Category: Definitions

Arcane Words and the “Intuitive” Reader

Posted on Tuesday, August 2, 2016, at 10:47 am

Serious readers, when they are reading literature they consider important, routinely look up any words they do not know. But there are also “intuitive” readers, who consider themselves of sufficient wisdom to figure out a word just by reading the sentence and trusting their life experience and common sense to grasp the writer’s meaning. Today …

Read More

Clear as Mud

Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2016, at 10:37 am

In the print and broadcast media, new catchwords appear out of nowhere—and suddenly they’re everywhere. Often these are familiar words that have taken on different meanings which no one ever bothers to explain. Today, let’s discuss a couple of these ubiquitous buzzwords. Optics  This overblown word has become commonplace in news reports. Some random examples: …

Read More

Test Your Vocabulary

Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at 4:26 pm

“Words have a longer life than deeds.” —Pindar “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” —Confucius “Proper words in proper places make the true definition of a style.” —Jonathan Swift “The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.” …

Read More

Might You Mean May?

Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, at 4:43 pm

What is the difference between may and might? There may have been a clear difference long ago, and there still might be a difference in some sticklers’ minds, but today the two verbs are, with few exceptions, interchangeable. Grammarians tell us that might is the past tense of may, but that fact, while interesting, does …

Read More

The Rise and Fall of Vogue Words

Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at 7:54 pm

In the last two weeks, on various radio and television programs, I have heard the word granular used no less than five times, in sentences like “The commission was hoping for a granular analysis of the problem.” The word got my attention, but I didn’t know what it was supposed to mean. All I knew …

Read More

1 2 3 4 21