Posts Tagged ‘words’

Ancient Words II

Long ago we all sat around the same campfire

Proto-Indo-European had separate words for moist, standing water, and running water


Part two: water—from Proto Indo-European *wed– wet (water as inanimate, not flowing)

Wasser water—German

Tse water—Yuchi

Wai water—Hawaiian

Atl water—Nahuatl

Kyawe water—Zuni

Hydor water—Greek

Waatar water—Hittite


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Ancient Words

Long ago we all sat around the same campfire

Proto-Indo-European had separate words for moist, standing water, and running water


Part one: moist, musty—from Proto-Indo-European *mad- or *meus- moist:

mbi (mBEE) water—Lenape/Delaware

aMA (a-MA) water—Cherokee

maji water—Swahili

amanzi water—Zulu

ma’an water—Arabic

mwou water—Coptic

mizu water—Japanese


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2017 Word of the Year

[courtesy of Merriam-Webster]

Drum roll please:

Feminism: If you have to ask why, read the news. If you’re male, listen to the ladies.


Contenders for Word of the Year:

Complicit: Means “helping to commit a crime or do wrong in some way.” Again, read the news.

Recuse: Means “to disqualify (oneself) as judge in a particular case” & “to remove (oneself) from participation to avoid a conflict of interest.”  Read the news some more.

Empathy: Means “the ability to share another person’s feelings.” News, movies, books, it shows up everywhere.

Dotard: Means “a person in his or her dotage” i.e. senility. This is an old insult that was revived in 2017.

Syzygy: Means “the nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies (such as the sun, moon, and earth during a solar or lunar eclipse) in a gravitational system.” I.e. supermoon.

Gyro: Means “a sandwich especially of lamb and beef, tomato, onion, and yogurt sauce on pita bread.” Yes, the word has many pronunciations & is related to gyroscope.

Federalism: Means “the distribution of power in an organization (such as a government) between a central authority and the constituent units.” Read the news.

Hurricane: Means “a tropical cyclone with winds of 74 miles (119 km) per hour or greater, especially in the western Atlantic, usually accompanied by rain, thunder, & lightning.” Read this year’s weather results.

Gaffe: Means “a noticeable mistake.” As in what happened at the Oscars.

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Merriam-Webster has a website with The Word of the Day, thesaurus, dictionary, and more articles about words. I am a word freak, & I love this.

Gibe: She made a gibe at her ex-boyfriend. (sarcastic remark) (can be a verb)

Jibe: The facts jibed with his theory. (be in accordance with) (it can also mean gibe)

Jive: He is a jive turkey. (foolish or deceptive talk) (can also mean jibe, be in accordance with)

Confusing? Yes. But it is current American English usage.



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R you up to it?

I found a few missing R’s, but I need your help! American English has lost R’s over the years, so I know more are lurking in dictionaries. (I am supposed to be cousin to Daniel Webster, so maybe it runs in the family) Anyone who submits an R word gets an Atta boy/Atta girl from me.











And how about?



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Recycling Old Words

Old words

  1. Freck

Verb intr. – “To move swiftly or nimbly” – I can think of a lot of ways to use this one, like “I hate it when I’m frecking through the airport and other people are going so slow.”

Or: You are so frecking dumb. What the freck are you doing now?

  1. Brabble

Verb – “To quarrel about trifles; esp. to quarrel noisily, brawl, squabble” – Brabble basically means to argue loudly about something that doesn’t really matter, as in “Why are we still brabbling about who left the dirty spoon on the kitchen table?” You can also use it as a noun: “Stop that ridiculous brabble and do something useful!”

Or: Brabble on, no one’s listening. You sound like a brabbling brook.

  1. Kench

Verb intr. – “To laugh loudly” – This Middle English word sounds like it would do well in describing one of those times when you inadvertently laugh out loud while reading a text message in class and manage to thoroughly embarrass yourself.

Or: He’s a kenching idiot. He who kenches last kenches best.

  1. Brannigan

Noun – “A drinking bout; a spree or ‘binge’” – Brannigan was originally a North American slang word, but it is now rarely used. “Shall we go for a brannigan on Friday?” can be a more sophisticated way to discuss such activities.

Or: A brannigan a day keeps the doc away. Honest officer, all I had was a Brannigan.

  1. Quagswagging

Noun – “The action of shaking to and fro” – This can also be used in verb form, to quagswag, and is pronounced like “kwag swag.” It could definitely work as the name for a new type of dance, or possibly serve as an alternate way to describe a seizure.

Or: Your quagswagging me will not make me change my mind. The couple quagswagged under the blankets.

  1. Yemeles

Adj. – An Old English and Middle English word meaning “careless, heedless, negligent” – Pronounced as “yeem-lis,” this is another word that could prove useful for teachers. “Handing in messy and incomplete work just shows me you are being yemeles, and I won’t hesitate to give you a zero for the assignment.”

Or: A yemeles idiot like you is worthless. He means nothing by his yemeles actions.

  1. Twitter-light

Noun – “Twilight” – Used in the early 17th century, “twitter-light” sounds like a romantic way to refer to the hours as the sun goes down.

Or: Let us smooch in the twitter-light. In the twitter-light, everyone looks better.

Eights Mask2

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