Archive for the 'My Words' Category

REAL WORDS—PEEVE OR NOT—REALLY DO MATTER…

September 3rd, 2017

I have lots of personal peeves—partially destroyed and very unique jump to mind, thank you Dr. Evarts—regarding correct word usages, but I could do much worse than deferring to Harold Evans’ glossary. Evans, in The 35 words you’re (probably) getting wrong, writes: I freely acknowledge that, in a list of this sort, “glossary” is a […]

OK, BUT TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL…

July 1st, 2016

Words are the single most important tools in any writer’s workshop. I own a a couple dozen dictionaries, including two that are unabridged. A single word can inspire a scene, a chapter or a whole book. Here are nine words for feelings: Compunctious: feeling remorse or regret. Desiderium: an ardent desire or longing; especially: a […]

HIGH PRAISE INDEED…

May 26th, 2016

Eulogium (p. 56) Uncle Venner’s eulogium, if it appears rather too high-strained for the person and occasion, had, nevertheless, a sense in which it was both subtile and true. Modern eulogy, eulogium, Medieval Latin, from Greek eulogia praise; a commendatory oration, high praise, or writing especially in honor of one deceased . (15th century)igh From […]

WORDS, WORDS, WORDS AND MORE WORDS…

September 7th, 2015

Words are the raw material I sculpt with my life experiences to create fantasy castles and wisdom institutes. My vocabulary is better than some, but not a day passes that I don’t discover a word not in my brick yard. Here a few I’ve come across this past week. Yahudihane: the Turkish word for tenement […]

WILL WE ACCEPT A GENDER NEUTRAL HONORIFIC…?

August 13th, 2015

I adopted their as a singular pronoun when I was in college after learning that the word had had that role in the 19th century, becoming a plural pronoun in the 20th century. My decision was driven both by a desire to be gender sensitive and because I could not stand the convoluted he/she, him/her […]

VIVA LE DECROISSANCE…!

August 12th, 2015

I have a new favorite word this morning: decroissance. The word appears in a footnote on page 93 of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate. Klein writes: In French, decroissance has the double meaning of challenging both growth, croissance, and croire, to believe—invoking the idea of choosing not to believe the fiction […]

THAT VS. WHICH USAGE BATTLE…

July 4th, 2015

I always enjoy the Merriam-Webster Ask The Editor videos. While I have my own quirks—over vs. more than being one particularly irritating example*—I appreciate the squishy language aspect brought to the table by the editors. Language Arts teachers across the United States, and possibly in the rest of the English-speaking world, notwithstanding, words are what […]

LAY, LAID, LAYING, LIE, LAY, LYING, LIE, LIED…

June 1st, 2015

I was in the break room, filling my coffee mug, when one of the Language Arts, what we used to call English, teachers announced her entrance to no one in particular with “god I hate grammar.” Setting aside the irony of that moment, consider that I, and the other teachers in the room, felt for […]

REGARDLESS, YOU SHOULDN’T USE IRREGARDLESS…

May 13th, 2015

CHARMING WORDS FOR NASTY PEOPLE…

February 15th, 2015

Ruffian, Scalawag, Knave, Rapscallion, Reprobate, Cad, Scapegrace, Hooligan, Scamp and Wretch. Which would you prefer to be called? Which would you prefer to be?

PARKED IN THE PORTE COCHERE

October 22nd, 2014

James Lee Burke has a vocabulary all his own and the common words arch across novels, decades and characters. The phrase Porte Cochere (see page 326) literally means coach door, and is one that I’ve always thought meant what I would call a carport. I wasn’t far wrong, but there is history and a regionalilty […]

MIDDLE CLASS IS THE NEW PLEBIAN…

March 7th, 2014

Plebeianism (p. 55) It was a fair parallel between new Plebeianism and old Gentility. Plebian, a common person. Favoring the common person over the aristocratic gentility. (1533) From Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House Of Seven Gables. Previously…

I’M TAKING UP CROSSWORDS…

February 25th, 2014

Endeavour has inspired me…

YOU KNOW YOU’RE A WEST VIRGINIAN IF…

February 24th, 2014

Only West Virginians grow up knowing the difference between a “right near” and a “right far piece.” They also know that “just down the road” can be one mile or 20. My Hess line moved to Palantine, Virginia (now Fairmont, West Virginia) in 1723. My father and his parents moved to Marietta, Ohio during World […]

IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY TO ADVERTISE…?

February 20th, 2014

Because my current project involves writing a 19th century novel, I’m continuing to read in and listen to music from the period. Right now I’m reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House Of Seven Gables (the pronunciation of the les drives me nuts, it ought to be GAB-less not GAY-bells, and don’t get me started on angels […]

MY WORD FOR TODAY IS: OTIUM

October 22nd, 2013

From Wikipedia: Otium, a Latin abstract term, has a variety of meanings, including leisure time in which a person can enjoy eating, playing, resting, contemplation and academic endeavors. It sometimes, but not always, relates to a time in a person’s retirement after previous service to the public or private sector, opposing “active public life”. Otium […]

I NEVER UNDERSTOOD ENTERPRISE BEFORE…

September 23rd, 2013

I served in the United States Navy in the 3rd and 7th fleets when the most recent Enterprise, CVN 65, was part of the fleet. The name always bothered me because of the association I made between the name and business. I just didn’t get how such a name could be appropriate for what was, […]

DARK MATTER, DARK ENERGY, DARK MIND…

September 18th, 2013

To improve my vocabulary (and my reading) I always keep a dictionary close at hand because I aspire to a Shakespearian vocabulary. Inspired by the PBS Kids show Word Girl, I’ve decided to add My Words as an occasional feature here at Have Coffee Will Write. Today’s words are effulgence, apologue and abject. From The […]

I DO MISS CONAN THE GRAMMARIAN…

August 11th, 2012

0550: 15 Grammar Mistakes to Avoid

WHEN DOES PRECOCITY END…?

May 15th, 2012

To improve my vocabulary (and my reading) I always keep a dictionary close at hand because I aspire to a Shakespearian vocabulary. Inspired by the new PBS Kids show Word Girl, I’ve decided to add My Words as an occasional feature here at Have Coffee Will Write. Today’s word is precocity. PRECOCIOUS. 1: exceptionally early […]

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