Category Archives: Language

Sesquipedalian

Sesquipedalian; 1) given to using long words; 2) containing many syllables. I first encountered the word nine years ago on Facebook. Really. The word was included in a post on the Smith College Facebook page. Ah! That explains it. I … Continue reading

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The Effects of Attention Deficit Bureaucracy on Linguistic Inquiry

This morning, for breakfast, we had toasted thin bagels topped with cream cheese, purple onion, capers, and smoked salmon. I had mine open-faced;  as in an open-faced sandwich. While I was eating my breakfast, I wondered aloud where the term … Continue reading

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Language Crimes

Go ahead, call me a Grammar Nazi. But, actually, t’s not grammar. It’s vocabulary. Here’s a heading for a story I read recently on CNN.com: “Man breaks in to rob a Florida Wendy’s but stops to make himself dinner first.” … Continue reading

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Time is Money

Time is money. That apothegm means, to most of us, that time is a valuable resource and, as such, it is better to do things as quickly as possible. But I also see it from another perspective. That is, one … Continue reading

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Authenticity in Appetite

I find it interesting that definitions of passion conflict with one another. For instance, on one hand passion can mean ardent affection or strong sexual desire but, on the other, it can mean an outbreak of anger, as in a … Continue reading

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Phrases

Not long ago, I wrote a somewhat depressing philosophical screed that included concepts and phrases I’ve never used before. Phrases like “tetanus fog” and “smothering with a cellophane pillow.” I didn’t post the discourse on my blog, but I kept … Continue reading

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Opening Death’s Door

Several days ago, I received a promotional/informational email from Liquor.com. The message contained a list of gins that, according to the sender, represent the best of the beverage. My wife, a gin aficionado who rarely drinks any alcohol, found the … Continue reading

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Fourthgraders

On occasion, I slog through writing I’ve posted here or stored in directories on my hard drive. I’m looking for words that have merit, writing of which I might one day be proud. I’m afraid I rarely find those gems … Continue reading

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Of Words and Weather and Automotive Maturation

Uncharacteristically cool temperatures for late July and early August give me hope. Soul-crushing hot weather tends to sear despair into my brain, but the scar heals quickly when evening and early morning temperatures dip into the sixties. Were it not … Continue reading

Posted in Cars, Language, Politics, Rambling, Stream of Consciousness, Weather | Leave a comment

Psycholinguistic Musings

Sinew. That word can evoke, for me, images of sturdy steel bands, thick in the middle but narrowing almost to points on the ends; ribbons of metallic lies constrained at either end by truth. It’s as if truth confines the streamer of … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Philosophy, Ruminations, Writing | 1 Comment

A Roundabout Tribute to Maggie Roche

I’m a fervent admirer of a handful of musicians. People who know me may understand the depth of my admiration for Leonard Cohen, whose deeply meaningful poetry set to music moves me beyond anyone else’s art. Yet, even in the … Continue reading

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Linguafile

An idea for a story came to me during a conversation with my wife yesterday. The story would have been a whimsical one in which a young boy dreams of becoming fluent in every human language and, by working hard, … Continue reading

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A Turn of Phrase

I suspect this is the sixth or seventh time I’ve written about the French phrase, Le jeu n’en vaut pas la chandelle, translated into English as “the game is not worth the candle.” The phrase sums up feelings of depression … Continue reading

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Ensteubulous Thursday

Soft, early morning light filtered through the windows when I woke up this morning, a highly unusual circumstance for someone who’s up well before dawn almost every day. Why I slept in is beyond me. But sleep in I did. … Continue reading

Posted in Food, Language | 1 Comment

Negative Space

Negative space. That’s an interesting concept. The term refers to the space around and between one or more subjects of a visual image; it’s the space that surrounds an image. To an artist—and others who understand the concept in an … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Art, Language, Literature | Leave a comment

The Cleansing

Certain words convey meanings that dictionary definitions do not adequately express. One such word , in my humble opinion, is “boisterous.” A group of pre-school children might be called boisterous. But the word is inappropriate to describe a gang of violent … Continue reading

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Blood

Some words occupy spaces only they can fill.  Those words are like surviving twins; they are incomplete pairs that cannot be repaired, no matter how much energy is expended to that end. One such word is blood. Oh, one might … Continue reading

Posted in Just Thinking, Language | 1 Comment

Letters and Numbers

What gives me reason to think I can stitch together a small sample of all the available words in the English language to create something new? Any word I might choose to use has been used before, very probably in concert … Continue reading

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Petrichor

There’s a word for the smell of fresh rain, an aroma that evokes memories of my childhood better than any other. The word is petrichor, derived from the Greek words petra (stone) and ichor (the blood of the gods), coined … Continue reading

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A Single Word Can Change Everything

I stumbled upon an interesting bit of wordplay this morning, courtesy of a writer-directed Facebook post. Here it is: She told him that she loved him. The post went on to say that by inserting the word ‘only’ in various places, … Continue reading

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Unutterable

It has come to my attention that the French language is far more difficult for me to understand than I had earlier imagined. My mouth is not properly configured to speak, nor are my ears constructed to hear, the sounds … Continue reading

Posted in Absurdist Fantasy, Language | 2 Comments

Two Hundred

Poetry can utter thoughts one dare not say aloud, nor commit to prose, because poetry is a language of suggestion, interpretation, influence. “It means what it means to you” or “It means what you want it to mean.” That vague avoidance of … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Poetry, Writing | 2 Comments

Only So Far…

The difference between fear and terror is one of intensity and effect. Fear is authoritative. Terror is dominant. Fear generates a response. Terror triggers panic. Fear leads to action. Terror results in paralysis. Consider, as well, the difference between liking and loving. … Continue reading

Posted in Just Thinking, Language | 2 Comments

And on other matters…

It seems one of my favorite phrases, “slogging through the porridge,” belongs only to me. I have used it only once in my blog (that I can find), but it escapes my lips in conversation not infrequently and it has … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Welding, Writing | Leave a comment

Caramel Floods

Soft and thick like flash-cooled caramel, my thoughts creep along in slow motion, their hard edges dragged around obstacles that get in their way by the more pliable core within. Thinking is, at times, an exercise in  patience. When the mind … Continue reading

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