Monday, May 21, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #21

spring rain
a straw cape blows back
as river willows

harusame ya
mino fuki haesu
kawa yamagi


Translated by Jane Reichhold

Friday, May 18, 2018

Political Poetry

This is, basically, every English professor's dream: foreign, historical poetry by an oppressed people where the subtext is the only thing that matters.

aisling, n.

A type of allegorical poem in the Irish language, often serving as a vehicle for political or social comment, which depicts the poet's conversation with a spirit woman who is usually a personification of Ireland. Cf. vision poem n. at VISION n. Compounds 1a.

The aisling form is particularly associated with pro-Jacobite poets of the 18th cent. who used it to circumvent restrictions on political expression.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Air Cav Is Older Than You Might Think

Okay, well, that's slightly hyperbolic. The literal term "Air Cav", according to the OED, dates from the mid-60's. But the longer "air cavalry", actually has a reference as early as 1913. Which, for extra fun times, contains the phrase "especially the aeroplanists at Nancy".

air cavalry, n.

Mil. (chiefly U.S.).

A highly mobile division of an army which uses aircraft for a variety of functions, as observation, delivery of supplies and troops, aerial assault, evacuation, etc.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #20

eight or nine feet up
in the sky rain falls from
a willow

hakku ken
sora de ame furu
yamagi kama


Translated by Jane Reichhold

Saturday, May 12, 2018

BR Play Index Search: Walks

So I spent a few bucks and renewed my subscription to the Baseball Reference Play Index that I'd let lapse a few years back. It's not that expensive, but it is a frivolous item for me since I don't do anything at all professionally related to baseball. It's a lot of fun though. So, starting with a search I did a number of years ago regarding most walks given up in a shutout, I decided to see what the most walks given up in a win was.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Seems Unnecessary

I like a lot of the feminine forms of familiar words. This one seems like a stretch, even to me. But, I've kinda developed a tendency to include any and all unusual feminine words like this, so here ya go.

aideress, n.

Obs. rare.

A female helper.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Joe Green To You

Given the date of origin and the word itself, it must be related to the Verdi opera, but the actual connection is, as the etymology notes, "unclear". Cool word, though.

Good opera, too.

Aida, n.

Although the chronology suggests a connection with Verdi's opera, the reason for this is now unclear...

Needlework and Embroidery.

A loosely woven linen cloth with an even mesh, traditionally used in cross-stitch embroidery. Frequently attrib., esp. in Aida cloth. Cf. Java canvas n. at JAVA n.5.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #19

wake up wake up
I want to be your friend
little sleeping butterfly

okiyo okiyo
waga tomo ni se n
nuru ko cho


Translated by Jane Reichhold

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Really, OED? Really?

The word is fine; I learned first from reading Patrick O'Brian's marvelous novels. What really gets under my skin is that the OED is citing Twitter for usage. Okay, it's the internet era, but Twitter? Really? We're all on a bobsled to Gehenna, friends.

ahoo, adv. and adj.

A. adv.

1. Unjustly, wrongfully; in error. Cf. mid or with wough at WOUGH n.2 2c. Obs.

 2. Askew, awry; crookedly, lopsidedly. Chiefly in all ahoo. Cf. HUH n. regional in later use.

 B. adj.

  Chiefly Naut. and regional. In predicative use: crooked, lopsided; askew, awry; disordered. Chiefly in all ahoo.

2015   @AMinorMuddle 10 May in (O.E.D. Archive)    A somewhat muddly time being had. Decorators due tomorrow. House all ahoo.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Forget the Definition

The real gem here is one of the sources referenced for usage. I enjoy knowing that there's a book out there that was written with this title.

aheight, adv.

Now Eng. regional (north-east.)

  At or to a height; above, aloft.

1969   S. Dobson Larn Yersel Geordie 25   He up wi' 'is deppity's stick hoyin' it reet up ahight.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Weekly Basho Haiku #18

old pond
a frog jumps into
the sound of water

furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto


Translated by Jane Reichhold

Friday, April 27, 2018

Legit Technobabble

If the writers on Star Trek never used this term, they darn well should have. The definition is straight out of the nonsense technobabble for which the show was known; all it needs is a reference to a Jeffries tube.

Aharonov-Bohm, n.


  attrib. Designating an effect whereby charged particles travelling round a region containing magnetic flux acquire a phase shift of their wave function proportional to the quantity of linked flux, even if the particles themselves are confined to regions where the magnetic field is negligible. Also: of or relating to this effect.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Many and Varied Uses

Such a range of meaning for so small a word.

ah, int.

An exclamation expressing, according to the intonation, various emotions, as

1. Sorrow, lamentation, regret, passing into the regretful expression of a vain wish. (Actual pain or suffering is now more commonly expressed by O! Oh! North. dial. have a (eː) in both senses.)

2. Surprise, wonder, admiration.

In the two prec. senses often followed by me (north. eh me!). Cf. It. ahime!

3. Entreaty, appeal, remonstrance; passing in former times into simple exclamation to excite attention, where O! would now be used. (North. dial. still have ā man!)

4. Dislike, aversion; passing into contempt, mockery, exultation over or satisfaction at misfortune.

5. Opposition, objection (to what has been said). Often followed by but.

Mod. Ah! but I know something better than that.

6. Realization, discovery, inspiration.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Words and Things

A long time ago (10+ years, I think), I ran a blog for a while that chronicled my reading through the Oxford English Dictionary. It's long gone (and now the URL is taken over by a different website), but I integrated the posts I made there to this blog's history. If anyone cared you can find them (and a few other odds and ends) by doing a label search on "language".

I'm going to restart my read through the OED (which got interrupted the first time when I changed jobs) and post here the interesting, odd, unusual, or otherwise remarkable words. This blog isn't one where I envisioned that the bulk of the posts would be scheduled in advance, and it bothers me a little bit, it looks like this is the only way I can really post significant quantities of material that is interesting to me and that I want to share.

The haikus will continue to post Mondays, but I'm going to see if I can maintain a schedule of Wednesday/Friday postings for words from the OED. Like the haikus, they're not going to be long posts with a great deal of commentary from me, but short snippets of things in passing. We'll see how it goes.