Sunday, December 5, 2004
in·e·luc·ta·ble not to be avoided, changed, or resisted : INEVITABLE
Wednesday, December 1, 2004
char·y (CHAIR-ee)
This came up last January, but reappeared today.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
in·tel·li·gent·sia (in-tel-li-JEN-sia, or in-tel-li-GHEN-sia)
Tom 1, John 0. John ventured (in-tel-li-HEN-sia).
Sunday, November 14, 2004
leg iron Tom said "legiron", John said "leg-iron". We were both wrong.
Friday, October 15, 2004
Tom: 34:49 (New recent best—3 laps)
John: 37:32 (New recent best—3 laps)
Sunday, October 3, 2004
con·cern·ing transitive senses
1 a : to relate to : be about <the novel concerns three soldiers>
    b : to bear on
2 : to have an influence on : INVOLVE; also : to be the business or affair of <the problem concerns us all>
3 : to be a care, trouble, or distress to <her ill health concerns me>
4 : ENGAGE, OCCUPY <he concerns himself with trivia>
intransitive senses, obsolete : to be of importance : MATTER

Tom and I debated whether concerning can legitimately be used in the sense,"I find that concerning." Tom said no, I said yes. It was my casual use of the term that prompted the debate.

Tom has a point: just because a verb can be used regularly doesn't mean it should be. That it can be almost guarantees it will be, but that doesn't make it standard usage, especially when better words—troubling, disturbing, alarming, worrying—already exist.

Sunday, August 22, 2004
sub·stan·tive (SUB-stan-tiv)
Tom was right. Someday perhaps I'll discover the source of my many mispronunciations, though I suspect they came from reading without hearing.
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Dale and I encountered a nice distinction of measurement:
1 a : to examine as to condition, situation, or value : APPRAISE
b : to query (someone) in order to collect data for the analysis of some aspect of a group or area
2 : to determine and delineate the form, extent, and position of (as a tract of land) by taking linear and angular measurements and by applying the principles of geometry and trigonometry
3 : to view or consider comprehensively
4 : INSPECT, SCRUTINIZE <he surveyed us in a lordly way -- Alan Harrington>
intransitive senses : to make a survey
as·say 1 : TRY, ATTEMPT
2 a : to analyze (as an ore) for one or more specific components
b : to judge the worth of : ESTIMATE
Sunday, June 13, 2004
das·n't Tom and Sean discovered the Random House Mavens' Word of the Day while seeking the origins of dasn't. New postings to the site stopped in late 2001, but the excellent archives are still available. From Tom's email:
"My grandmother on my mother's side was pretty darn old, and I was telling [my son] Sean about one time when she heard me sass my mother, when I was probably in the fourth grade, and she was just mortified: " dasn't speak like that to your mother, dasn't!"

Sean enjoyed the story, and marveled at the word. I said that it was probably a contraction of "dare not", and he said, "...but where does that 's' come from?" A quick Google led us to this very cool site.

Friday, June 11, 2004
re·sound (re-ZOUND, re-SOUND)
John agreed with Tom that the former sounds better, but the latter seems nonetheless effective for empassioned oratory.
(Dispassionately: "Smith, your project's been a reZounding failure.")
(Passionately: "Team, your hard work has achieved reSOUNDing success!")
cath·o·lic (KATH-lick, not kuh-THAW-lick)
When we debated this almost exactly a year ago, Tom was right then, too.
Thursday, June 3, 2004
com·mence·ment Tom earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science last week from California State University at Northridge. He started his degree work 30 years ago at Georgia Tech, but left school early to work.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
lau·da·num a tincture of opium and alcohol
Friday, May 14, 2004
in·ter·reg·num 1 : the time during which a throne is vacant between two successive reigns or regimes
2 : a period during which the normal functions of government or control are suspended
3 : a lapse or pause in a continuous series
Tuesday, May 4, 2004
Tom: 32:16 (New recent best—3 laps)
John: 33:51 (New recent best—3 laps)
Sunday, May 2, 2004
lu·thi·er (LOO-tee-uhr)
French, from luth lute (from Middle French lut)
: one who makes stringed musical instruments (as violins or guitars)
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
John: 38:17 (New recent best—3 laps)
Tom: 38:40 (New recent best—3 laps)
lu·cu·bra·tion (loo-kyu-BRAY-shun)
Etymology: ...from lucubrare to work by lamplight; akin to Latin luc-, lux
: laborious or intensive study; also : the product of such study -- usually used in plural
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
for·mi·cary An ant nest
related to formic acid, which ants and many others secrete
Sunday, April 11, 2004
pa·tron·age (PAT-ron-age, PAYT-ron-age)

We debated who originally said "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." It was Ralph Waldo Emerson, which neither of us knew or guessed. Tom also argued that it was "tiny minds" while John said it was "small minds". Both wrong again.

Friday, April 9, 2004
Tom and I pondered whether a consistent usage rule exists for negating a word with dis-, un- or non-. The pondering began when I said "uninclined" and Tom pounced gleefully.
Monday, April 5, 2004
ol·i·gop·o·ly (ah-li-GAWP-oly)
A market condition in which sellers are so few that the actions of any one of them will materially affect price and have a measurable impact on competitors.
Sunday, April 4, 2004
as·suage (uh-SWAYJ, uh-SWAIZH)
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Biking update: Tom and I are now biking regularly again after a period of fits and starts. This morning's ride was easily the best we've achieved in a long while, but still far below our fastest times on August 1, 2002. We used to say "any ride under thirty-eight minutes is a good ride". Soon we shall say this again.

John: 38:55 (New recent best—3 laps)
Tom: 39:05 (New recent best—3 laps)
Paper is manufactured in four grades: cover, text, writing, and bond.

Cover paper is used for folders, booklet covers, brochures and pamphlets. It is heavyweight paper with good folding characteristics and can be coated or uncoated.

Text paper is used for archival-quality books. It is uncoated and made in a wide variety of colors and textures. Text paper is usually made with a matching or coordinating cover.

Writing paper is designed for letterheads, corporate identity programs, and office copiers. It is a lower grade suitable for pen and ink, pencil, laser printing or offset printing.

Bond paper—also called copy or digital paper—is intended for short runs and quick turnarounds. It is the cheapest and most disposable of the grades.

These grades overlap. Both writing and bond papers are suitable for copy machines, for instance.

A particular brand of paper is usually available in all four grades at varying weights. Two nice examples are Monadnock Dulcet and Mohawk Superfine

Sunday, March 7, 2004
om·buds·man 1 : a government official (as in Sweden or New Zealand) appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials
2 : one that investigates reported complaints (as from students or consumers), reports findings, and helps to achieve equitable settlements
Friday, March 5, 2004
bowd·ler·ize (BODE-ler-ize, BOUD-ler-ize)
Sunday, February 29, 2004
fecund (FEH-cund, FEE-cund)
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
chary (CHAIR-ee)
Sinéad O’Connor’s first name is pronounced (shuh-NAYD)
Friday, January 22, 2004
Two words of unknown origin popped up this morning in conversation over coffee.
    • Is lam ever used outside of on the lam?
    • Is shenanigans ever used in the singular?
lam origin unknown
sudden or hurried flight especially from the law <on the lam>
she·nan·i·gan origin unknown
1 : a devious trick used especially for an underhand purpose
2 a: tricky or questionable practices or conduct — usually used in plural
b : high-spirited or mischievous activity — usually used in plural
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