Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ September 21, 2016 – Johnny

Big Bad John – Uncommon Commonalities 

Are you Johnny on the spot, a Johnny-come-lately, or loves you some johnnycake?

It’s no surprise that “John” is a very common boys’ name, not only in the US, but worldwide, largely due to its revered Bible references. It still holds court at number forty-two in a list of 100 popular baby boys’ names (Nameberry’s 2016-so-far).

With all its popularity though, we can’t escape the dubious double-entendres that plague poor John. Like escaping a less-than-desirable moment for a trip to the John, and a misguided John with less than upright morals, looking for lusty love in all the wrong places.

Let’s strip the façade from “John” and have some fun!

JOHNNY (jänʹē) n. – a short muslin gown with short sleeves and a back opening that is closed with ties, worn as by hospital patients. [WW #78]

Wow – and all this time, I’ve just called it that f*$%&g hospital gown. See, even a wordsmith can learn a new word every day. To think the infernal, shapeless flowered contraption that defies covering your body at your most vulnerable moments, has a real name.

Everyone knows a John. Some are common, some, like the word and its adaptations, not so much. What John do you know who defies the definition of common?  

Let’s remember that the popularized version of John is derived from a couple of saints: John the Baptist and the apostle John. And let’s not forget millennia of kings, popes, and emperors who glorified John. Give the guy a break!

From johnboat to Johnny-jump-up (various African violets, but more importantly, an Irish drinking song!) to John Q. Public, and John Dory (a fish), John runs the gamut from saintly to serious and funny to fishy.

I admit, one of my greatest friends is a John – of the best kind. But don’t call him johnny – or late for dinner. I know he’ll appreciate my tongue-in-cheek fun with his name – and you should feel free to appreciate his ample list of Amazon eBooks, for your reading pleasure.

And share this with the John or Johnny in your life to show you were thinking about him today! It's dedicated to all of the "Johns" in the world. :-)

Word Challenge: JOHNNY. Go ahead, get that johnny to stay closed and not bare your backside – I dare you! While your hands are tied in knots behind your back, have fun fitting johnny into your week of writings!


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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ September 14, 2016 – Sennet | Sennight | Sennit

3-fer: E, I, E, I, Oh! 

It’s Hump Day, and if you don’t have enough confusion in your life … here … let me help!

Pretend this is an Elizabethan drama and I’m heralding the entrance of your Wordplay Wednesday three-fer!

SENNET (senʹit) – n. a trumpet call used as a signal for ceremonial entrances and exits in Elizabethan drama. [WW #77; 3-fer/1]

SENNIGHT (senʹit) – n. (Archaic) a week. [Think seven and night mash-up; WW #77; 3-fer/2]

SENNIT (senʹit) – n. 1) a flat braided material made by plaiting strands of rope yarn; 2) plaited straw, grass, etc. used for making hats. [WW #77; 3-fer/3]

The English language is full of this type of confusion – their identical pronunciations compound our chaos – like we don’t have enough already! 

Homonyms can be harmful to your Hump Day (and the rest of your week)!

Watch your spelling or you could try to ask someone for some plaited yarn (sennit) to weave a fun gift, and end up spending a week (sennight) with them! [Then again … you might sennet (trumpet) the thought!]

Word Challenge: SENNET | SENNIGHT | SENNIT. Hear the herald for you to weave these lovable words into your week of writings!


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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ September 7, 2016 – Figeater

Even Tutankhamun liked a good bug 

Why do we call them June Bugs – when they don’t emerge to pester us until July to September?! Well, to be more accurate “us” would be you-all in the Eastern states. You have June Bugs … in other parts of the country (primarily the Southwest), we hail the arrival of the …

FIGEATER (figʹētʹɘr) n. – a large, green, velvety scarab beetle (Cotinis nitida) of the Southern U.S., the adults of which feed on ripe fruit; June bug. [WW #76]

As with most “facts” in life, much is disputed about these members of the scarab beetle family. Wiki disagrees with the dictionary and classifies the Figeater as the “Cotinis mutabilis, distinguishing it from its June Bug cousin, the “Cotinis nitida.”

Thing is, with “over 30,000 species of beetles worldwide,” 1) how are we supposed to know which is which, and 2) why should we care? A beetle is still an annoying beetle … be it figeater, June Bug or flower chafer … eewwww!

Once upon a time long ago, though, scarabs were (and still are, in some circles) revered as good fortune by the ancient Egyptians, and symbol of Khepri, a solar deity

Many Egyptian antiquities bear the beetle’s image in gold and/or jewels and gemstones. Take a gander at Tutankhamun's ornate, beetle-babe breastplate.
Tutankhamun's scarab breastplate
From amulets to political and diplomatic emblems, the beetles we call pesky figeaters, were honored in luxurious adornments, in life and in death. “Heart scarabs” became popular to place with mummies, symbolic of their hearts traveling with them to the afterworld.

So, if you’re looking for a reason to like Figeater beetles – there ya go now All You Need is Love and a little Help! to make it through A Hard Day's Night* ... heehee.

Word of the Week: FIGEATER. Give the ancient figeater some credit – have fun scouring the antiques shops for your own flashy green charmer! How many times can you use figeater in your writings this week?


*For those of you who don’t get The Beatles’ reference – and to those who do – I’m sorry. :-)

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