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by Ken Greenwald
Thu Jan 06, 2005 11:05 pm
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: floccinaucinihilipilification and other long words
Replies: 11
Views: 10082

floccinaucinihilipilification and other long words

It is not often that one actually finds one of these ridiculously long words used seriously in a real sentence nowadays. So it was surprising to see this whopper in an article in this month’s Scientific American (January 2005) entitled ‘Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth.’ The basic idea of the article,...
by Ken Greenwald
Thu Jan 06, 2005 8:01 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: competence / competency
Replies: 5
Views: 3958

competence / competency

Phil, Here are two up-to-date and somewhat different takes by the big boys, where the 2nd comes closer to the point of difference that you were making, and which I agree with, than the 1st: 1) New Fowler’s Modern English Usage (revised 3rd edition –1998) by Burchfield: Neither ‘competence’ nor ‘comp...
by Ken Greenwald
Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:25 am
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: mxyzptlk
Replies: 1
Views: 1908

mxyzptlk

Dear Mango, Mr. Mxyzptlk is a devilish character who, since 1944 when he first papered in a Superman comic book, has been harassing the man of steel. For more than most people would every want to know about this character see http://www.supermanhomepage.com/comics/comics.php?topic=special-reports/mx...
by Ken Greenwald
Tue Jan 04, 2005 10:19 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: succotash
Replies: 7
Views: 3484

succotash

Allen, Now you’ve went and made me prejudiced! (<:)

Ken
by Ken Greenwald
Tue Jan 04, 2005 10:10 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Janus words (antagonyms, contronyms)
Replies: 8
Views: 5575

Janus words (antagonyms, contronyms)

Dale, I was not implying that NONE of them were any good, just that MOST of them weren’t any good. And I don’t think we should have to wade through a pile of your refuse just to discover the few that might have been worthwhile. Use some judgment in posting and don’t just indiscriminately dump on us ...
by Ken Greenwald
Tue Jan 04, 2005 8:27 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: succotash
Replies: 7
Views: 3484

succotash

Nicolas, Simon is right but today succotash takes several forms. The first succotash consisting of corn and beans cooked in bear grease was made by American Indians who, incidentally, grew the corn and beans together with the cornstalks serving as bean poles. Colonists used the word in the early 18t...
by Ken Greenwald
Tue Jan 04, 2005 7:30 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: gut soup
Replies: 17
Views: 6291

gut soup

Wiz, Well here’s a strange turn of events. I’m usually telling you to refer to reliable sources and you’re usually telling me I rely too much on reliable sources. And here I am saying ‘gut soup’ looks real based on a paltry number of Google hits. I agree with you that this one is pretty shaky, but I...
by Ken Greenwald
Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:56 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Janus words (antagonyms, contronyms)
Replies: 8
Views: 5575

Janus words (antagonyms, contronyms)

Dale, If you are wondering, the reason why I erased your Janus word posting is because after reading it through, I considered it an indiscriminate dump. It was long, and most of the examples were of extremely low quality. In the future please use some judgment and don’t post large quantities of uned...
by Ken Greenwald
Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:44 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: oxymoron
Replies: 3
Views: 2001

oxymoron

I know it has been posted before, but this site is good!!

://www.fun-with-words.com/oxym_oxymoronology.html


Submitted by Gary Wallington (Akolele - Australia)
by Ken Greenwald
Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:06 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: gut soup
Replies: 17
Views: 6291

gut soup

Dale, For what it’s worth, in looking through the Google hits for ‘gut soup,’ it looks to me as though it appears in enough credible places, to conclude that it is real and current.

<2002 “The film [[The Bourne Identity]] has credibility flaws and a GUT-SOUP [[‘puke’]] ending.”—www.kinocite.co.uk >
by Ken Greenwald
Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:22 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: the dickens
Replies: 6
Views: 13073

the dickens

Thank you Leif! I was so focused on trying to make sense of the word "dickens" that it didn't occur to me to look up "cute". I'm embarrassed to say that I was unaware of cute's original meaning (from "acute"). So "cute as the dickens" is now commonly used to mean the opposite of what it originally m...
by Ken Greenwald
Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:17 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: the dickens
Replies: 6
Views: 13073

the dickens

In the first example of cute as the dickens, one must understand that cute can stand for clever or sly as well as pretty. One of the great characteristics attributed to the devil is that he/she can assume whatever shape he/she needs to practice his devilish trade. Therefore, he/she could assume the ...
by Ken Greenwald
Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:09 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: the dickens
Replies: 6
Views: 13073

the dickens

“Cute as the dickens” is not mentioned in the reference below, but I believe that in our expression it also means “devil,” but in a less negative way, as in “devilish” and “mischievous” – “cute as a devil.” “You little dickens” is another expression which I always took to mean “You little devil” in ...
by Ken Greenwald
Mon Jan 03, 2005 5:59 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: the dickens
Replies: 6
Views: 13073

the dickens

The use of 'dickens' as a euphemism for devil is dated by various sources as being much older than the period of the Victorian novellist. For example, M-W.com gives a very precise 1598, while Websters 1913 offers a quote from Shakespeare ("I can not tell what the dickens his name is."). So it seems ...
by Ken Greenwald
Sun Jan 02, 2005 11:38 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: notch up
Replies: 8
Views: 4661

notch up

Phil, I agree with you. All, except one, of the notch expressions that I am aware of have connotations which are positive as in topnotch (first-rate, outstanding, superior): "His work is always topnotch"; to the notch (to perfection, exactly): "He was up to the notch in his game"; a notch in your be...