Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fraught



Clarence found this in the January 31 edition of the Traverse City Record-Eagle:

“Twice this month, the White House has publicly grappled with the politically fraught language of terrorism.”

Clarence asked about the word fraught in that sentence. The adjective comes from the past participle form of the verb, which owes its existence to a German/Dutch/Swedish nexus of a word meaning to load a ship with cargo. As such, it is closely connected to the word freight.

In effect, the idea could have been expressed by the words “politically loaded language.” Synonyms include filled, charged, laden—a form of the verb lade, which meant to load cargo onto a ship. Another nautical image appearing in the original sentence above is contained in the verb grappled. Originally, to grapple was to seize or hold a ship with a grapple, which was an implement furnished with large, strong hooks.

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, January 18, 2015

Neologisms


Mike from Cadillac challenged me to come up with some words that we could use if they actually existed. Rather than taking time out to make some up during this very busy season, I’m going to cheat and offer some that I wrote in an article a few years back.

kerysomnia  n.  The unfailing ability to fall asleep during a sermon. [< Gr  keryssein,  to proclaim, + L somnus, sleep]
synchrotenation  n.  That embarrassing moment at the family dinner table when everyone reaches for the last pork chop at the same time. [< E synchro-, simultaneously, + L tenere, to take hold of]
anamelophobia  n.  Fear of, or aversion to, elevator music. [< Gr ana,
upward, + melo, music, + phob, fear]
optotoxicidal  adj.  Of or pertaining to poisonous looks that could kill, especially from a spouse.  [< Gr ops, eye, + toxikon, poison, + E -cide, to kill]
umbalgia  n.  The excruciating pain experienced when a doorknob violently strikes one's thigh. [< L umbo, a knob or projection + -algia, pain]
vinigrate v.  -grated, -grating  To annoy others while under the influence of alcoholic beverages. [< L vinum, wine + grate, to annoy]
coprovore  n.   A subordinate who is forced to listen without interruption as his or her boss engages in unrelenting verbal abuse. [< Gr kopro-, dung, + L vorare, eat]
vellicitude  (vel-ISS-uh-tewd) n.  Having one's sleeve plucked by a persistent street beggar. [< L vellicare, to pull or pluck + solicit ]
philatelicide  n.  1. A postal worker who goes on a rampage and murders his co-workers.  2. The act of a philatelicide.  [< G philately, the study of stamps, + L -cide, murder]
pisced-off (pisht-OFF) adj.  Angry because the market is out of fresh fish.   [< L. piscis, fish, + -off]
proctotious (prok-TOE-shuss) adj.  Of or pertaining to a lazy knave, such as one's brother-in-law. [< Gr proctos, rectum, + L otium, leisure]
frustrum  n., pl. frustra.  An unendurably itchy spot in the middle of one's back which defies all efforts to reach it. [< L frustra in vain]
mephitomint n., pl. -mints.   A lozenge deliberately designed to produce foul breath in certain social situations, such as a blind date which is going badly. [< L mephitis, noxious stench, + mint]
testiculate  v.  To make an obscene gesture by grabbing one's crotch.  [< L testis, testicle]
ructitude  n.  The satisfying feeling of relief which comes after a particularly good belch. {< L eructare, to belch]
rhinothetic  adj.  Having the tendency to stick one's nose in other people's business. [< Gr rhin-, nose, + E -thetic > Gr-tithenai, to put or place]
bisedilious  adj.  Pertaining to a bus rider or theatergoer so large tha two seats are necessary to accommodate him or her--and who invariably sits next to you. [< L bi-, two, + sedile, seat]
podostomatic  adj.  Tending to suffer from foot-in-mouth disease. [< Gr pod-, foot, +  stom-, mouth]
bufogamation  (bew-FOE-guh-MAY’-shun) n.  The act of marrying a prince only to discover that he's really a toad. [< Gr bufo-, toad, + gam-, wed]

pharmasuitical  adj.  Pertaining to a multi-pocketed garment worn by drug smugglers. [< Gr pharmako, drug, + Eng. suit]

Words to theWise, Kindle Edition 



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, January 11, 2015

Gambol and Gimbal


Doug from Traverse City called in to ask about a word that he encountered in his reading. After he had hung up, I realized that I didn’t know precisely which word he intended. It was either gimballed or gambolled.

If it was gimballed, it means fitted with a gimbal. Gimbal has a few meanings:

·      connecting links in machinery;

·      a hinge;

·      a contrivance by means of which articles for use at sea (esp. the compass and the chronometer) are suspended so as to keep a horizontal position. It usually consists of a pair of rings moving on pivots in such a way as to have a free motion in two directions at right angles, so as to counteract the motion of the vessel.

If, instead, he said
gambolled, that is the past tense of the verb to gambol. A gambol (n.) is the energetic leap of a horse. It is also an outburst of energetic and playful activity—not necessarily involving a horse—or a general frolic or romp.


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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