Category Archives: Wednesday Word

Evil Little Goat

A recent Italian film has furnished us a perfect Wednesday Word: chimera. La Chimera, written and directed by Alice Rohrwacher, stars Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles in The Crown) as a thief who, with fellow gang members, raids Etruscan tombs and … Continue reading

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Are You Tanked Up?

Cleveland lies in the path of the April 8th solar eclipse, and everyone’s a-twitter, including Twitter. The Guardians’ home opener also happens today, and the big women’s college basketball championship games were here in Cleveland this weekend. Traffic will be … Continue reading

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That’s an Order!

Mandamus is one of those legal terms being bandied about these days. It’s a court order that commands an official to do his or her duty or forbids him or her from doing something he or she shouldn’t be doing. … Continue reading

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Parapros . . .What??

I never encountered paraprosdokian before, but I liked it as soon as we met. David Bordwell introduced us, by way of his 2016 book, The Rhapsodes: How 1940s Critics Changed American Film Culture. Bordwell, one of my husband’s favorite critics, … Continue reading

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The Horseless Dashboard

The term dashboard dates from the 1840s or so. What? you exclaim. There were no cars in the 1840s! How could there have been dashboards? You’re right about cars, of course. Karl Benz developed the first car in Germany, acquiring … Continue reading

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Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis*

Ustekinumab? Ixabepilone? RimabotulinumtoxinB? Weird words, indeed, but (even more weirdly) you can probably guess that these are medications. We’ve become accustomed to the unpronounceable alphabetic mishmashes that name our pills. Who concocts these words, and how do they do it? … Continue reading

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Spoiler Alert

Working on Thursday’s New York Times Connections puzzle, I stared at the word suede long and hard, wondering what it had to do with broil, watch, blur, timer, hourglass, or any of the ten other words it supposedly might connect … Continue reading

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More Nonsense Words

Writing last week about YouTuber Dana K. White’s dololly and other weird words, I intended to move on to whomper-jawed, Dana’s adjective for a rickety bookshelf she was getting rid of. But I forgot and moved on instead to thingamajigs … Continue reading

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Gizmos and Thingamabobs

When my book group was leaving my house the other night, I offered, with a smile, to get them their wraps. When they noted that quaint locution, I recalled my fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Bender suggesting we put on our wraps … Continue reading

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An Absolute Pleasure

The Latin verb solvere, like English’s to put or to take lends itself to multitudinous idioms. It can mean “to untie,” “to release,” “to unbind,” “to loosen what restricts,” “to throw off,” “to pay,” and on and on. The word’s … Continue reading

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