I have a problem with spoonerisms. A spoonerism is an error in speech where bits of words are transposed, most commonly the first syllable of each word in a pair. It can also be a deliberate play on words (a personal favourite of mine is "fustercluck") but my indulgence is usually by . . . (More)
Last week, my parents had me speak to my grandmother on the phone. It was awkward in several ways -- I only knew her from one visit my entire life, which was a decade ago; I'm already socially awkward by nature; and I don't speak Cantonese very well. Still, though I fumbled through a few . . . (More)
There's a popular legend that the V sign originated with English longbowmen at the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years' War. Because of the proficiency of English archers, the French threatened to cut off their bow fingers. When the English army prevailed (spoiler!), thei . . . (More)
It struck me today what a curious phrase "the Midas' touch" is. It means a natural (or preternatural) "ability to turn any business venture one is associated with into an extremely profitable one." (dictionary.com) It is interesting that the term is invariably meant to be positive; that . . . (More)
Want to play "Chinese Whispers"? Up until today, I wasn't aware that Chinese Whispers was an alternative name for the game known as Telephone. If you haven't heard of that, Telephone is a game where people line up and transmit a message between the first and last players via a series . . . (More)
I am very tired, so very tired, with the exclusive description of girlfriends as "beautiful." This custom seems to promote the idea that the singular quality of beauty can be an appropriate summary of a woman's merit ... even though it may be little more than a lucky boon of nature. God forbid . . . (More)
It saddened me to find that in a Wiki article's history the word "juxtaposition" was once removed, because it had, apparently, confused an editor. He complained that it was "jibberish [sic]" and that he could not read the article "clearly" until he had changed it into "something . . . (More)
In the midst of tacking together an essay on Fernand Léger, I wrote in a brief comparison to the female nudes by Renoir. As I reread a few paragraphs, I saw that the phrase "Renoir's nudes" was clearly making too many appearances, and without another thought, swiftly rewrote it into the more l . . . (More)
Define: inˇsult v. inˇsultˇed, inˇsultˇing, inˇsults Derived from Old French insulter, to assault, from Latin insultare, to leap at, insult, frequentative of insilire, to leap upon. 1. To treat with gross insensitivity, insolence, or contemptuous rudeness. See Synonyms at offend. 2. To a . . . (More)
In an ideal world, words would be kept like miniature jewels in tiny boxes of sandalwood or silvered glass, and one would take them out for the happiest and most celebratory of occasions, dances and commemorations, and wear them in one's hair or tucked in a turquoise sash ...
2. As "Americana" defines itself as artefacts of American culture, "Gloriana" consists of the artefacts of my culture.
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