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Conversations with my friend Tom Chappell

Tom and I cycled together 3 or 4 times a week around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Our conversations spanned several 3-mile laps and breakfast.

2005 2004 2003 2002 2001
2002 December
Thu 12 synecdoche: (suh-NECK-duh-key) : 15th century
: a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (as fifty sail for fifty ships),
the whole for a part (as society for high society), the species for the genus
(as cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (as a creature for a man),
or the name of the material for the thing made (as boards for stage).
John had never met this delightful word, though Tom, smiling, said he had.

eft: NEWT; especially : the terrestrial phase of a predominantly aquatic newt
Karen was puzzled by this in her crossword.

2002 November
Tue 26 Interesting facts about miners learned on an underground tour at Sutter Gold Mine:
  • Miners are superstitious. A blasting hole whose charge fails to explode is not reused. If several charges in the same location fail, the location is ignored and routed around.
    (This might not be entirely superstition. Our miner guide: "if Mother Nature tells us not to dig there, we figure there's a reason, so we listen and go right around it.")
  • Early miners likened a tunnel to the belly of a beast. Today, the end of the tunnel is still called the face, the walls are called the ribs, and the roof is called the back.
  • Miners lose their peripheral vision after about 4 years of staring into their helmet lamp's light.
  • There's truth to the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves "whistle while you work" song! When TNT was used in mines, the nitro-glycerin in the TNT would seep through the paper into the hands of the blasting experts. Unchecked, this caused loss of motor control, an early sign of which was the inability to whistle. For protection, blasters were told to whistle all the while they were setting the charges. If the whistling stopped, the miners would hurry back down the tunnel to retrieve the poor blaster.
Mon 18 Reader and fellow pedant Ron Traver, who you'll remember recently introduced us to semordnilap, stumbled across another odd genre: the mondegreen.
From mondegreen central:
The term "mondegreen" was coined by Sylvia Wright in a 1954 Atlantic article. As a child, young Sylvia had listened to a folk song that included the lines "They had slain the Earl of Moray/And Lady Mondegreen." As is customary with misheard lyrics, she didn't realize her mistake for years. The song was not about the tragic fate of Lady Mondegreen, but rather, the continuing plight of the good earl: "They had slain the Earl of Moray/And laid him on the green."
Sun 3 eaves: : before 12th century
1 : the lower border of a roof that overhangs the wall
2 : a projecting edge (as of a hill)
Eaves is a noun plural. You cannot point a roof's corner and say "eave".
Well, you can, but you'd be wrong.
2002 October
Sat 26 gravamen: (gruh-VAY-men) : 1647
: the material or significant part of a grievance or complaint
Wall Street Journal editorial page, October 25, 2002:
"Is President Bush going to war with Iraq based on a false premise, or worse, a lie? That's quite a charge, yet it's the gravamen of what looks like an orchestrated campaign to suggest that it's crazy to believe that Saddam Hussein would ever join arms with al Queda."

tannoy: chiefly British: a public address system (after the Tannoy company, the leading maker of loudspeakers in the U.K.)

Sat 26

Voiceless Stop Insertion
When a nasal consonant (m, n, ng) comes before a voiceless fricative (f, theta, s, sh, h) [theta is the th sound that starts the word theta], then a voiceless stop with the same place of articulation may be inserted. Examples:

  • comfortcompfort (because p is the voiceless stop made at the same place as m)
  • dance, which should be pronounced "danse", becomes dants (because t is the voiceless stop made at the same place as n)
  • strengthstrengkth (k is the voiceless stop near ng)
..and one final example...
  • the bane of spelling tests, the amazing hamsterhampster

/h/ may be deleted in unstressed syllables:

  • He handed her his hatHe handed er is hat


Fri 11 remonstrate: (REM-mun-strayt, ri-MON-strayt)
Sat 5 calumny: 15th century (KA-lum-nee)
1 : a misrepresentation intended to blacken another's reputation
2 : the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to damage another's reputation
contumely: 14th century (kon-TOO-muh-lee)
: harsh language or treatment arising from haughtiness and contempt; also : an instance of such language or treatment
2002 September
Fri 27 saturnine: 15th century
1 : born under or influenced astrologically by the planet Saturn
2 a : cold and steady in mood : slow to act or change
   b : of a gloomy or surly disposition
   c : having a sardonic aspect <a saturnine smile>
coeval: circa 1662 : of the same or equal age, antiquity, or duration

Reader and fellow pedant Ron Traver introduced Tom and John to semordnilap.

A palindrome is a string of letters that reads the same backwards and forwards.
A semordnilap is a string of letters that reads differently backwards and forwards.

Palindrome Semordnilap
Madam, I'm Adam. stressed/dessert
A man, a plan, a canal: Panama! repaid/diaper
Was it a car or a cat I saw? deliver no evil/live on reviled

And semordnilap is nicely self-referential!

Sun 22 illustrative: (ill-LUS-truh-tiv, ILL-lus-tray-tiv)
jeremiad: (jer-ruh-MY-id) : Date: 1780
Etymology: French jérémiade, from Jérémie Jeremiah, from Late Latin Jeremias
: a prolonged lamentation or complaint; also : a cautionary or angry harangue
Sat 21 Languages multiply the power of words by combining roots with other roots, as well as with prefixes and suffixes (collectively, affixes), which modify the root in predictable ways, such as changing it to a plural, or from a verb to a noun, or modifying its meaning. Affixes can be inflectional (which serve an essentially grammatical function, and are quite old, and extremely attachable, or productive), or can be derivational, which may change the word's meaning and/or part of speech.

Suppose that arranging objects in diagonal lines became so popular that a new word was coined...

glab: To arrange objects in diagonal lines.

The Root:

  • I glab the objects. Verb
  • I like to glab things that are unusual or different. Verb

Let's start with a few important bound derivational affixes to create other parts of speech.

  • Yesterday, I made a glabbing of kittens. Noun
  • Unfortunately, after a short time, they were considerably less glabby. Adjective

Armed with those, we can check the productivity of the inflectional affixes:

  • His glabbings sold for millions. Plural
  • The glabbing's beauty amazed the members in the gallery. Possessive
  • He glabs every day religiously from 10 AM to 4 PM. 3rd Person Present Tense
  • These objects are a bit glabbier than that group over there. Comparative
  • Actually, these objects here are the glabbiest of all. Superlative
  • He glabbed quite often in the old days. Past Tense
  • He is in his study, glabbing. Present Participle.
  • He had glabbed the object into a near-perfect diagonal. Past Participle

Returning for some more bound derivational affixes:

  • I've heard that he's an enthusiastic glabber.
  • She always positioned the objects glabbily in her display case.
  • After the earthquake, all of the objects on the table came unglabbed.
  • Luckily, they're still glabbable.
  • This group here was misglabbed in the first place.
  • They're all going to have to be reglabbed.
  • I'm going to deglab my entire collection.
  • Oh, that's surprising; I would have said that it was underglabbed.
  • This is terrible—a more glabless bunch of objects I've never seen!
  • I get my Ph.D. in glabology this fall.

How many derivational affixes can we use in one word? Plenty!

  • As for this group here, I'm afraid that they may be unglabbable.
  • No no, their reglabbability is not in question.
  • To just glablessly toss things into a pile is completely insupportable!
  • The two boards, coming together around the objects, acted as glabbeners.

You can also combine glab with bound roots...

  • Everyone was doing it—it was a total glabfest.
  • When I saw those two boards, I realized that I could build a mechanical glabbot.

...or with free roots:

  • He's a complete glabfreak.

Thu 19 Karen and John pondered the differences between mist and fog.
mist: Date: before 12th century
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Middle Dutch mist mist, Greek omichlE
1 : water in the form of particles floating or falling in the atmosphere at or near the surface of the earth and approaching the form of rain
2 : something that obscures understanding <mists of antiquity>
3 : a film before the eyes
4 a : a cloud of small particles or objects suggestive of a mist
   b : a suspension of a finely divided liquid in a gas
   c : a fine spray
5 : a drink of liquor served over cracked ice

fog: Date: 1544
Etymology: probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish fog spray, shower
1 a : vapor condensed to fine particles of water suspended in the lower atmosphere that differs from cloud only in being near the ground
   b : a fine spray or a foam for fire fighting
2 : a murky condition of the atmosphere or a substance causing it
3 a : a state of confusion or bewilderment
   b : something that confuses or obscures <hid behind a fog of rhetoric>
4 : cloudiness or partial opacity in a developed photographic image caused by chemical action or stray radiation

Mon 16 Fellow pedant Chris Ravenscroft stumped Tom and John with hypothecate.
hypothecate: Date: 1681
: to pledge as security without delivery of title or possession
Sun 12 perforce: (per-FORCE) Date: 14th century
1 obsolete : by physical coercion
2 : by force of circumstances
Sun 8 interstices: (in-TER-stuh-seez)
1 a : a space that intervenes between things; especially : one between closely spaced things
   b : a gap or break in something generally continuous <the interstices of society> <passages of genuine literary merit in the interstices of the ludicrous... plots—Joyce Carol Oates>
2 : a short space of time between events
Mon 2  Both: 34:59 (Best casual time—3 laps)

Two fundamental formulas about the behavior of exponents are:

        n^a / n^b = n^(a-b)

        n^a * n^b = n^(a+b)

These can be used to prove the meaning of n^0, n^(-2), and n^(1/2):

n^a / n^a= n^(a-a)
1= n^0 [for non-zero n]

n^2 * n^(-2)= n^0
n^2 * n^(-2)= 1
n^(-2)= 1 / n^2
n^(1/2) * n^(1/2)= n^1
n^(1/2) * n^(1/2)= n
sqrt( n^(1/2) * n^(1/2) )= sqrt(n)
n^(1/2)= sqrt(n)


2002 August
Sat 31 Leaving dunderheads to flounder—Tom came up with this lovely phrase in conversation. The combination of leaves, heads, and flounder was striking. Tom immediately considered changing flounder to founder, but we agreed that the mental image of flounders flailing, heads thrashing in the water, strengthened the phrase's power considerably. Leaving and dunder may have also contributed to the impression: leaves flail in the wind, while dunder maps aurally to thunder, linking wind and water nicely.
Sun 25 Responses ranging from stilted to wilted:
    Nor do I.
    Neither do I.
    I don't either.
    Me, neither.
Wed 21 Product names which play up the normally downplayed:
    Jolt Cola
Tom and John: "Little Nicky" would also make an excellent cigarette name.
Fri 9 Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Mexico: (eeks-TAH-pa)/(see-whah-tah-NEH-ho), (Meh-hee-ko)
Date: today
Where John's gone for a week to research the distinctions between saber and conocer, pedir and preguntar. That these subtleties will be considered over margueritas and beach towels shall doubtless add to their enjoyment.

For the next week, all nuances of meaning will be savored, but not recorded.

Thu 8 Recognizing a pedant can be difficult. Sure, you hear someone work "punctilious" into a conversation, you have your suspicions, but "punctilious" might pop up in a business meeting with Swiss bankers, after all. Being certain is difficult. No, for definite identification you must remain alert for true telltale markers of pedantry. Discussing women, for example:

Non-Pedant Pedant
Curve-a-licious! Quelle zaftig!
Nice rack! Impressively bathycolpous! Latin, deep-bosomed
Nice ass! A callipygian dream!
Full caboose! Such steatopygous splendour!
What a babe! My pulchritudinous lovely!

Wed 7 tutorial: Date: 1923
1 : a class conducted by a tutor for one student or a small number of students
2 : a paper, book, film, or computer program that provides practical information about a specific subject
lesson: Date: 13th century
1 : a passage from sacred writings read in a service of worship
2 a : a piece of instruction b : a reading or exercise to be studied by a pupil c : a division of a course of instruction
3 a : something learned by study or experience <his years of travel had taught him valuable lessons> b : an instructive example c : REPRIMAND
bathos: Date: 1727
1 a : the sudden appearance of the commonplace in otherwise elevated matter or style b : ANTICLIMAX
2 : exceptional commonplaceness : TRITENESS
3 : insincere or overdone pathos : SENTIMENTALISM
Tue 6 stingy implies a marked lack of generosity <a stingy child, not given to sharing>
close suggests keeping a tight grip on one's money and possessions <folks who are very close when charity calls>
niggardly implies giving or spending the very smallest amount possible <the niggardly amount budgeted for the town library>
parsimonious suggests a frugality so extreme as to lead to stinginess <a parsimonious life-style notably lacking in luxuries>
penurious implies niggardliness that gives an appearance of actual poverty <the penurious eccentric bequeathed a fortune>
miserly suggests a sordid avariciousness and a morbid pleasure in hoarding <a miserly couple devoid of social conscience>
Mon 5 busker: Date: 1857
chiefly British : a person who entertains especially by playing music on the street

Early/middle 20th Century novels with a fine sense of time and place:
 Cannery Row, John Steinbeck
 Sweet Thursday, John Steinbeck
 Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson
 Appointment in Samarra, John O' Hara
 The Human Comedy, William Saroyan

Tom notes that Language Myths contributor Edward Carney attributes many odd spellings in English to a regularization known as constant spelling:
"Keeping a constant spelling may involve the use of so-called 'silent' letters. The [written] <g> does not represent [the phoneme] /g/ in sign, but it does in derived forms resignation, signal, signature, signify.  Similarly we have malign, malignant. Changing to [non-standard spelling] *<sine>, *<maline> would spoil the visual link. Should we keep the <w> of two because twenty, twin, between are remotely related? Should shepherd be re-spelt as *<sheppard>, a regularized spelling when used as a name?"

Reader and fellow pedant Chris Ravenscroft wrote in after reading the earlier reference to peruke to point out that one of the most famous brand of wigs sported by Lords in session is called 'Ravenscroft'.

Sun 4 Tom notes that the discussion of titles of nobility started with Lord and Lady.
From nobletitles.com:
In Britain all noble up to the rank of Marquess are styled "Lord X" whether of the feudal or parliamentary peerage, i.e.. the Baron of Mountgallen and the Marquess of Kingsfield are respectively called "Lord Mountgallen" and "Lord Kingsfield", their wives are addressed as "Lady Mountgallen", etc., they bear the designation "Right Honourable" before their names and are addressed as "Your Lordship". Dukes are always styled as "The Duke of _____" and addressed as "Your Grace". Lords of the Manor must use the article "of" in their titles to distinguish them from the nobility. For example, the owner of the manor of Bluebrook is styled "The Lord of Bluebrook" rather than "Lord Bluebrook".
Sat 3 Karen and John noticed that words beginning with "dw" are fun to say.
Words beginning with "dw" retain the Old-World air of their origins:
dwarf: Date: before 12th century. Middle English dwerg, dwerf, from Old English dweorg, dweorh; akin to Old High German twerg dwarf
dwell: Date: 13th century. Middle English, from Old English dwellan to go astray, hinder; akin to Old High German twellen to tarry
dwindle: Date: 1596. probably frequentative of dwine to waste away, from Middle English, from Old English dwInan; akin to Old Norse dvIna to pine away, deyja to die

"dw" words are rare, making even more delightful a recent coinage: dweeb.
Also fun to say.

Fri 2 An earl's wife is a countess. (Count is a Continental title.)
Other (more alliterative) combinations:
  • Duke and Duchess
  • Lord and Lady
  • Marquess and Marchioness (Marquis is a foreign spelling.)
  • Viscount and Viscountess (pronounced VYE-count)
  • Baron and Baroness
Tom notes these are all inherited titles, while knighthoods--Sir and Dame--are not.
Thu 1  Tom: 30:57 (New personal best—3 laps)
 John: 31:41 (New personal best—3 laps)
2002 July
Tue 30 chary: (CHAIR-ee)
Date: 15th century
1 archaic : DEAR, TREASURED
2 : discreetly cautious: as a : hesitant and vigilant about dangers and risks b : slow to grant, accept, or expend <a person very chary of compliments>
garrulous: (GAIR-ruh-lus)
Sun 28 hassock: Date: before 12th century
2 a : a cushion for kneeling <a church hassock>
b : a padded cushion or low stool that serves as a seat or leg rest
Tom quoted Larry Niven's Ringworld:
"...the Kzin dropped heavily onto an inflated hassock.  Under his weight it should have exploded like any lesser balloon.  Man's second-oldest enemy looked curious and ridiculous balanced on a hassock too small for him."
The Kzin stood up.
'He's right,' said Louis. 'Sit down, Speaker.  You don't stand to profit by murdering a Puppeteer.'
The Kzin sat down.  Again his hassock did not collapse.

Dim but humorous memories of light pulp science fiction:
 Keith Laumer: Retief series
 Harry Harrison: Early Stainless Steel Rat series

Entries for 2001 are now available on the 2001 page, also linked below.

Sat 27 height: (HYTE, HYTEth) The odd alternate pronunciation probably stems from the pre-12th century Middle English heighthe. It complements "width" nicely too.
polite: Date: 1501
1 a : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of advanced culture
b : marked by refined cultural interests and pursuits especially in arts and belles lettres
2 a : showing or characterized by correct social usage
b : marked by an appearance of consideration, tact, deference, or courtesy
c : marked by a lack of roughness or crudities <polite literature>
courteous: Date: 13th century
1 : marked by polished manners, gallantry, or ceremonial usage of a court
2 : marked by respect for and consideration of others
Fri 26 tirade: (TIE-raid, TIH-raid)
 The Philadelphia Story: Cary Grant played C. K. Dexter Haven
 Watership Down: Tom likes General Woundwort's blind bravado:
Tom: "General Woundwort was a large, fearless bunny, with one blind eye. He was constantly ridiculing his fellow warrior bunnies' fears, saying things such as, 'Don't be ridiculous! Stoats aren't dangerous!'

His last known words (spoken to rally his fleeing comrades-in-arms and uttered as he leapt to attack, alone, the enormous dog which one of our heroes had maneuvered to confront him), were, 'Come back, you fools! Dogs aren't dangerous!' He was never seen again."

Ferrets are entirely domesticated; they do not exist in the wild.
From Ferret Central:
Domestic pet ferrets, Mustela furo (sometimes called Mustela putorius furo), are not wild animals. They have been domesticated for a very long time, perhaps two or three thousand years. They're not equipped to survive for very long on their own; escaped pets suffer from dehydration, starvation and exposure, and usually don't survive more than a few days unless someone takes them in. Unlike cats and dogs, ferrets aren't even large enough to push over garbage cans and scavenge.

Wed 24 plenipotentiary: Date: circa 1656: a person and especially a diplomatic agent invested with full power to transact business
famulus: Date: 1837: a private secretary or attendant
New Oxford American Dictionary adds: "especially one working for a magician or scholar".
peruke: circa 1573 : WIG; specifically : one of a type popular from the 17th to the early 19th century

deplore: to dislike greatly and often with disgust or intolerance : DETEST
1 : to feel intense and often violent antipathy toward : LOATHE
2 obsolete : CURSE, DENOUNCE
1 : to look down on with contempt or aversion <despised the weak>
2 : to regard as negligible, worthless, or distasteful
loathe: to dislike greatly and often with disgust or intolerance : DETEST
1 : to feel intense and often violent antipathy toward : LOATHE
2 : obsolete : CURSE, DENOUNCE
Tom recalls that he once heard Tony Randall on Johnny Carson's talk show distinguish these four like this: " You deplore that which dismays you, you detest that which angers you, you despise that which is beneath you, and you loathe that which disgusts you."

sly: Date: 13th century
1 chiefly dialect a : wise in practical affairs b : displaying cleverness : INGENIOUS
2 a : clever in concealing one's aims or ends : FURTIVE <the sly fox>
b : lacking in straightforwardness and candor : DISSEMBLING <a sly scheme>
3 : lightly mischievous : ROGUISH <a sly jest>
cunning: Date: 14th century
1 : dexterous or crafty in the use of special resources (as skill or knowledge) or in attaining an end
2 : displaying keen insight <a cunning observation>
3 : characterized by wiliness and trickery <cunning schemes>
4 : prettily appealing : CUTE <a cunning little kitten>
crafty: Date: before 12th century
1 dialect chiefly British : SKILLFUL, CLEVER
2 a : adept in the use of subtlety and cunning
b : marked by subtlety and guile <a crafty scheme>
Crafty seems tactical, cunning more strategic.
Tom: "Crafty is hiding your favorite cereal to prevent others from finding it. Cunning is pouring that cereal into a second and disliked kind of cereal box."
John: "Crafty is hiding your candy stash. Cunning is maintaining two candy stashes, the second one easy to find to satisfy the curious."

Mon 22 commentator: Date: 14th century
use: Date: 13th century
utilize: Date: 1807: to make use of : turn to practical use or account
Why use utilize? It sounds awkward and can usually be replaced with the more euphonious use.
Wed 17 obelisk: (AH-be-lisk, OH-be-lisk)
hubris: source of envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, and sloth.
Fri 12  Derek's Bistro, Pasadena. Recommended.
Reader and fellow pedant David Norton corrected an earlier reference to A.E. Houseman's [sic], "Terrence, this is stupid stuff"[sic] with this wry observation:

"You would convey an even more persuasive impression of pedantry, in the positive sense, if you would spell the name of either the poem or the poet correctly."

Tue 9 callow: lacking adult sophistication : IMMATURE <callow youth>
paean: (PEE-un)
propensity: an often intense natural inclination or preference
proclivity: an inclination or predisposition toward something;
especially : a strong inherent inclination toward something objectionable
Sun 7 The "l" in "talk" is subtle: neither omitted (tock) nor emphasized (tall-k). It's just there.
Fri 5 What's the word for a word borrowed from another language?

Top 5 cooking smells: fresh bread, bacon, fried chicken, grilled steak, cinammon rolls
Top 5 beverage moments: first sip of coffee in the morning, first swig of cold beer on a hot day, steaming hot chocolate, freshly squeezed orange juice, cold milk

Four stunning photographs from Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Wed 3 BookCrossing.com — Leave a book in public to be found and read by others, who then pass it on. A sticker on the book tells readers how to document the book's passage on the Web site.
Mon 1 inure: (in-NEW-r, in-YUR)
2002 June
Sat 29 archetype: The adjectival form is archetypal, though archetypical is also used.
Thu 27 Pyrrhic victory - a victory so costly as to be ruinous. When Pyrrhus of Epirus defeated the Romans at Heraclea and Asculum in 281 BC, he said of his own devastating losses: "One more such victory and I am lost".

King Croesus of Lydia marshaled his troops on the frontier with Persia in 589 BC but held back his army until he consulted the Oracle at Delphi, who prophesied, "March, and you will destroy a great empire." Croesus marched, and the Oracle was correct; however, the empire destroyed was his own.

Tue 25 reverent: : expressing or characterized by reverence : WORSHIPFUL
1 : expressing or having a quality of reverence <reverential awe>
2 : inspiring reverence

If labels warned of fatality rates...
Canadian signs make it clear that elks can kill. Do people drive more cautiously in these areas? Probably. Perhaps those cute Kinder Eggs wouldn't be illegal in the U.S. if their labels made clear their danger.

Wed 19 Karen says reticent 3 is commonly used in Britain:
1 : inclined to be silent or uncommunicative in speech : RESERVED
2 : restrained in expression, presentation, or appearance
synonym see SILENT
: feeling or showing aversion, hesitation, or unwillingness
  also : having or assuming a specified role unwillingly <a reluctant hero>
synonym see DISINCLINED
Tue 18 fecund: (FEH-kund, FEE-kund)
 Defending Your Life (and French Rationalism)
 African Queen
 The Searchers
Mon 17 John says he's noticed people beginning sentences with "so" more frequently.
Some canonical uses have long been accepted, such as "So there I was minding my own business...", but recent use appears random. No hard data yet, but something to be watched.

So Tom says "to tuck into" is British rather than American; John disagrees.
tuck: 15th century Middle English
transitive senses
1 a : to pull up into a fold b : to make a tuck in
2 : to put into a snug often concealing or isolating place <cottage tucked away in the hill>
3 a : to push in the loose end of so as to hold tightly <tuck in your shirt>
  b : to cover by tucking in bedclothes—usually used with in
4 : EAT—usually used with away or in <tucked away a big lunch>
5 : to put into a tuck position
intransitive senses
1 : to draw together into tucks or folds
2 : to eat or drink heartily—usually used with into <tucked into their beer and pretzels>
3 : to fit snugly

Wed 12 sensuous:
1 a : of or relating to the senses or sensible objects b : producing or characterized by gratification of the senses : having strong sensory appeal
2 : characterized by sense impressions or imagery aimed at the senses
3 : highly susceptible to influence through the senses
1 : relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of appetite : FLESHLY
3 a : devoted to or preoccupied with the senses or appetites b : VOLUPTUOUS c : deficient in moral, spiritual, or intellectual interests : WORLDLY; especially : IRRELIGIOUS
Sat 8 A particular blend of intelligence, irreverent humor, and humanity:
     A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
     Sewer, Gas, and Electric, Matt Ruff
     Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
     The Princess Bride, William Goldman
     Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift
Tue 4  Tom: 32:07 (New recent best—3 laps)
 John: 32:19 (New personal best—3 laps)
Sun 2 wonk: nerd
excoriate: (ek-SCORE-ee-ate)
1 : to wear off the skin of : ABRADE
2 : to censure scathingly
1 : of, relating to, or written in a simplified form of the ancient Egyptian hieratic writing
2 : POPULAR 1 <demotic idiom>
3 : of or relating to the form of Modern Greek that is based on everyday speech
Sat 1 Reader and fellow pedant Paul Hopper wrote in to challenge
the spellings of "ad verecundiam" and "ad ignorantiam". He was right.
2002 May
Fri 31 freethinker:
Date: 1692
one that forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority;
especially : one who doubts or denies religious dogma
mores: noun plural (MORE-aze, MOE-raze, MORE-eeze)
Date: circa 1899
1 : the fixed morally binding customs of a particular group
2 : moral attitudes
Thu 30 dour: (DOO-er, DOW-er)
doer: (DOO-er) one that takes an active part <a thinker or a doer>
dower: (DOW-er)
1 : the part of or interest in the real estate of a deceased husband
     given by law to his widow during her life—compare CURTESY
2 : DOWRY 2, 3
dowager: (DOW-i-ger)
1 : a widow holding property or a title from her deceased husband
2 : a dignified elderly woman
Tue 28  Tom: 33:30 (New recent best—3 laps)
 John: 33:31 (New personal best—3 laps)
furor: (FYUR-or)
Sun 26 placate: (PLAY-cate, PLA-cate)
Inferential fallacies (from a class Tom attended recently):
  • Ad verecundiam—An appeal to false authority.
  • Ad baculum—A threat of force.
  • Ad ignorantiam—If it can not be proven false, it must be true.
  • Ad misericordiam—An appeal to pity.
  • Ad populum—An appeal to the masses.
  • Ad hominem—An attack against a person, as a proxy for an attack against his ideas.
  • Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc—B came after A, therefore A must have caused B.
  • Circular Reasoning—When one of your argument's grounds is also its conclusion.
  • Forced Dichotomy—Forcing the listener to choose between two unrealistically extreme positions.
  • Hasty Generalization (Converse Accident)—Generalizing about a group from a non-representative sample from that group.
  • Accident—Drawing conclusions about a part of a group based on qualities that are generally true of that group as a whole.
  • Non sequitur—It does not follow.
Wed 15 archetype:
1 : the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies : PROTOTYPE; also : a perfect example
2 : IDEA 1a
3 : an inherited idea or mode of thought in the psychology of C. G. Jung that is derived from the experience of the race and is present in the unconscious of the individual
1 : a plate cast from a printing surface
2 : something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially : a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment
Mon 13 systemic: of, relating to, or common to a system : as
a : affecting the body generally
b : supplying those parts of the body that receive blood through the aorta rather than through the pulmonary artery
c : of, relating to, or being a pesticide that as used is harmless to the plant or higher animal but when absorbed into its sap or bloodstream makes the entire organism toxic to pests (as an insect or fungus)
1 a : belonging or native to a particular people or country
b : characteristic of or prevalent in a particular field, area, or environment
2 : restricted or peculiar to a locality or region
Tue 7  Both: 36:12 (New recent best after cold weather—3 laps)

deleterious: (dell-uh-TEAR-ee-us) harmful often in a subtle or unexpected way
ineluctable: not to be avoided, changed, or resisted : INEVITABLE
difficult to comprehend : RECONDITE <the abstruse calculations of mathematicians>
1 a : not pointed or acute : BLUNT
  b (1) of an angle : exceeding 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees (2) : having an obtuse angle <an obtuse triangle>
  c of a leaf : rounded at the free end
2 a : lacking sharpness or quickness of sensibility or intellect : INSENSITIVE, STUPID
  b : difficult to comprehend : not clear or precise in thought or expression

2002 April
Tue 23 vapid: (VAH-pid, VAY-pid)
Tue 16 abecedarian: Date: 1665
1 a : of or relating to the alphabet b : alphabetically arranged
2002 March
Sun 31 Dale Rhymer encountered homunculus:
homunculus: Date: 1656
Etymology: Latin, diminutive of homin-, homo human being
1 : a little man : MANIKIN
2 : a miniature adult that in the theory of preformation is held to inhabit
the germ cell and to produce a mature individual merely by an increase in size
Sat 30 agnate: Date: 1534
Etymology: Latin agnatus, to be born in addition to, from ad- + nasci to be born
1 : a relative whose kinship is traceable exclusively through males
2 : a paternal kinsman

pabulum: Date: 1733
Etymology: Latin, food, fodder; akin to Latin pascere to feed
1 : FOOD; especially : a suspension or solution of nutrients in a state suitable for absorption
2 : intellectual sustenance
3 : something (as writing or speech) that is insipid, simplistic, or bland

Thu 28 Karen successfully defended second 3 this morning.
second: circa 1586, Latin secundare, from secundus second, favorable
1a: to give support or encouragement to : ASSIST
1b: to support (a fighting person or group) in combat : bring up reinforcements for
2a: to support or assist in contention or debate
2b: to endorse (a motion or a nomination) so that debate or voting may begin
3 /si-'känd/ chiefly British : to release (as a military officer) from a regularly assigned position for temporary duty with another unit or organization
Fri 22 fracas: FRAY-cuss, FRA-cuss, British 'fra-"kä
Tue 19  Both: 47:40 (New personal second best—4 laps) Finally getting warmer; it was only 46° this morning.

Etymology: from obsolete philander lover, philanderer, probably from the name Philander
1 : to make love to someone with whom marriage is impossible (as because of an existing marriage) or with no intention of proposing marriage
2 : to have many love affairs

The The American Heritage® Dictionary adds: From philander, lover, from Philander, former literary name for a lover, from Greek philandros, loving or fond of men : phil-, philo-, philo- + an

Fri 15 epistemology:
the study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge
especially with reference to its limits and validity
2002 February
Sun 24 lacuna (plural lacunae):
   1 : a blank space or a missing part : GAP
   2 : a small cavity, pit, or discontinuity in an anatomical structure
Mon 18 Sounds bad but isn't: pulchritude
Sounds nice but isn't: diarrhea
Fri 15 Going to hell in a handbasket, or in a handcart?
Mon 11 err: (AIR, also UR)
Fri 1 machination: (mack-i-NA-tion, also mash-i-NA-tion)
niche: (NICH, also NEESH)
2002 January
Wed 30 Time-critical foods:
  - multi-scoop ice-cream cones. ("They must be managed", says Tom.)
  - espresso
  - Any ice-on-a-stick dessert (Dilly Bar, fudgesicle, popsicle, etc.)   - 
Sat 26 Jean Svoboda notes that rubric 3: is used in the teaching profession to refer to standardized tests.
1 a : an authoritative rule; especially : a rule for conduct of a liturgical service b (1) : NAME, TITLE; specifically : the title of a statute (2) : something under which a thing is classed : CATEGORY c : an explanatory or introductory commentary : GLOSS; specifically : an editorial interpolation
2 : a heading of a part of a book or manuscript done or underlined in a color (as red) different from the rest
3 : an established rule, tradition, or custom
Sun 6 perseverate: continuation of something (as repetition of a word) usually to an exceptional degree or beyond a desired point
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