Monthly Archives: December 2011

Heavens to murgatroyd! And jumping jeroboams! Champagne vocabulary!

Let’s end the year with some obscure but entertaining words that might just be of value to you as you prepare for your undoubtedly festive New Year’s Eve. Have you ever heard of a murgatroyd? How about a salmanazar? A … Continue reading

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Someday, ‘yule’ thank me. (ps: Avoid the hákarl!).

Yule: where does that word come from? yeul, yewl, yool, yuill, geol, geochol, gehhel, geola, iula: that’s only a sampling of the spellings (and pronunciations) noted for this word over the past 1300 years. I haven’t read the dictionary cover to … Continue reading

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My Prescription for Description

Or maybe I should title this “My Description of Prescription.” It depends on which side you come at the issue from. Are you a descriptivist or a prescriptivist?

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Is it a fact or is it facticity?

Facticity, you say? Surely that’s not really a word. (Let’s not have that discussion again.) I encountered facticity recently in an academic journal article: “There was no way around this facticity…” wrote the author. All he meant to say was … Continue reading

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