Tag Archives: word-ofthe-moment

Whipping boy

Fascinating. I’d heard the term but didn’t realise its significance. A whipping boy was a young boy who was assigned to a young prince and was punished when the prince misbehaved or fell behind in his schooling. Whipping boys were established in the English court during the monarchies of the 15th century and 16th centuries. […]

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Big Word

I worked with a misguided sesquipedalian (which I’ve long maintained is an ironic term) who liked to use big words but more often than not used them wrong. If I ever encounter him in the future, I’ll have his theme song running through my head. Red Stripe Beer – Big Word – YouTube.

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New words, hip hip! Multilingualism, hooray! Multilingual puns! *faints from nerdiness* Macaronic refers to text spoken or written using a mixture of languages, sometimes including bilingual puns, particularly when the languages are used in the same context (as opposed to different segments of a text being in different languages). The term is also sometimes used […]

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Noun logophilia (uncountable) The love of words and word games. I looked this up. How apt. (All three definitions.) logophilia – Wiktionary.

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Drawn from my Band of Brothers viewing. Shibboleths appeal both to the history nerd and the word nerd in me. During the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War, the American forces used the challenge-response codes “Flash” – “Thunder” – “Welcome”. The last response was used to identify the challenger as a native English […]

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20s Slang

I love dictionaries of all stripes, and this collection of slang from 1920s America proves why. We need to bring some of these terms back, and how! My faves: Chassis – the female body Fire extinguisher – a chaperone Giggle Water – An intoxicating beverage; alcohol Hayburner – (1) a gas guzzling car Spifflicated – […]

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Word of the Moment: Wellerism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellerism Wellerisms, named after Sam Weller in Charles Dickens‘s The Pickwick Papers, make fun of established proverbs by showing that they are wrong in certain situations, often when taken literally. In this sense, wellerisms that include proverbs are a type of anti-proverb. Typically a Wellerism consists of three parts: a proverb or saying, a speaker, […]

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Phatic – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phatic In linguistics, a phatic expression is one whose only function is to perform a social task, as opposed to conveying information… For example, “you’re welcome” is not intended to convey the message that the hearer is welcome; it is a phatic response to being thanked, which in turn is a phatic whose function is […]

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Uncanny valley – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_Valley The uncanny valley hypothesis holds that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. Thus explaining why Pixar’s cartoon heroes are always endearing, and those from The Polar Express are unbearable to watch.

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Spleen – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spleen Behold! The Spleen! These days, one of our less considered organs, though popular enough with medieval generations across many cultures, each of which ascribed it different responsibilities to our humours. The word spleen comes from the Greek and is the idiomatic equivalent of the heart in English, i.e. to be good-spleened means to be […]

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