Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Like the Statue of Liberty

I'm not sure why this word got chosen. It just seemed right. I've never seen it used, but it isn't an obsolete or rare word, and the opportunities for use seem like they wouldn't be too rare; don't we all carry pennies from time to time?

æruginous, a.

Of the nature or colour of verdigris, or copper-rust.

Listening to: Musica Antiqua Köln - Reinhard Goebel - Musica Antiqua Köln - Reinhard Goebel - 02 - Concerto 5 2. Affettuoso
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

By any other name

Makes me think of an old My Word program where "A rose is a rose, is a rose" was transformed into "Arrows, sees Harrows, Ciceros". Which really has nothing much to do with this word, other than the connection I made in my own mind.

ærose, a.

Of the nature of copper or brass, coppery, brassy.

Now playing: Metallica - Metallica - 07 - Sad But True
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sounds like a deodorant

A word I didn't even know existed before I read it in the OED, much less was I cognizant of any need for such a word. I find it a pleasant-sounding word and I can see how it would be useful for people needing to draw some finer distinctions than the general population does on this topic.


A stone or portion of matter which has fallen to the earth from, or rather through, the atmosphere; a meteoric stone, or meteorite. In recent usage, the name aerolite has been confined to those meteorites which consist of stone or other substance than meteoric iron: see AEROSIDERITE.

Now playing: Poundhound - 08 - Poundhound - Pineapple
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 26, 2007

Not just a prefix any more!

I tend not to think of words like this as, well, words. Instead, I think of them as abbreviations or as, indeed, prefixes. On the other hand, the definition and the usage clearly indicates that it is a word as well as an abbreviation.

aero, a.


a. colloq. Aerodynamic, streamlined: used chiefly with reference to motor vehicles.

b. Comb. aero bar Cycling, an attachment to or replacement for the handlebars of a racing bicycle, allowing the cyclist to adopt a more aerodynamic, forward-sitting posture.

Now playing: Leo Kottke - Leo Kottke - 16 - Sleepwalk
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Where eagles soar. Or nest. Or something.

That's right, four currently acceptable spellings. That's nothing really, the word has gone through 14 different spellings over the centuries. I find this odd, particularly that the spelling of this word still hasn't been nailed down by this point. Long may it continue, however, I'd hate to see some committee try to impose a Standard English on us. There is a "Standard English", of course, but it is a living thing, slowly shifting over time and not controlled by some faceless central authority.

aerie, aery, eyrie, eyry

1. The nest of any bird of prey; especially, in modern usage, of an eagle; also extended to that of ravens and other birds building high in the air; and fig. to a human residence or retreat perched high on a rock or mountain side.

2. The brood in the nest; the young of a bird of prey, or fig. a noble stock of children.

Now playing: Tchaikovsky, Peter Illyich - Enrique Batiz, conductor - Tchaikovsky, Peter Illyich - Enrique Batiz, conductor - 01 - 1812 Overture, Op. 49

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A word designed for politicians, clearly.

From the name of the Greek god of winds. A nice little play on words, I think.

æolistic, a.


Now playing: The Jelly Jam - The Jelly Jam - 06 - Reliving
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Could you use it in a sentence please?

It's just because it's a big, ugly-looking, spelling-bee word. Cool? Cool.

ægithognathous, a.


Having the formation of palate characteristic of the family Ægithognathæ (perching birds, woodpeckers, swifts): see quot. 1894. Hence ægi{sm}thognathism, the condition of being ægithognathous.

1894 R. B. SHARPE Handbk. Birds Gt. Brit. I. 1 The palate is said to be ‘ægithognathous’, or ‘Passerine’, when the vomer is broadened and blunt, or truncated, at the anterior end, and is not connected with the maxillo-palatines, which, consequently, are widely separated from each other.

Now playing: Trout Fishing In America - Trout Fishing In America - 02 - 18 Wheels On A Big Rig
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 22, 2007

It's under control.

I only knew this word in the latter part of sense 2. It makes a lot more sense now as the name of a a missile-cruiser weapons system now that I have an understanding of the first sense as well. Though, now that I consider it, I should have known before this since the word is used in World of Warcraft.


1. A shield, or defensive armour; applied in ancient mythology to that of Jupiter or Minerva.

2. fig. A protection, or impregnable defence. Now freq. in senses ‘auspices, control, etc.’, esp. in phr. under the ægis (of).

3. attrib. and Comb., ægis-bearing, ægis-orb.

Now playing: Tabor, Ty - Tabor, Ty - 03 - Live in Your House
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 19, 2007

I'm not going to make it today.

I'm going to have to start using this word if I have to call in sick for work. Really though, it wouldn't work. No one would understand and it would lead a big confusion unless I also also noted that I was sick and what fun would that be?

æger, a.

The L. word for ‘sick,’ used at the Eng. universities in excusing absence on account of illness; hence, a note certifying that a student is ‘æger’ or sick.

Now playing: Tabor, Ty - Tabor, Ty - 01 - Tulip (Your Eyes)
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We can build it better, stronger, faster.

Couple my fondness for the first letter (or letters) with the fact that this word describes a feature we've all seen but never knew there was a specific word for... and we have a perfect word for this blog. It's a feature that I think is rather attractive.


Chiefly Roman Archit.

A niche (for a statue), esp. one framed by two columns supporting a pediment or an entablature; this structure forming a shrine.

Now playing: Jughead - Jughead - 11 - Paging Willie Mays
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


"You may ask, 'How did this tradition get started?' I'll tell you! [pause] I don't know. But it's a tradition."

This post isn't entirely an excuse to quote from Fiddler on the Roof. I also have long been fascinated with this, well, letter, for lack of a better term. As a child, I would often see this in old books, especially British ones, and wonder about its use and the rules for it. Personally, I'd like to see it make a come-back, but that's not terribly likely.


(usually written as a digraph or ligature, but also, and in the earliest times, separately ae) was in OE. the symbol of a simple vowel, intermediate between a and e. When short, as in glæd, fæder, it represented orig. Teut. short a, and had the power of modern Eng. a. in man, glad; when long, as in , flǽsc, the same sound prolonged, as in a common American pronunciation of bear, hair, there. After 1100 the short æ was generally replaced by a (though sometimes by e); the long ǽ continued to be written æ in the 12th and early 13th c., the OE. passing into the same sound and symbol, but in the development of ME. this symbol died out, and was replaced by simple e or ee. Thus OE. , flǽsc, eár, eást are in Ormin and Layamon , flæssh, ær, æst, but afterwards se(e, flesh, ere, eest. The symbol æ, which thus disappeared from the language in 13th c., was re-introduced in 16th c. in forms derived from Latin words with æ, and (this being the Latin symbolization of Greek *) Greek words in *; as ædify, æther. But this æ had only an etymological value, and whenever a word became thoroughly English, the æ or ae was changed into simple e as edify, ether. The æ or ae now remains, only (1) in Greek and Lat. proper names as in Æneas, Cæsar; even these, when familiar, often take e as Judea, Etna; (2) in words belonging to Roman or Gr. Antiquities as ædile, ægis; (3) in scientific or technical terms as ætiology, æstivation, phænogamous, Athenæum; these also when they become popularized take e, as phenomenon, Lyceum, museum, era. Æ initial is thus to be looked upon as an earlier spelling of E, and will here occur only (1) in EE. words that became obsolete, before changing to e, as æ law (OE. ǽ), æ river (OE. ); (2) in words directly adopted or formed from Latin and Greek which became obsolete before changing to e as ædituate; or have not changed to e because they indicate ancient things as ædile, ægis, or are technical as ægilops, ægrotant, ætiology. All other words will be found under their later form in E.

In many modern books the digraph æ is regularly resolved as ae; when this is done, dissyllabic ae ought to be printed : thus either ægis, aereal, or aegis, aëreal; but simple ae is often used in both.

As to pronunciation usage differs. The analogy of the language, the practice of orthoepists, and the alternate spelling with e, are in favour of æ being treated precisely like e in the same position. But there is a strong tendency with classical scholars (at variance with their practice as to other long L. and Gr. vowels) to make it long (i*) in all positions. This influences popular usage to some extent, so long as æ is written; as soon as e takes its place, natural English habits prevail: cf. æstivate, æstuary, estuary.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who could pass up this word?

Not I. At first I wondered if it had any connection to natto, that foul concoction, but further research seems to indicate that it does not. And, speaking of Scrabble words (as I was yesterday), this would make another great one.


a. The dark red edible beans of the annual leguminous plant Vigna angularis, cultivated in China and Japan; the plant itself. b. attrib. in adzuki bean.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It will serve.

A word of which I am fond for its uses in the game of Scrabble as well as its euphoniousness. The tool itself has always seemed rather a dangerous one, in my eyes. It seems like it would have a propensity to wound the wielder.

adz, adze

A carpenter's or cooper's tool, like an axe with the blade set at right angles to the handle and curving inwards towards it; used for cutting or slicing away the surface of wood.

. adze-like a.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Don't go there.

A great word; it appears to have been brought to English almost directly from Latin and possibly from Greek.


The innermost part of a temple; the secret shrine whence oracles were delivered; hence fig. A private or inner chamber, a sanctum.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This is not an official entry.

I guess. Sorta. It's listed as a draft entry, and I'm really only including because of the novelty of coming across a word that's been added (or proposed to be added, perhaps) as recently as June 2006. The word itself doesn't really strike my fancy in any way. It is, however, the first "computing" entry that I've noted.

adware, n.


1. With capital initial. A proprietary name for: software for use in the advertising industry.

2. Software that automatically displays or downloads advertising matter, often in the form of unwanted pop-up windows and banners when a user is online.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Another example.

I've pretty well promised to cite each example of this form when it occurs. I've gone ahead and used this one despite "advocatrice" and "advocatress" having been more common for consistency with the suffix and because, well, I like this word better. And it's my blog.


A female advocate. (See two prec.)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It has nothing to do with any of the words around it.

A word completely new to me and one that I did not expect to find here. A nice word, however, though I can't imagine that the concoction has a pleasant taste.


A Dutch liqueur made with eggs, sugar and brandy; also, a glass of this.


Blogger has been acting up quite a bit for me lately. Both here and on my other blog, I've been having trouble getting it to save the posts that I write and that has hampered my posting for the past few days. I think persistence has paid off, but I'd really rather things just worked the way they are supposed.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I hate this word.

Well, that's a bit strong. I don't have much against the word itself, mind, but I use it almost constantly in my employment and the familiarity has indeed bred contempt.

advised, ppl. a.

1. pple. Of persons: Having considered or pondered. to be advised: to consider, reflect, to act after consideration. Const. of. Obs.

2. Hence adj. (in sense of the older avisé, advisee) Deliberate, cautious, wary, judicious. Obs.

3. esp. with well or ill; both pple. as in 1, and adj. as in 2. Obs.

4. Of things: Considered, deliberate, intentional; hence well considered, judicious. (Fuller contrasts these senses.) ill-advised: injudicious.

5. Of persons: Purposed, determined. Cf. ADVISE 4. Obs.

6. Counselled. See ADVISE v. 9a, and d.

7. Informed, apprised, warned.

A fascinating digression.

I'm reading (and enjoying) James Bowman's Honor: A History, which is an interesting study of the evolution of honour and how it is and has been perceived by difference cultures. (A clichéd title format though; "Something: A Something Else" or "This and That: The Other Things" being very popular kinds of titles apparently with publishers. Do we really need subtitles for every non-fiction book?)

Anyway, in the course of making a point about the transition of the common meaning of the word "ambition", he departs on an interesting tangent about the meaning of another word. I quote the section here.

"It was in the nineteenth century that the ordinary meaning of the English word 'ambition' first began to be a positive one. The normal meaning in Shakespeare was that of the conspirators against Julius Caesar as they stood over his corpse and said, 'Ambition's debt is paid,' or of Cardinal Wolsey to Cromwell in Henry VIII when he said, "Fling away ambition: by that sin fell the angels." Chaucer's Ballade de Bon Conseyle advises the reader: 'That thee is seynt, receive in buxomnesse'—where buxomness means obedience. As a sidelight here, we might consider how it is that "buxom" makes the perilous transit from meaning 'obedient, compliant, submissive' (related to bow) to 'large-chested,' its only contemporary meaning. My guess is that the progression goes something like this: from obedient to obliging to pleasant or friendly to physically flexible to jolly and vivacious to well-favored to healthy to 'comfortable-looking' (OED) to well-endowed. But can it be entirely accident that the same word with two such distinct meanings is used to describe the feminine ideal, according to men anyway, in the Middle Ages and today?"

This is a great section. Not only is the main topic interesting, but he takes the time to explore a word that is really unrelated to his thesis simply because it was interesting. This is what an ill-bred copy-editor would cut if given half a chance, and would do the text a disservice by the excision.

Friday, October 05, 2007


A word whose negative counterpart precedes it by over 150 years. Odd. (And while we're looking at oddities, where does that phrase in the subject line above originate?)

advisably, adv.

In an advisable manner; expediently, prudently, wisely. [Not in TODD 1818, RICHARDSON 1836, CRAIG 1847. But unadvisably is found earlier: 1702 Lond. Gaz. mmmdcccxxii. 2 A Soldier..firing unadvisably upon a Centinel..those who were left behind..were alarmed.]

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Ahoy there!

A nautical term that has led to some other words which were then modified in meaning in an interesting way.


‘A boat employed to bring intelligence,’ J.; a dispatch-boat; called also shortly an advice. See ADVICE 8, 9, and ADVISO.

Baseball Trivia Time!

There have been 103 game-ending hits in the post-season since 1903. Notice (on the left upper corner of the chart) that 2 have been by the visiting team compared to the 101 by the home team. First question: How is that possible to have the visting team have a game-ending hit? Second (and harder) question: Who hit those hits?

Post season thoughts

It's a bit late to start making predictions for the divisional series (how much of a risk is it to guess the Rockies will manage to win another game?), but I do have predictions for the rest of the post-season.

D'backs v. Rockies: D'backs in 6

Indians v. Red Sox: Indians in 7

D'backs v. Indians: D'backs in 6

Hows about them predictions?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

"Pay attention to me, son."

"I'm not just talkin' to hear my head roar." A nice little word with fairly precise meaning and which would be useful in everyday conversation. Go forth and use this word!


The action or process of adverting or turning the attention to; observation, notice, heed, attention, consideration. Often passing into the habit or quality, which is properly expressed by ADVERTENCY.

Eh! Steve!

Yeah, you. Not him. What's your take on the iPhone price being slashed so soon and the new patch from Apple disabling phones that have been hacked to use a service other than AT&T?

Wasting time.

Is it a waste of time if I do something I intend to do, but not in the order that I think I ought to do it? That is to say, I had the inclination that I ought to use a bit of free time that I had to work on my blogs and get some things written down. Instead, I read my latest issue of The New Criterion. I did intend to read it, just not until after I had done some blogging. (And I haven't read the whole thing, just about half so far. And, as long as I'm off on a tangent, you really ought to read the article by Theodore Dalrymple about George Bernard Shaw. Great stuff.)

Where was I? Oh, yes. I don't think that the reading of The New Criterion is really a waste of time. It's an improving magazine and quite interesting, but it wasn't what I intended to do with that bit of time. Does it mean that I wasted the time? Only partially wasted it? I'm not sure.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A marvelous word

What a wonderful word. Sadly, with the advent of electronic technology (O! the irony!) such a word will likely disappear and lose its usefulness.

adversaria, n. pl.

A commonplace-book, a place in which to note things as they occur; collections of miscellaneous remarks or observations, = MISCELLANEA; also commentaries or notes on a text or writing.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Thrall is a dumb name.

Sometimes I find WoW to be clever, sometimes it is merely interesting. On rare occasions, it slips to being stupid. The subject of this post is an example. Not only did the designers of the game not bother to come up with a name for their Orc Warchief that was at least kinda cool sounding. Or, if you had to make it a word that is also a word in English, why not a word that didn't mean "slave"? Even if we're basing this on the back-story from Warcraft III, where Thrall leads his people (orcs?) out of their internment camps and his name is from his time as a "slave" to the stinky hu-mans, why doesn't he disavow the name and take a new one to commemorate his change of status?

And, now that I've driven away all but the most hard-core geeks...

My BE priest is now 51 after this weekend and I've got my gold total back up to about 1k after doing some more quests with my shaman and doing some good business in the Auction House. The Auctioneer mod is a great tool for getting the most out of your loot in WoW. I have mixed feelings about mods. Some, like Auctioneer, seem beneficial. It allows me to do something that I couldn't do on my own; it analyses prices and trends in the AH and allows me to set prices that are competitive and warns me about buying things that are over-priced. It's something that, theoretically, one could do for oneself, but it would be time-consuming to the point of ridiculousness. It allows one to do something that is clearly possible without a mod, but only feasible with a mod.

Others, like Gatherer, seem benign. This tool "remembers" places you have mined for ore or gathered herbs on your map and shows them to you when you get close to them so you can check and see if they are there again. It is also something that could be done without a mod, and would even be pretty feasible without a mod if you used a high-resolution paper map. But it obviously saves time to have it as a mod and makes the whole process a lot easier.

Other mods, primarily the ones for raids, seem to me to be overkill. There is no way that a human could go through a raid, doing his job and still watching the combat log closely enough to get stats on who is doing the most damage or healing the party most effectively. And if such mods are necessary components of raids, why didn't (doesn't) Blizzard include them with the game itself? Why design a game where the ability of players to successfully complete it depends upon their coding skills? That's not a game, that's making your paying customers do your work for you.

Respect the "-ish"

I'm glad that this suffix gets its due. Well, I'm gladish.

adventurish, a.

Somewhat connected with adventure, or with adventurism.