Category Archives: Words words words
(aka If I’m going to keep taking all these photos, I may as well post them.)
I don’t know if it’s my mood or the age of development along certain roads, but sometimes I hit a strip of fabulous signs that has me pulling off on the side of the road over and over. Today from Furman to I-185 …
I think reading Jonathan Lethem is making me more word-conscious than ever. I’m collecting new ones, obsessively looking up etymologies of old ones, and, like the Tourettic narrator of Motherless Brooklyn, savoring the sonickiness of tasty treats.
Blustery. Speaking of sonicky. We had a blustery day on Saturday. The word brings to mind not only good ol’ Pooh bear, but the condition itself. That quick push of air with the first syllable quickly giving way to the sibilant center and rolling finish.
Soporific. Round and sleepy, that word. Impossible to say it quickly. Butler says he only this year discovered the soporific effects of turkey at Thanksgiving. But the word always makes me think about Miss Potters’ little bunnies, vulnerable after their lettuce to mean old Mr. McGregor.
Bomb. From children’s books to my children’s behavior … from Jeff J comes a new word for what Tom does to a room. The details in this story — a note “doodled” on toilet paper, the teacher who “blew it all out of proportion” — might obscure the moral lesson I hope my kids learn: Passing a bomb can be a punishable offense. Ode to the joy of flatulating in the library >
Appoggiatura. Just in time for Whitney’s weekend replays and Adele’s sweep of the Grammys, The Wall Street Journal explains the technical reasons some songs make us cry. And teaches me a new word I have no idea how to pronounce. A little lesson in music theory for the boys at The Church of the Morose One. And a great example of how multimedia can make for a better story.
Women of a certain age A friend hit 50 this weekend, which caused me to wonder just exactly what is “a certain age.” As always, Safire says it best.
Copralalic. Oh, what a beautiful word for pottymouth! Even better? Copralalia! It’s like singing shit instead of slinging it. This one is, in fact, courtesy of Lethem’s Lionell Essrog, who is only too aware of his affliction, long before something like “EAT ME MR. DICKYWEED!” makes it out of his mouth.
Turd. My children have discovered the word makes me giggle. And snort. Making it the newest weapon in their arsenal to disarm me when they’re in trouble. Note the sonic similarity to Tourettic.
It’s also the biggest search term for this bubble blog.
I have such a backlog of new words. Here are two from this week.
Tweaking, tweeking: So Friday night I was driving a vanload of high school kids through the “Open ’til 1 am” McDonald’s drivethrough. As we pulled toward the speaker, we saw a zombie staggering ahead of us, quite purposefully staying in the drivethrough lines. Around the corner he stumbled, and we pulled up to give our order — only to have the girl interrupt us and ask us to wait. We figured the zombie must have been at the window, and she confirmed this when she came back to complete our order. He was dragging off as we pulled around to the window. Imagine our surprise, when he turned and headed back to the window, to see that he wasn’t actually undead, as he appeared from behind. Just a really drunk white guy
“Or maybe he’s tweeking,” said the boy in the shotgun seat. Wait! what’s that mean? I insisted, and after some frantic hushing, I understood it to mean “in a state of having used marijuana.” An adjective, not a verb, as one would expect from the form? Yes, they confirmed, equivalent to the archaic, stone-age “stoned.”
Urban Dictionary, however, calls it all about meth, which makes more sense. Let’s hope this means our boys really don’t know nuthin bout no drug use yet.
Trolling: When I was a kid, this would have referred to what the SC State Patrolman was doing under that highway overpass, lying in wait for my dad to speed by. My mother said they lived under bridges, like the troll in the Three Billygoats Gruff. ‘trolman, get it?
In college, this would have been what our friend Bruce was doing in bars, trolling for some … dates, I suppose.
More recently, it’s what Jaffner does to piss people off online.
But my kids beg to differ. Trolling is what the GYSO boys say to me in the minivan that makes me not believe a word out of their mouths. They’ve burned me so many times I’ve quit responding at all. It’s when Tom and his pals set their not-so-smart classmates up for a fall. A prank, generally a verbal one, The Littles say. So definition 2 here at Urban Dictionary.
At one point some in a discussion about the word this weekend, a carload of kids refused to believe that trolls sing (I can’t remember how we got there), despite my insistence that they do so in The Hobbit. Here’s proof!