Thursday, November 27, 2014

Something Akin to Kinship

Mike from Glen Arbor, Michigan, asked if the words kin and akin are connected. Indeed, they are. They come from a cluster of Germanic, Scandinavian, and Dutch words that meant to produce, to engender, to beget. In turn, those words are related to the Greek γένος (genos), which would show up in a word like generate, and the Latin genus.

Kin means family or blood relations. It was once used in the stock phrase kith and kin, where kith meant one’s familiar country or countrymen. Akin originally meant belonging to the same family. Then it expanded to mean connected by resemblance.

Related words include

·      kindred: related by blood, and figuratively, connected by resemblance (kindred spirits)

·      kinship: consanguinity, and figuratively, sharing similar qualities or character

·      kinsman: a male relative

·      kinswoman: a female relative



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 a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





Sunday, November 23, 2014

Comprise & Compose


The following sentence appeared in an editorial in the Traverse City Record-Eagle on Sunday, November 23, 2014:

“Safe Harbor, comprised of 23 area churches that open their doors to the homeless during the winter months, has said the group can’t continue indefinitely.”

My quibble is with the wording comprised of. Comprise means to include or contain; compose means made up of or formed by. Safe Harbor, included of 23 area churches . . . makes no sense.

The whole comprises the parts; the whole includes the parts:

·      Safe Harbor comprises 23 area churches.
    America comprises 50 states.
·      The federal government comprises three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
·      A full deck comprises 52 cards.
·      The English alphabet comprises 26 letters.

Alternatively, the whole is composed of its many parts; the whole is made up of or formed by its many parts:

·      Safe Harbor is composed of 23 area churches.
·      America is composed of 50 states.
·      The federal government is composed of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
·      A full deck is composed of 52 cards.
·      The English alphabet is composed of 26 letters.

Finally, the parts compose the whole; the parts make up or form the whole:

·      23 area churches compose Safe Harbor.
·      50 states compose America.
·      Three branches—executive, legislative, and judicial—compose the federal government.
·      52 cards compose a full deck.
·      26 letters compose the English alphabet.

Here is a simple rule that will cut through confusion:
    Never, ever, write or say comprised of.

 


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 a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





Thursday, November 20, 2014

Achoo!


A listener who wished to remain anonymous asked if I knew the name of the syndrome in which a person sneezes when suddenly exposed to light. I didn’t, but I found it online. It’s called photic sneeze reflex.

There’s some confusion about its cause, but here are links to a couple of articles that take a stab at an explanation.



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 a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





Friday, November 14, 2014

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On


Evelyn wrote to say that she had come across a strange and unfamiliar word last week while browsing through the offerings in her local library’s semi-annual book sale. The word was quassation.

The word is strange and unfamiliar to most of us because it is obsolete. When the word was last commonly used, somewhere around the late 19th century, it meant crushing medications into smaller pieces, or grinding vegetative material into pieces in order to extract their beneficial ingredients.

The word came from the Latin quassatio, a violent shaking, and later expanded into crushing or bruising. A close relative was the adjective quassative, given to shaking and trembling.

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 a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.






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