Sound and Fury

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Some words

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Here, for your delectation is a post entirely free from bitching and moaning.

The English language is full of wonderful words. Try and use as many of these words in conversation in the next week.

  • Stentorian
  • Bellicose
  • Avuncular
  • Phlegmatic
  • Loquacious
  • Defunct
  • Zest
  • Facsimile
  • Palimpest
  • Gusto
  • Whim
  • Feral
  • Simulacrum
  • Verisimilitude
  • Daedalian
  • Crenellated
  • Banjaxed
  • Absquatulate
  • Shenanigans
  • Ragamuffin
  • Tomfoolery
  • Rascal

Some words are harder than others to drop into a normal conversation. How would you ever get to say “crenellated” unless the topic of castles actually came up? Others are easier. Rather than just leaving a pub, you could absquatulate from it. Tomfoolery is appropriate in almost any context…

Written by Seamus

August 5, 2008 at 10:37 pm

Posted in new words, random

Tagged with ,

More spreadsheet action

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I have added plenty more people to my list of births and deaths spreadsheet to reflect my new-found interest in the Copernican Revolution. I also added the odd mathematician, some philosophers of science and quite a few early quantum physicists. I have another spreadsheet of important or relevant dates, but it only has a couple of entries so far…

I still haven’t found a good way of representing this information as a timeline. It seems such a simple idea: taking a spreadsheet of dates and building a timeline from it. I’m surprised I haven’t been able to find any programs that do it. Any help would still be appreciated.

I’m normally insistent on using British English spellings. Axe not Ax. Utilise not Utilize. And so on. But I have no trouble writing “program” to mean a computer program. But I’d still insist on writing “television programme.”  I think this is something I picked up from David Miller last year. He made the same point at some stage in his notes for his Symbolic Logic course. Are we witnessing the birth of a new word, a splitting off from an old word? Some cross-pollination back across the Atlantic? If this is more than just me and my logic lecturer, I think it is an interesting linguistic quirk…

Written by Seamus

March 6, 2008 at 3:37 pm

North, Pestilence, Winter and Ringo!

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The English language needs some new words. I would like to propose the word ”schlurple” to mean the way you sip tea or coffee when it is too hot to drink normally. Another drinking related action that needs a word is the gulp you take off the top of a drink so you don’t spill it when carrying it to somewhere else. (Maybe ”sklep”?) This is distinct from the sip you take from a drink on a table without lifting it up because it is full to the brim.

Another thing that needs a word will take a little more explaining. When you have a certain number of somethings that need a name (be they harddrives, potted plants, whatever else you feel like naming) and you name them each after one of something else that had that number of things. An example or two will illuminate;

  • When you have 2 of something and call them ”Bonnie” and ”Clyde” or ”Bill” and ”Ben” or ”Bert” and ”Ernie”
  • When you have three of something and name them ”Athos, Porthos and Aramis”
  • Four of something could be named ”John, Paul, George and Ringo”, ”North, South, East and West” and so on

There’s the seven deadly sins, four horsemen of the apocalypse… Countless examples of sets of names associated with a number. Surely there should be a word to describe the act of naming things after a set of things like this? A more exhaustive list of sets like this will probably follow, as I think of more ways to avoid work…

And what about ”Yoko Ono” or ”D’Artagnan”? Associated with, but not part of the set… These kinds of outsiders deserve a word too.

I will single handedly change the face of the English language! Watch this space.

Written by Seamus

December 1, 2007 at 3:15 pm

Posted in new words