Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ May 25, 2016 – Knur(ly)

Surf’s Up! on Triplet Wordplay Wednesday

Being a “California Girl” I spent a fair amount of time in the surfing community, raising my sun-bleached blonde surfer boys, when cowabunga, super swells, and hang ten,* peppered their chatter.

Of course, for most colloquial terms we can’t point to any one person, day, or event that gave it birth, so as a writer, I like to dream up a scenario … gnarly.

What, in the name of gnarly waves, could have instigated that surf exclamation? Welllllll, what about … close your eyes … and first envision a green flag of tree leaves waving in the wind, the tree’s limbs gently caressing puffy clouds in a soft blue sky …

Run your hand down its grainy brown trunk, feeling every chunk of bark that lay smoothly against its ringed inner core … bump! Oh … we hit a knur.

KNUR (nʉr) n. – a knot, as on the trunk or branch of a tree. [WW #61; 1 of 3]

KNURL (nʉrl) n. 1) a knot, knob, nodule, etc.; 2) any of a series of small beads or ridges, along the edge of a coin or on a dial; 3) (SCOT) a short, thickset person. [WW #61; 2 of 3]

KNURLY (- ē) adj. – full of knurls, as wood; gnarled. [WW #61; 3 of 3]

Aha! We stumbled on the word, gnarl. An apparent synonym for knurl. And what in heaven’s name were the Scots thinking when they slipped a woodland term over a body? I bolded the meanings in my mind … and then

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ May 18, 2016 – Seiche

Whether It’s Weather or Seismic It’s a Force of Nature! 

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? It leaves a seiche in the water. Well, sorta.

seiche (sāsh) n. – a natural, standing wave in the water of a lake, bay, etc., caused by changes in atmospheric pressure, seismic disturbances, winds, waves, tides, etc.; it continues after the generating force stops [I know some people like that! (WW #60)]

Actually, according to those in the know, it’s more of a seesaw action … who knew that as children, we formed a seiche as we bounced up and down, hitting our bottoms on the ground?! (Ouch. Maybe that was just me.)

More pertinent to its causes, however, is the shock and awe news at the National Ocean Service site, “Lake Erie is known for seiches, especially when strong winds blow from southwest to northeast. In 1844, a 22-foot seiche breached a 14-foot-high sea wall killing 78 people and damming the ice to the extent that Niagara Falls temporarily stopped flowing. As recently as 2008, strong winds created waves 12 to 16 feet high in Lake Erie, leading to flooding near Buffalo, New York.”

Again – I know some people who are especially strong winds blowing ill will. So whether it’s weather or a seismic blowhard, it can still generate an unstoppable force. Grab your slicks and hang on …

Word of the Week: SEICHE. Can you fit it into your next conversation?



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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ May 11, 2016 – Pavid in fear

Disarm and Delight with Words

Pray tell, my dear, our love should not pavid nor should we be pavid of love. Hmmm, well … do not be fearful that I misspelled “paved” or buried our timid love in the cement of classic language.
PAVID (pavʹid) adj. – to tremble, orig., be struck down; (RARE) fearful; afraid; timid. [WW #59]

Although the flowery literature of our classic masters has evolved into punk slang and media frenzied sound bites, now and again, we should revel in writing that is a bit indecipherable, yet vaguely familiar. Like a warm and fuzzy memory tucked away in the recesses of your mind, not quite visible in daylight.
Amongst any other population, or at a later period in the history of New England, the grim rigidity that petrified the bearded physiognomies of these good people would have augured some awful business in hand. Nathaniel HawthorneThe Scarlet Letter, chapter 2.
How much more vacuous and assaulting of our senses in today’s “accepted” literature terms, is dear Nathaniel’s flowing description of the era encircling The Scarlet Letter: Around the world or in a more civilized future time, the fubb zombies that controlled the robo features of these chilling people would have spy-cammed the grisly game in play.

Make your next book a classic. Expand your mind and revive the imagery of fluid thought versus vulgar action.

Word of the Week: PAVID. Can you swallow its fearfulness and fit it in your next family conversation?


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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ May 4, 2016 – CURULE stool

A Throne is but a Trendy Stool  

… fit for a king. Who knew that kings and ancient dignitaries went camping? Well, not exactly. At least not in our version of it. 

However, it is likely that our modern camp stools derived from the honorary folding seat of dictators, consuls, promagistrates, and other dignitaries. Grab the marshmallows and your curule

CURULE (kyōōʹrōōlʹ) adj. – designating a chair like an upholstered campstool with heavy curved legs, in which only the highest civil officers of Rome were privileged to sit in; 2) privileged to sit in a curule chair, of the highest rank. [WW #58]

Rex Harrison, Cleopatra
How did it get outdoors? It became the easily transportable seat of honor for military officials during battle, and apparently Julius Caesar lugged his everywhere except the theater (where he perched on his elaborate throne).
Though our campsite stools bear little resemblance to the elaborate chairs of yore, they still come in pretty handy while holding your skewer over the campfire.

Do you have a valued curule in your home? No? Let’s tweak its uses again, and start a 21st century tradition. 

Create an “honors” award TV-viewing chair – a little plushier than ol’ Julius plunked his tush on – with privilege to sit on its hallowed curule seat as a monthly reward TBD by family vote for greatest contribution to family – “Best Seat in the House”!
Word of the Week: CURULE. Can you fit it into your next family conversation?


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