Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ July 29, 2015 – BLET Yuck



Got the summer Blets? 

Do you feel a little overripe on a sweltering, muggy, summer afternoon? Kind of blet? So does your wilting watermelon

BLETn. decay in overripe fruit.* [Gross.]

Short and not-so-sweet definition for this Wordplay Wednesday. It even sounds yucky.

Since I’m about to decay in my upstairs office with the temperature firmly planted in the triple digits … I suggest we head down, get the watermelon on ice and move on out to the pool last one in is a rotten egg! Blettttt


* Admittedly, I took a little liberty with this Wordplay word, for the sake of colorful writing – and to take my mind off the heat. However, it’s still a yucky process … you can read about it here.






Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ July 22, 2015 – Coinkydink: Hand of Fate



Okay, we know COINKYDINK (co-inky-dink) is not a real word – but we also react to the cutesy coined term with a knowing chuckle.

Today’s Wordplay Wednesday #22 falls on the 22nd day of July. Coinkydink? Do you believe in coincidences?

COINCIDENCE (kō inꞋ sɘ dɘns; aka COINKYDINK) n. accidental and remarkable occurrence of events or ideas at the same time, suggesting but lacking a causal relationship. [Causal, m’dears, not casual. Oooooh, so close.]

Deviating from our usual unusual words list, coincidence is an interesting expression to explore, and more controversial than you might think, for one so ingrained in the English language. Are we tempting the hand of fate? ...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ July 15, 2015 – UNDINE: defines Ariel



Do you know that Hans Christian Andersen’sThe Little Mermaid” is about an UNDINE? It’s true! (Get your minds out of the gutter – not undies.) 

undine (un dēn) – n. coined by Paracelsus for a water spirit in his alchemical system; a wave; folklore: a female water spirit who can acquire a soul, by marrying and having a child by a mortal. [Human soul of course, as opposed to a fish-soul; do fish have souls?]

Mermaids, Nereids and *naiads, are all species of undines and enjoy the legends of nymphs *“… living in and giving life to springs, fountains, rivers, and lakes,” says Webster.

Apparently life underwater, swimming with Flipper isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, causing the undines to desire a human soul. But relinquishing those cool mermaid tails for legs – well, is that such a great idea? Consider ...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ July 8, 2015 – CARK: Worry not



Worry not lexicographers … it’s all in how you say it!

Do you wonder why certain words lose popular favor and fall into the “Archaic” category?

Language is mutable and transient by decades, fads, cultures, and eras. Sigh. Nothing ever stays the same. So, what’s changed in your vocabulary?

You're not thinking fourth dimensionally!

Is today’s language making you long for a back to the future trip? There’s a word for that …

Ah, don’t CARK your pretty little head about it … yep, this week’s word is rarely used. Even dear ol’ Webster calls it archaic.

CARK (kärk) – (archaic; vt., vi.) to worry or be worried; n. distress; anxiety. [Worry not!]

Why do archaic words continue to hang out in current dictionaries, taking up space? Good question – Mr. Webster, are you reading this?

For obvious reasons, Noah Webster is one of my heroes. Not only was he the epitome of lexicographers, but he was considered a fringe Founding Father of the United States. (Appropriate for one of this month’s Wordplay Wednesday entries, right?)

A teacher following the American Revolution, Webster abhorred how outdated the school system had become. Children still read primers from England, with books’ text “… often pledging their allegiance to King George. Webster believed that Americans should learn from American books, so in 1783, he wrote his own textbook: A Grammatical Institute of the English Language.Do you know it by its nickname? ...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ July 1, 2015 – Fetial: not fecal



Are you familiar with a FETIAL? Ancient Romans didn't wage war without one.

FETIAL – (fēʹshɘl) n. in ancient Rome, any of a group of priests who gave advice in the conduct of war, diplomatic negotiations, etc.

Kind of a conflict of interest wouldn’t you say? And it could be mistaken for fecal – you know what that means … 

Joke! Joke! Please don’t vilify me. It’s just a fun play on words (hence, “Wordplay”!). Of course, war isn’t funny – but we need to return to a way of lightening the mood in times of stress, by way of humor, regardless the topic.

This weekend’s Freedom Holiday is a great time to start.

Did you notice? The definition of fetial began with, “in ANCIENT Rome,” groups of priests counseled war leaders. Yet we have learned nothing since the 8th century B.C. Sadly, humor, once an American pastime of relief from daily life, has been crushed by violence …