oafish; ill-mannered, unmannerly, ill-bred.

Antonyms: gracious; polite, well-mannered, well-bred; smooth, polished, refined. 4.

not well planned or designed for easy or effective use: an awkward instrument;

an awkward method.

Synonyms: unwieldy, cumbersome, unmanageable; inconvenient, difficult, troublesome.

requiring caution; somewhat hazardous:

an awkward turn in the road.

Synonyms: dangerous, risky, unsafe, chancy; perilous, precarious, treacherous.

hard to deal with; difficult; requiring skill, tact, or the like: an awkward situation;

an awkward customer.

embarrassing or inconvenient; caused by lack of social grace:

an awkward moment.

Synonyms: unpleasant, trying, difficult; uncomfortable, ticklish, touchy.

It comes from an Old Norse word that means ‘turned the wrong way,’ always with the implication of somehow being in error.

I backed into this word and its myriad definitions, from ‘maladroit,’ above. There is not a synonym above which is not negative, judgemental, and/or insulting.  The word ‘gauche’ in French, means ‘left.’  The only one that seems to be missing is the opposite for dexter/dexterous, which means right.  Its opposite is ‘sinister.’

Southpaws in today’s modern society are three times as likely to have a home or work-related accident. Everything from can-openers to computer mice are designed for use by right-handed people.  Only British lefties, driving floor-shift cars, gain an advantage.

The antipathy toward left-handed people is still surprisingly strong, and has been going on for millennia. (Most of) the Jews have been brought into the 20th Century on this issue.  Being faced with a lefty can get a Muslim’s panties turban in a knot.  If only we could get the Little Sheet-Head Arabs at least into the 9th.

If you sit with a Muslim, and cross your left leg over your right, pointing your left foot toward him, he is insulted. The Koran is strongly specific, even about which hand you can use to wipe your ass.  It also details what 1200-year out-of-date material you must use to wipe it with.  The modern, educated, observant, Muslim businessman’s washroom is liberally supplied with fresh burdock leaves.

The lengths to which some (religious) people will go, to prevent Us from becoming like Them, can be sadly amusing.  During the Middle Ages – also correctly known as the Dark Ages – Christians didn’t bathe….because Jews did.

DON’T SAY ANOTHER WORD!

Use the correct one.

They’re practicing English without a licence again. Hang onto your dictionaries and thesauruses, kids.

Grammar Nazi

Pros

something about her physiognomy which helped her beat the illness – here’s a two-bit writer, trying to use an eight-dollar word. Physiognomy is a face, or outer appearance, which some pretentious Brits tried to use, and failed, and shortened to ‘fizz.’  He wanted physiology, or inner construction.

In an article about expensive typos – Officials site a missing hyphen in the code – Even GrammarCheck insists that it is cite.

Same article – Enjoy these spelling mistakes from passed and present – What’s passed is past.

This section totes up a variety – to be totes honest, it tots (tawts) up a variety of errors, even though that word means totals, or adds.

It’s a tough road to hoe – and a row of angry gardeners with hoes, don’t know whether to blame a city works crew, a drugged-out old rocker, or the entertainment columnist who interviewed him.

She gave her heighth in centimetres. – You can give length and width, or even have an eighth, but it’s height,

He was the hooten and holleren champion – No, that was me hootin’ and hollerin’, because you can’t handle apostrophed abbreviations.

the kids’ “hot water challenge” has them dumping scolding water – and I’m scolding them for not using ‘scalding.’

Man wins the open sheath throw contest at the Highland games – Most Highland Game events were originally Army contests.  While still showcasing Scottish brute strength, this one though, began as a county fair display.  Originally using an agricultural implement to throw large bundles of harvested grain up onto a wagon, it is a sheaf throw contest, open to all contestants.  A pitchfork is used, rather than any edged tools/weapons, so there is no sheath, open or otherwise.

all those fellow suffers of the writing bug – How many sufferers of her second 80,000 word novel will there be?

The Norsemen made 4 journeys around 1000 BC – not an incorrect usage, as such, just a newspaper writer who made a 2000-year mistake by not knowing BC from AD.

Link bellow for descriptive video – This one, obviously, should be below.

Smoke had begun to bellow from the bow of the ship – No smart-ass comment – just billow.

The stunted trees are not like the soaring furs of the Cascades – These soaring furs better be worn by RuPaul, ‘cause the Cascades evergreens are firs.

I know that proofreaders are as extinct as dinosaurs, and spell/grammar-checkers won’t catch most of the incorrect homonyms, but, the above two examples are from two successful, well-known authors. I am dazed as to why/how they could use these incorrect terms, without noticing.  Data-entry transcribers are about as aware as earthworms, but didn’t an editor (whose job it is to notice these things) notice these things?

Amateurs

I saw the term being banded about – I know that bandied isn’t common, but ‘banded’ makes no sense.

I am defenetly sure – that you’re definitely wrong.

The best story teller is defiantly Jesus Christ. – Jesus Christ!  I’m definitely sure you’re related to defenetly.

Sue me yah shitty resuraunt
you’re food I don’t want –
Shut up, yah shitty language user
you’re just an English abuser.

but I won’t you to get used to it kinda not being there – And I want you to stop writing in hillbilly.

I just did a poppa wheelie with my bicycle – and yo’ momma wants you to pop a wheelie.

I opened the book to an unformiliar question. – Open a dictionary to ‘unfamiliar,’ which comes from the word, ‘family.’

other ways the homo Sidle maniac could think up – That homo, Sidle, became homicidal because of usage like this.

The government should release how stupid this is. – Why??  You don’t realize how stupid release sounds.

I don’t mean this as a depreciation – you should mean it as a deprecation, once you take the ’I’ out of it

the juggle is nature’s most biodiverse area – too diverse to juggle a SpellCheck, it’s a jungle out there.

The gold band was diamond-stubbed – and your attendance record at your English course was studded with absences.

everyone was present an (sic) accounted for – sic, sick, sick

Grainy was my favorite character on Beverly Hillbillies – That one explains itself.

I can understand why to some extinct. – I understand why dictionaries are extinct, to some extent.

Do things like these grate on your nerves??  Tell me about it!   😈

 

WOW #26

Dictionary

BEDIZEN

Definitions for bedizen

Someone with a PHD from Couch-Potato University
a permanent resident of a flat, soft structure with covers

That’s what I thought it meant, when I first saw the word on Dictionary.com – a perpetual loafer, a bed-izen….like a citizen, or a denizen (Who is a couch potato in the rec-room).  But it really means….

To dress or adorn in a showy, gaudy, or tasteless manner.

Origin of bedizen

1655-1665

Bedizen is not a common verb in English. It is a derivative of the even more uncommon verb dizen, which occurs only from the 16th century and becomes obsolescent by the end of the 19th century. The element diz- is probably the same as in distaff “a staff for holding flax or wool for spinning” and is probably related to Middle Low German dise “bunch of flax on a staff for spinning.” Bedizen entered English in the 17th century.

So, it’s not pronounced ‘bed’ at all, but rather [bih-dahy-zuh n, –dizuh n]

I don’t believe that my daughter the spinner, will be any too happy about the arrogant, classist, condescending, judgemental assumption that spinsters’ adornments are tasteless or gaudy.  Medieval and Renaissance women without a man to support them, had to rely on spinning, weaving and sewing for others, to survive.  That’s where the word spinster came from.  They could not afford expensive gewgaws.

Tasteless and gaudy is not restricted to spinsters, as the ‘70’s K-Tel ‘Bedazzler’, and today’s’ Kardashians prove. 😳

Stop back again next week (or next month) for a more recent word, that’s not tasteless or gaudy.