Friday, August 11, 2017

-lude and –clude





Karl asked if the words ludicrous and interlude are based on the same root. The short answer: in spite of the spelling-challenged rapper, yes. Both came from the Latin verb ludere, to play. The concept of play lies beneath the surface of a number of common words, at least in their original meaning. For instance, we have

·      allude  (to make a playful reference to something)
·      collude  (to play against someone)
·      delude  (to play on someone’s hope)
·      elude  (to playfully evade)
·      interlude  (a presentation between the acts of a play)
·      prelude  (the warmup to a play or to a musical piece)

A warning, however. If you see –lude immediately preceded by a –c– (-clude) you are dealing with another source entirely. That source is the Latin verb claudere, to close. Common examples are

·      conclude  (to close an action)
·      exclude  (to shut out)
·      occlude  (to obstruct)
·      preclude  (to block a course of action)
·      seclude  (to shut up in isolation)

I came across an intriguing word while researching this topic. The word is hastilude – spear play in a tournament – but I don’t see the point.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about two year’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.
http://wtcmradio.com/words-to-the-wise/





Sunday, July 23, 2017

Misinformation & Disinformation


Ben from Traverse City asked about the difference between disinformation and misinformation. Let’s start with the base word information. Information is knowledge communicated about some particular fact, subject, or event.

According to the Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd ed., there are about 33 negative prefixes – variations on the concept of  “not.”  Some of them simply signify the absence of something; they are not judgmental. Some of them are pejorative or point to blame.

The prefix dis- carries more than a whiff of blame. It can signify that something was deliberately withheld or manipulated. The word disinformation falls within that realm. It signifies the dissemination of deliberately false information, something practiced by many governments and all spy agencies.

The prefix mis- is neutral in its connotation. It signifies that something is factually incorrect, but not because information was manipulated.  Misinformation is inaccurate, but it is not an attempt to deceive. People of goodwill will scramble to correct their mistake when it is discovered. Dissemblers will continue to lie with a straight face to protect their disinformation.


Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about two year’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.






Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Portmanteau Words


Veronica from Traverse City, Michigan, asked for the name of words that are formed by mashing them together. Traditionally, they are called blends. Thanks to Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking Glass), they are also called portmanteau words because two meanings are packed together, as if in a valise.

Some of them are so common that we no longer see them as two words blended together. This is true of goodbye (God be with ye), smog (smoke + fog), and motel (motor + hotel).

The internet (international + network) has produced many blends. Among them are webcast, podcast, webinar, netiquette, bit, netizen, digerati, emoticon, shareware, malware, and sexting. Crossbreeding has given us labradoodle, cockapoo, jackalope, liger, and beefalo. Showbiz (show + business) has contributed docudrama, biopic, edutainment, infotainment, mockumentary, simulcast, and sitcom.

Other blends frequently encountered include affluenza, avionics, brainiac, bromance, chillax, cremains, guesstimate, metrosexual, sexploitation, stagflation, and workaholic.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about two year’s worth of podcasts herehttp://wtcmradio.com/words-to-the-wise/





Saturday, July 01, 2017

Hot Dog!


Jim from Petoskey, Michigan, asked why the humble hot dog has more than one name. As often happens when naming food or drink, territoriality is involved.

Those who maintain that the item was invented in Vienna call it a wiener. In German, that means of Vienna. Others tout Frankfort, Germany, as the source of the delicacy. They opt for the name frankfurter – of Frankfort.

The appellation hot dog seems to have been invented by Yale college students in the late nineteenth century, a sarcastic reference to meat whose provenance was in doubt. Disgustingly, some unscrupulous butchers in the 19th century (and earlier) were buying slaughtered dogs to add to their sausages. SeeBarry Popik’s column.

Speaking of territoriality, many cities or regions have their own version of the hot dog, and each claims to be the best. Visit the website of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council for a rundown on hot dogs across America. I was raised in Chicago, where it is a mortal sin to put catsup on a hot dog. Or even ketchup.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now

You’ll also find about two year’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.






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