middlesmith commented on the word Inchmaree
Etymology: after Inchmaree, a British steamer whose 1884 sinking in Liverpool harbor resulted in its formulation
: a clause in a marine insurance policy that covers damage or loss caused by the negligence of a vessel's own captain or crew or by any defect in the ship's hull or machinery
January 8, 2010
middlesmith commented on the word nopaycation
Enforced furlough. Like a vacation, but without pay. Laid aside rather than laid off.
August 7, 2009
middlesmith commented on the word spandrel
See "The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme," Gould and Lewontin, available here.
July 15, 2009
middlesmith commented on the word dracula sneeze
If you say "bless you," does he burst into flame?
June 2, 2009
middlesmith commented on the word fracking
Hydraulic fracturing, a method of natural gas mining that (who knew?) damages water tables. Also good for making baby Cylons.
May 28, 2009
middlesmith commented on the word liaise
Sometimes only an a numbat will do.
middlesmith commented on the word stielhandgranate
Thanks, that makes more sense. Not as fun for the Saxons, though.
Vile. Liaise me and I will surveil your ass for a kicking-spot.
middlesmith commented on the word cognizant
I tell my dunderhead colleagues to use Germanic equivalents of these Latin guckwords. They never invite me to happy hour.
middlesmith commented on the word bleeding edge
More than leading edge. More than cutting edge. Our system is so advanced it may cause severe lacerations.
middlesmith commented on the word hoyden
This word is best spoken in a Jerry Lewis voice.
middlesmith commented on the word foolscap
Fascinating. I seem to remember examining an eighteenth-century book with a foolscap watermark. If the Rump Parliament ended (I reckon) around 1660 and took the foolscap mark with it, I guess I'm misremembering. Does anyone know whether paper makers kept using the watermark unofficially into the 1700's?
WWII. He was an artilleryman all over Europe, which is all he's ever really told me about it. Everything else I've had to infer from the war junk box. Looking up this word made me realize what that thing really was.
May 27, 2009
I've learned potato masher-as-grenade since then, but at the time I'd had plenty of experience with an actual wooden-handled potato masher (thanks to grandma). I don't think I wondered what a potato masher was doing in a box with medals, patches, knives, and such. Grandpa is an old pro at deflecting questions about the war, so I'm sure that's how he wanted it.
middlesmith commented on the word ironlisp
A metal band now touring with Deathstütter.
I looked this up and had two revelations:
Grenade comes from the same root as pomegranate, which means you could translate this as "steel-seeded apple," which is something Byrhtnoth could have used against the Vikings.
When I was nine and looking through some of my grandfather's "war junk," I held up a stick and asked what it was. "Handle from a potato masher." Boring enough that I never thought about it again. He had a bad war.
middlesmith commented on the word bonfire
I love this word. I won a $10 bet with a guy who thought it meant "good fire."
middlesmith commented on the word throughput
Universities have begun using this word to describe a department's number of grads. At my old school, the philosophy department is suffering from low throughput and may get axed.
May 26, 2009
middlesmith commented on the word tchotchke
My cousin Joanie loves tchotchkes.
May 23, 2009
middlesmith commented on the word scrip
You can't have a complete discussion of Appalachian music or labor without this word. Here is a very brief history of coal company scrip with some very cool photos of bi-metal scrip coins.
middlesmith commented on the list letters
Great list. Takes me back to my spell-check crisis during a Beowulf seminar.
middlesmith commented on the list words-i-needed-at-the-time
Thanks chained_bear -- getting the hang of it. Plus I'm medicated.
middlesmith commented on the word punkle
Used to describe my nephew's younger, cooler uncles from his mother's side, with their video games and electric guitars.
middlesmith commented on the word whunch
A basis for action more substantial than a whim but without the decisiveness of a hunch.
middlesmith commented on the word machediting
Process used for reducing a fifty-page document to ten pages three hours before deadline.
middlesmith commented on the word brand equity
Branding, as a marketing approach, seeks to eliminate critical thought among potential consumers. If you do it well, you get brand equity, the measure of how well your branding investment is paying off in consumer zombification.
As a proposal writer, I'm supposed to adhere to the precise phrases and imagery that the company's product managers have developed carefully and expensively with consultants. Never mind who my audience is or the objectives it has specified in the RFP.
The writer pursuing brand equity is encouraged to abandon persuasion, rhetoric, and creativity in favor of an approach designed for cattle. Yeah, it bugs me.
May 22, 2009
middlesmith commented on the word architected
"Our system is architected to meet or exceed your needs."
A noun verbed then used in passive voice. Kills me every time I see it.
middlesmith commented on the word its'
When I saw this word recently in a business document, I had to put my head on my desk and breathe deeply.
It triggered my allergies for apostrophe abuse and its/it's carelessness all at once.
The person who used it pulls a six figure salary.
middlesmith commented on the word incent
I actually hate this verb more than I hate incentivize.
middlesmith commented on the word moving forward
This is how business-speak refers to the future without committing to it. I expect it to replace "til death do us part" in weddings before long.
middlesmith commented on the word on the same sheet of music
This phrase seems to be replacing on the same page in my company's conference calls. It certainly sounds more elegant, but conference call cliches are unpolishable turds.
middlesmith commented on the list cringeworthy-words-and-phrases-encountered-as-a-corporate-writer-editor
There are so many verbed nouns (and nouned verbs) in widespread use that we hardly notice them anymore. Architected and others I find in business communication give me a wallop every time. Does anyone know some similar offenders?
Wordnik is fiscally sponsored by Planetwork NGO, Inc,a California 501(c) (3) non-profit educational organization, EIN #94-3366969.