WOW #10

Drake

The Word Of the Week for this week will be;

CANARD

Definitions for canard
a false or baseless, usually derogatory story, report, or rumor.
Cookery. A duck intended or used for food.

Origin of canard 1840-1850 Canard is from Old French quanart “drake,” literally “cackler,” from the onomatopoeic caner “to cackle” and the suffix -art, a variant of -ard, as in mallard or braggart. Canard is all that is left of the Middle French idiom vendre un canard à moitié “to sell half a duck,” i.e., “to take in, swindle, cheat.” Canard entered English in the 19th century.

I don’t really know why I chose Canard as the Word Of the Week.  It’s not all that old, and it’s not cute and cuddly.  It is interesting that, in both English, and French where it came from, it has the word value of ‘lying, cheating and swindling.’

It wandered over and got used in Jules Verne’s The War of the Worlds, when it was only 50 years old.  Never a common word, it is still used occasionally to reference American politics, where lying, cheating and swindling are competitive sports.

This week, Lewandowski distinguished himself by reviving the birther canard—the thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Margaret Talbot, “The Trouble with Corey Lewandowski on CNN,” The New Yorker, August 6, 2016

I started out researching pollard(ing), which is trimming a tree back severely, to produce a ball-shape, and more, leafier, shorter branches. I was soon at bollard, which is a short, thick iron or steel post used to tie ships to; from the bole, or trunk of a tree, and found that the meaning of the surname Bullard is, “son of a monk or priest.” I was in the –ard neighborhood anyway.

There is a Random House Dictionary. I sometimes feel that I should be using it. That’s what my research often feels like. I hope to see you here again, the next time I fail to be inspired for a Flash Fiction.

2017 A To Z Challenge – B

Challenge2017

When I sieved out the following list of B-word prompts, I was struck by how many of them could apply to me.  Rather than choosing only one, here are some random thoughts about a few of them.

Bibliophile
blood
baggage
belief
bold
books
beach
barn
blog

Letter B

My home town is halfway up the East coast of Lake Huron, in Ontario. It has 3 miles of lovely warm, soft, white sand beach.  It has become a vacation haven, and tourism is a large part of its financial wellbeing.

The town to the south gets only 1 mile of shoreline. The tiny tourist village to the north sits in the center of 10 miles of sandy shore.  Access to the water is good, and the swimming is wonderful but, in both cases, the sand barely reaches above the water level, and their beaches are flat, hard and damp.

My mother constantly read to me as a child, and I learned to read quite young. I became a bibliophile, a lover of books.  I am also a logophile, a lover of words, but all the wonderful words are in the wonderful books, so we’ll discuss that later.

Ray Bradbury said, “Libraries raised me.” My tiny little town had a tiny little library, about the size of a medium house.  It was only open two days a week.  The volunteer librarian was a former teacher.  It was here that I learned early, the value of linguistic precision.

The fine for late books was 2 cents, biweekly.  The intent was for 2 cents, per book, for each of the 2 weekly open days.  I stood beside a man who went and got a dictionary to show the librarian that ‘biweekly’ also meant ‘every two weeks.’  He would pay 2 cents, but not the 8 cents that she demanded.

A local man became a mining engineer. He located an ore field in Northern Ontario, staked a claim, and sold the rights to a mining firm which would extract the minerals.  With the initial payout and ongoing royalties, he retired early, as the town’s richest resident.

He and his wife were great readers, but they never had children. When his wife died, and he was facing his own mortality, he donated a large portion of his fortune to the municipality, to be used to build a library in memorial to his wife.  We got a fairly large (for a small town) new library, right beside the Town Hall.  His bequest bought lots more books, and an annuity paid for hired staff.

When I moved 100 miles to Kitchener for employment, it was easy to pack my luggage. I had very little.  I also had to pack my baggage – my propensity for procrastination, my learning disorders, my neurological syndrome which causes poor physical control and lousy short-term memory, as well as my autistic-type inability to read social cues, and make and hold friends.

I am more methodical, determined, and tenacious; I would never be described as bold. Having survived an interesting, if not terribly thrilling life, now in the twilight of my years, I can put these thoughts and remembrances down, and publish them in my blog.   😀

 

WOW #9

Donald Trump

A comedian once claimed that Michael Jackson was the punch line to every joke.
“Why did the chicken cross the road?”
“Michael Jackson!”

Mikey is no longer with us, but we do have Donald Trump to replace him. Dictionary.com usually doesn’t give a reason for the inclusion of any particular Word of the Day, often making me wonder about words like, stravage, portmanteau and middlescence.

Recently though, they’ve been blaming it on Trump. They admitted that paralogize was chosen because of his tendency to draw incorrect conclusions from the facts available.  More recently they blamed him and his political team’s ALTERNATIVE FACTS for the resurrection of;

newspeak

Definitions for newspeak (sometimes initial capital letter)
an official or semi-official style of writing or saying one thing in the guise of its opposite, especially in order to serve a political or ideological cause while pretending to be objective, as in referring to “increased taxation” as “revenue enhancement.”

Origin of newspeak

Newspeak was coined by George Orwell in his novel 1984, which was published in 1949.

They gave no attribution, but Trump must be on their minds because, with paralogize there were whiffler, bonzer and juggernaut, and between paralogize and newspeak, there have been scapegrace, malfeasance, pedagogy, muckraker and troglodyte.

As Jay Leno said about the re-election of George W. Bush, with Trump at the helm of the Ship of State, we have at least four, and perhaps eight more years, of the jokes (and insults) writing themselves.

😳

 

WOW #8

Dictionary

DUDGEON

Definitions for dudgeon
a feeling of offense or resentment;
anger:
We left in high dudgeon.

Origin of dudgeon
1565-1575
Dudgeon entered English in the 1560s and is of uncertain origin.

I’ve always liked this word, and was happy to see it pop up. It harks back to a gentler, classier, more mannerly age, where you could show your utter loss of patience with a person or a social situation without throwing a snit, or a dismissive, valley-girl, “Whatever…” The last person to stalk off in high dudgeon may have been Scarlet O’Hara.

I remembered that, in the next town, there was a family named Dudgeon, so I looked the name up.

Last name: Dudgeon

This interesting surname has two distinct possible origins. First it may be the patronymic form of the male given name Dodge, a pet form of Roger. Hrothgar was an Anglo-Saxon name deriving from the elements “hroth” meaning fame and “gar” a spear, Roger, becoming a favourite form from the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 onward. It may also come from the obsolete word “dudgeon”, a wood used in making the handles of knives and daggers etc. and would have been an occupational surname for a turner or cutler. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century, (see below). In the modern idiom the name is found as Dodgen, Dodgeon, Dodgin and Dudgeon. Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Dudgeon#ixzz4ZTie2NV6

It’s fascinating, (at least it is for me) to see the development of this name from Hrothgar, to Roger, to Dodge, to Dudgeon. It was also another reminder to me, not to rely on only one source of reference.

Dictionary.com claims the word entered the English language in the 1560s, and the origin is uncertain. SurnameDB on the other hand, makes it a couple of centuries – as much as 500 years, older, and gives the meaning as a type of wood used to make knife handles.

I’d like to believe the ‘knife-making’ origin for this word, because, a thousand years ago things weren’t quite as classy and restrained. People who were in a high dudgeon (nobody’s ever in a low dudgeon) tended to take care of their own problems, often with a dagger, without calling in the Federal Commission On Political Correctness, because their little feelings were hurt.

Just ‘cause I like you, here’s a link to look at some of the Art-type Daggers I’ve seen at knife shows.

Thanx for stopping in. I’ll have more words later.   😀

WOW #7

Dictionary

The Word Of the Week is a totally new one to me, and quite useful, psychologically.  It is

PARALOGIZE

To draw conclusions that do not follow logically from a given set of assumptions.

Paralogize entered English from Medieval Latin paralogizāre, from Greek paralogízesthai meaning “to reason falsely.” It’s been used in English since the late 1500s.

I’ve mentioned that the examples given, often do not relate well to the chosen word. One example for this word is;

“A brick,” he retorted, “is a parallelogram; I am not a parallelogram, and therefore not a brick …” “Charley Lightheart, you paralogize.” Stewart Edward White and Samuel Hopkins Adams, The Mystery, 1907

I would like to object that the conclusion drawn is valid, but must admit that the authors are British, and members of a group which uses the word ‘brick’ in a very different sense.

Brick – a decent, generous, reliable person (1830s+ British students)

So it is the assumption which is at fault here, although I can’t imagine why Charlie would object to being called one.

Like the ‘No True Scotsman Theorem’, this is a term that I can use to label the Religiously Restrictive, when they play the ‘Who’s Going To Be Saved’ game. They claim, “I’m Christian, and I’m good! You’re not Christian, therefore you are evil!

This is like Super-paralogizing.  Neither any of the assumptions, nor the conclusions, are valid.

This week’s candidate was caught associating with the likes of; whiffler, muckrake, bonzer, juggernaut, and troglodyte.

WOW #3

Dictionary

This week’s Word Of the Week is;

CRAPULENT

adjective
given to or resulting from intemperance
suffering from intemperance; drunken

1650-60; < Late Latin crāpulentus drunk, derivative of Latin crāpula drunkenness < Greek kraipálē drunkenness, a hangover; see -ent 

The day after I discovered ‘katzenjammer’ as a word meaning drunk, or hung over, I was amazed to find, emerging from a crossword I was solving, another word meaning the same thing.  When I looked it up, I was even more amazed to find that it was a real word, and in the language since 1650.

I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised. I read once, that the act of being, or getting, drunk, has the largest number of euphemistic equivalents.  There are more than 50 slang ways to describe it, blasted, wasted, high, snockered, blotto, etc, some a little more creative than others, so it’s only reasonable to have a list of words to describe the aftermath.

This seems more like a word coined by THC-infused Wayne and Garth, in a Wayne’s World movie, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the crap that we’re more used to.  ‘Craps’ are actually small, unidentified objects.  ‘Shooting craps’ refers to throwing the small dice.  The ancestors of John Crapper, who perfected the flush toilet for Queen Victoria, probably produced small wooden or pottery items.

As soon as the toilet appeared, people started equating ‘crapper, and crap, and crapping’ with disposing of small brown things of little value (although, that’s not what ‘crapping out’ means) – people like the pop group The Barenaked Ladies, whose mental age is frozen at about 10 (but you could tell that from the name, right?), who sing, “I could hide out under there. I just made you say under where/underwear.”

They sound as if they’re under the influence of a lot of alcohol, but it’s me who has a headache, and a queasy stomach.

Please come back again. Better words are promised   😀

WOW #2

katzenjammer

The Word Of the Week is;

Katzenjammer

Dictionary.Com’s word-of-the-day is often archaic, unusual or foreign – typical click-bait. I was, but yet I wasn’t, surprised to find this one.  It was in the middle of; crambo, laterigrade, rectitude, and igneous, not easy, or interesting, words to write about.

Definitions for katzenjammer

  1. uneasiness; anguish; distress.
  2. the discomfort and illness experienced as the after-effects of excessive drinking; hangover.
  3. uproar; clamor: His speech produced a public katzenjammer.

Origin of katzenjammer 1845 – 1855
Katzenjammer is a borrowing from German, in which the obvious, literal sense of the word (“wailing of cats”) does not apply and instead has the meaning “hangover.” The word entered English in the mid-19th century. The additional senses of katzenjammer date from the late 19th century.

When I was quite young, there was a newspaper comic strip entitled ‘The Katzenjammer Kids.’ Click to see the Wiki article about it.  After the Second World War, with still some resentment against Germans, it became ‘The Captain and the Kids.’

Perhaps it wasn’t clichéd for its time, but its formula of an inept adult male, often made fool of by two rowdy boys, was followed by ‘Our Boarding House’ as a comic strip, and on into radio, and later, TV shows.

This has reminded me of something else I used to read as a child, in the Saturday Evening Post. Occasionally, they would print short poems called Rhymes Mein Grosfader Made (Rhymes My Grandfather Made), composed in heavy Germanic accent, and making fun of Fairy Tales.

Be sure to stop by for the next WOW, to see if I select an English word.  😀