Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ August 31, 2016 – Footling

Sometimes Silly is Essential 

Ooh, ooh, we have a new word for don’t-bother-me-now use! Insignificant, petty, and minor, have lost their meaning with overuse. Let’s go for fresh and funny. Tickle the bottom of your foot with this …

FOOTLING (fōōtʹliŋ) adj. – [Informal; chiefly British] silly and unimportant; trivial; trifling. [WW #75]

Those Brits know how to turn a phrase with absolutely fun and quirky expressions, don’t they? It’s possible I’ve been watching too many BBC shows on Netflix this summer – but I get a kick out of the offbeat colloquialisms, beyond the obvious “boot” (car trunk) and “bloody hell” expletive.

“I believe that there is a great fear in our generation of being labeled as priggish.” Queen Elizabeth II

And your point is? Who cares … certainly a footling comment, as that was the concept of Brits right up ‘til The Full Monty (1997) bared the other side of Great Britain! Though a serious subject, the movie gives us many footling moments!

Much in life can be considered footling, if you’re not mindful. The trick is to recognize relevant fodder versus foolish footling.

Although … sometimes a short while of footling is necessary to maintain a well-rounded life.

And that’s my Hump-day footling word fun for your rummy rumination!

Word of the Week: FOOTLING. Have fun sounding like a Brit while you discover a new way of expressing yourself … how many times can you use footling in your writings this week?  


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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ August 24, 2016 – Volitation

Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Free 

Inspired by two separate visitations by fortuitous ladybugs, I actually had to look up the old recitation I used to chant when a cute little red-and-black ladybug chose to rest on my arm. To my horror, I was reminded of its rather sad gist!

Ladybug, ladybug fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All except one,
And her name is Ann,
And she hid under the baking pan.

I’d fly away from a kid singing that to me, too! Good grief … from childhood chant to a word for when you simply want to impress with your aviation knowledge …

VOLITATION (välʹɘ tāʹshɘn) n. – 1) the act of flying, flight; 2) the ability to fly. [WW #74]

Now I ask you … why should we snub a perfectly good, explanatory, one-syllable, uncomplicated word like “fly” for a fly-by-night word toward the end of the alphabet, with four syllables only good for sounding out in a spelling bee? I’d rather flyyyyyyyyyy
We have dreamt of flying free as long as we’ve looked to the sky – kites, planes, spaceships, and my dream – a teleporter. That’s the height of flight – and a source of humor between myself and friend, John. Separated by nearly three thousand miles, we speak by phone often, since volitation is not an option.

John once had a most delicious meal, and envious, I told him I’d fire up the teleporter so he could send the leftovers to me. A Star Trek fan, I love the thought of teleporters – the ultimate form of volitation.

The crux of the joke is my teleporter is always broken – of course the other problem is teleporters don’t yet exist in a daily functional form. Sigh.

However, the day after I told him about my ladybug visits, he excitedly called exclaiming, “You fixed the teleporter!” Huh? Seriously, John, what are you on?

Because he lives in an even more urban environment than I, he was thrilled to have his own visit from a cute little ladybug. He hadn’t seen one in years – what a fun coincidence – volitation at its best. Of course, it wasn’t one of my ladybugs visitors, but envisioning a volitation by teleporter was an amusing thought.
For your enjoyment, I have created a new Ladybug rhyme in a more upbeat and joyful connotation. Cheers!

Ladybug, ladybug fly away free
Thank you my dear for visiting me
Do come back
When you’ve flown the world
And your spots have turned to lovely pearls.

Word of the Week: VOLITATION. With your super-human power of unhampered volitation, where would you go? Fit it into your flights of fancy for the week.


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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ August 17, 2016 – Lexis

Full Kaleidoscope of Words 

Traitor. Trader. Main. Mane. (Maine!) Grate. Oh, Great.

The English language is full of confusing, confounding, and convoluted words. Most of us wonder at the logic of it all … and conclude there isn’t any.

Sometimes, even the dictionary adds to the chaos, rather than definitively defining a definition.

LEXIS (lekʹsis) n. – the full vocabulary of a language, or of a group, individual, field of study, etc. [WW #73]

Do you know that the average vocabulary lexis of a four-year-old is an astounding five thousand words? I love societal stats and take with the proverbial grain of salt, my standing in them, as below, above or at the stagnant average.

However, when I stumbled across this site – – and their interesting vocabulary stats, my eyebrows shot up in frustration, consternation, and determination!

Their data was collected over several years and compiled in 2013 when a research project they conducted reached its two millionth vocabulary test-taker. Scrolling down the short list of results, they moved into adult analyses, and declared:

˜* Adult native* test-takers learn almost 1 new word a day until middle age
˜* Adult test-taker vocabulary growth basically stops at middle age

I balked. The first item may be true in data, but speaking of words, how can you “learn almost 1 new word a day”? You either do or you don’t, right? Is there an almost in learning something? 

While I disagree with their findings – or truly hope it isn’t true – that we stop learning new words at middle age (I’m at the tip-top of that group), I thoroughly enjoyed taking their test. Yes, they’re still seeking more data. It was definitely challenging and quite surprising – they claim those who read lots of fiction outscore the rest! (*Native English)

I’d share some of the more unique words with you that I did NOT know – but I’m going to look them up – one day at a time, to prove them wrong about us old folks and our learning habits. They’ll also make great fodder for future Wordplay Wednesday fun! In the meantime ... 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ August 10, 2016 – Kinglet

Think Piglet’s Mind in a Hog’s Body 

Is there someone in your inner circle who fancies themselves “high and mighty”? A fun and placid way to take them down a notch (use with gentle discretion – no bullying please) …

KINGLET (kiŋʹlit) n. – 1) a petty, unimportant king; 2) any of several small Old World warblers (genus Regulus) with a bright-colored crown, as the golden-crowned kinglet. [WW #72]

Who would be such a person? Well, in ancient history, we have Rodulf, most often described as a rather ineffectual king of one or more tribes in ancient Scandza (today’s Norway). Seriously, even Wiki describes him as a “petty king” – not to mean a minor descendant of NASCAR legend, Richard Petty, known to racing as the King.

Then again, unlike Richard the King, there is some discrepancy as to ol’ Rodulf’s credence. Even Wiki suggests his historical significance could be suspect, and “he could be the background for certain aspects of later heroic poetry, possibly including the Norse saga character Hrólfr Kraki.”

Which may offer the hypothesis that he was not considered important enough for a positive historical I.D. – and that folks, is often a bitter pill to swallow, especially for those who like to think they’re superior – a scant few of us are more than kinglets in anything other than our own mind.

Word of the Week: KINGLET. Great description for a character in your novel. Go ahead, fit it into your writings for the week.


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