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Momma's Word of the Day (check first post every day!)

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Ok so since I know nothing about technology, I don't usually have a whole lot to say on this forum, but I figure since I am going to be a teacher, I should try to enrich your minds. Everyday I will post a word of the day, give you a definition, a little history of it, and then use it in a sentence. After that I want you all to post what the word means to you or use it in a sentence or something, JUST STAY ON TOPIC! Man I already sound like a school teacher. Anyways here is our word of the day:




263.July 23rd, 2007co·la, n.-A carbonated soft drink containing an extract of the cola nut and other flavorings.


-This word originated in Sierra Leone


The most intensely marketed beverage in the world comes not from Atlanta but from Africa. Or at least its family name does.


It's a real nut. The cola nut, that is, the white, pink, or purple seed of a tree found in the rain forests of western Africa. The tree grows twenty-five to fifty feet tall and produces crops of fleshy "nuts" once or twice a year for fifty years or more. You harvest the nuts before they are ripe, splitting the seed pod and removing the nuts, three to six in each pod. Toss the nuts in a pile and allow them to ferment for five days before storing them. You can enjoy the nuts without further treatment just by chewing them, or you can send them off to be made into a patented drink.


In Africa, and originally when imported to America, cola was known for its medicinal properties. Its caffeine, kolanin, and theobromin make it a treatment for headaches, motion sickness, diarrhea, mental fatigue, and depression. In the nineteenth century (we've had the word since 1795) it was also said to cure pneumonia and typhoid fever. Cola nuts have more caffeine than coffee beans, but most cola drinks have less than coffee.


The name cola is widespread in the languages of West Africa. It might be from the Malinke language of Senegal and Gambia, but it could just as well be from the language we designate here, Temne, a Niger-Congo language of the Atlantic-Congo and Temne-Banta branches. Temne is spoken by more than a million people, about 30 percent of the population of Sierra Leone. No other words from Temne seem to have made their way into English.


-Major brands of cola include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Virgin Cola, Royal Crown and various local producers. Among colas, German brand Afri-Cola had a higher caffeine content (about 250 mg/L) until the product was relaunched with a new formulation in 1999, and has it again since a second relaunch with the original formulation in April 2006 . Thums Up is a popular cola brand in India. Inca Kola is another brand that is marketed in many countries by the Coca Cola group; it is the major cola in some South American countries. Since Coca-Cola and Pepsi were perceived in many countries as symbols of the American power and culture, many communist and anti-American countries created their own national versions of the cola drinks.[citation needed] Star cola is a brand from Gaza-Palestine. tuKola and Tropicola are brands from Cuba; the former is also sold in Italy. Cuba Cola on the other hand is the native cola of Sweden. There is also an open source recipe for a cola drink, OpenCola.


Being carbonated, colas are acidic (carbonic acid is formed when carbon dioxide dissolves in water), and so can react violently with basic chemicals, such as baking soda. Many colas also contain phosphoric acid and/or citric acid, which further increases the acidity. Mentos and many crystalline powders such as sugar and salt cause fizzing by providing many micronucleation points for the carbon dioxide to leave solution. Dry ice provides additional carbon dioxide and can force some of the carbon dioxide present in the drink out of solution. Mixing these substances with cola (or any other carbonated drink) causes the drink to bubble, creating foam and greatly increasing the pressure in the bottle, resulting in either the bottle or the cap giving way.


262.July 22nd, 2007be·lit·tle, v.-1. To represent or speak of as contemptibly small or unimportant; disparage: a person who belittled our efforts to do the job right.


2. To cause to seem less than another or little


-Synonyms: decry, denigrate, deprecate, depreciate, derogate, detract, discount, disparage, downgrade, minimize, run down, slight, talk down


-Antonyms: build up, exaggerate, praise, value


-Origin: 1782


In our infancy as a nation, to balance our sense of grandeur and moral superiority, we had a little bit of an inferiority complex. We lacked the corruption of the Old World, but also its sophistication. We were country cousins at the courts of Europe. But at least we had our grand spectacles of nature: forests and mountains, lakes and waterfalls, teeming herds and flocks of animals stranger and more numerous than any seen in the worn-out continents on the other side of the ocean.


Or did we? Our sense of American pride was especially stung by a condescending European notion that even our wildlife was inferior. Thomas Jefferson could not let this insult pass unchallenged. "So far the Count de Buffon has carried this new theory of the tendency of nature to belittle her productions on this side the Atlantic," Jefferson wrote in 1782 in his Notes on the State of Virginia. Jefferson then replied to the buffoonish count, expounding for many pages on the grandness of American animals, noting in particular the enormous bones of the mammoth, so much bigger than those of any Old World elephant. (In 1802 the Mammoth would come to life in the American vocabulary in a new way, thanks also to Jefferson.)


For this defense, Jefferson himself was belittled--because of his use of the very word belittle. Jefferson, apparently, was the inventor of belittle, and Notes was its first appearance in print. The European Magazine and London Review denounced the word so strongly that decades later American commentators on American English still claimed that nobody but Jefferson used it. They were wrong, however. Belittle had become an unobjectionable word on both sides of the Atlantic before the nineteenth century was half over. Today nobody belittles belittle.


261.July 21st, 2007bil·dungs·ro·man, N.-A novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character.


-When in Rome do like the Romans. When reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, prepare for a bildungsroman:


"In addition to being a bildungsroman, of course, the Harry Potter books are also detective stories, quest narratives, moral fables, boarding school tales and action-adventure thrill rides, and Ms. Rowling uses her tireless gift for invention to thread these genres together..."


Link: Harry Potter Works His Magic Again in a Far Darker Tale


Posted July 18, 2005.


-The term (‘formation‐novel’) comes from Germany, where Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (1795–6) set the pattern for later Bildungsromane. Many outstanding novels of the 19th and early 20th centuries follow this pattern of personal growth: Dickens's David Copperfield (1849–50), for example. When the novel describes the formation of a young artist, as in Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), it may also be called a Künstlerroman.


260.July 20th, 2007ar·se·nic, n. or adj.- 1. Symbol As) A highly poisonous metallic element having three allotropic forms, yellow, black, and gray, of which the brittle, crystalline gray is the most common. Arsenic and its compounds are used in insecticides, weed killers, solid-state doping agents, and various alloys. Atomic number 33; atomic weight 74.922; valence 3, 5. Gray arsenic melts at 817°C (at 28 atm pressure), sublimes at 613°C, and has a specific gravity of 5.73.


2. Arsenic trioxide.




Of or containing arsenic, especially with valence 5.


-This word originated in Turkey


As an element of the English language, arsenic made a modest debut in about the year 1386. It was a minor ingredient of a lesser-known story by a major author, Geoffrey Chaucer. In the Canon's Yeoman's tale, one of the last of the Canterbury Tales, the apprentice of a fugitive alchemist describes his master's laboratory. After inventorying the "vessels made of earth and glass" and other equipment used by the alchemist, the Canon's Yeoman lists his chemical supplies, including "waters rubifying, bull's gall, arsenic, sal ammoniac, and brimstone."


The arsenic mentioned by the Canon's Yeoman was probably what chemists nowadays call arsenic trisulphide, a bright yellow substance used as a pigment and for tanning. There was also the highly poisonous white arsenic or arsenic trioxide, mentioned in English as early as 1605. This is the arsenic used by murderers like the Brooklyn ladies in the Broadway play and 1944 Cary Grant movie Arsenic and Old Lace. White arsenic is slightly sweet, so the ladies masked its flavor in blackberry wine. Arsenic is not a wise choice if you wish to conceal poisoning, because it leaves traces that remain in the body of the victim for years. One mark of slow arsenic poisoning is "Mees' lines," white transverse lines on the fingernails.


In small amounts, though, white arsenic is said to be good for you; it stimulates the production of red blood cells. Once taken as a nutritional supplement in Alpine countries, it supposedly gave people ruddy complexions and increased their ability to work.


There is also just plain arsenic, which smells like garlic when it evaporates. As is the symbol for this semi-metallic element arsenic, No. 33 in the periodic table.


Linguistically, arsenic has a compound history too. English got the name from French; French got it from Latin; Latin got it from Greek. Greek seems to have taken it from Syriac zarnika, and though this word evidently goes back to Middle Persian and Old Iranian, Syriac is the oldest attested form.


Syriac is a language that became extinct a thousand years ago, although it is still used as a literary language by followers of the Syrian Orthodox and Syrian Catholic churches. It was spoken in a corner of present-day Turkey as well as Iraq and Syria. The alchemical name for mercury, azoth (1477), also traces itself back to Syriac. That language may also be the source, via Hebrew and German, for schwa (1895), the name given by linguists to an unstressed vowel, symbolized by an upside-down e.



259.July 19th, 2007T-shirt, n- 1. A short-sleeved, collarless undershirt.


2. An outer shirt of a design similar to the T-shirt.


-Origin: 1919


The walking advertisement of late twentieth-century American culture got its start as a humble item of men's underwear and got its name because when spread flat it formed a stubby letter T. Its little sleeves and round collar distinguished the T-shirt from the standard sleeveless undershirt of the day. The sleeves may also have helped bring the T-shirt out of hiding in the 1930s and 1940s, since they offered a gesture toward modesty as well as a cache for a pack of cigarettes.


Once they were on view, T-shirts became canvasses for images and messages. In addition to basic white, they soon came in all shades; and equally important, they displayed first the emblems of schools and teams, and then every design or slogan imaginable. Today a public event is hardly complete without its accompanying T-shirt. Cold weather doesn't slow us down; we just cover the T-shirt with a sweatshirt, a 1925 American invention.


Though it must have been around at least a year earlier (hence our 1919 date), we first read of the T-shirt in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1920 This Side of Paradise. In the novel, a wealthy, self-absorbed 15-year-old boy from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, heads off to prep school in Connecticut with a wardrobe including "six suits summer underwear, six suits winter underwear, one sweater or T shirt, one jersey...." Exciting words of the Roaring Twenties--Flapper (1915), sheik, cat's pajamas--have faded into history, but the two informal garments we began to wear in those times, the T-shirt and the sweatshirt, hang in our vocabulary more prominently than ever.


-In the 19th century, the idea of underwear developed, which had not been common before. At some point near the turn of the century, the underwear shirt was developed; the shirt was always a part of clothing since ancient Egypt, though it slowly became more and more popular. Hence there have been many garments that resemble the T-shirt, Though the general trend supported the possibility of less clothing, which prudent morale had forbidden until the 19th century. The origin of the T-Shirt is obscure — claims reach at least from California to Britain, and from 1913 to 1948, and it was most likely a slow development during that time.


Most research mentions this possibility that the idea of the T-shirt came to the United States during World War I when US soldiers noticed the light cotton undershirts European soldiers were using while the US soldiers sweated in their wool uniforms. Since they were so much more comfortable they quickly became popular among the Americans, and because of their design they got the name T-shirt. Other experts credit the U.S. Navy's "light undershirt" from 1913, described with "elastic collarette on the neck opening, called "crew neck". The Los Angeles Times claimed in 2006 that the Navy shirt as described in 1913's regulations state that the "light undershirt" was different from what is commonly worn today, with the Navy's version boasting an "elastic collarette on the neck opening" and other odd features.


258.July 18th, 2007Sas·quatch, n.-Another name for Bigfoot, the mysterious humanoid crea-ture reported to inhabit remote areas of North America.


-This word originated in Canada


In southwestern British Columbia, on southern Vancouver and nearby islands, live some five hundred speakers of Halkomelem, a Central Salish language in the Salish language family. And there is also said to be, somewhere in the mountains and woods known to the Halkomelem, a creature called in their language Sasquatch, or "hairy man."


As English-speaking enthusiasts have translated and embellished the legend for us, the Sasquatch is distinguished by more than an unusually hairy body. Modern authorities assure us that the Sasquatch is nearly human in appearance but tall as a professional basketball player, strong as a professional wrestler, nocturnal as a professional Vegas gambler, and solitary as a hermit. It eats anything that comes its way, animal or vegetable, but it doesn't go hunting. It can swim like a fish. And it can't speak, so if found it's unlikely to be interviewed on a television talk show.


Not that these authorities have actually seen a Sasquatch. But they have heard stories and reports of sightings, and they have made expeditions to the wilds of the Pacific Northwest in search of one. So far it has been as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster.


The name Sasquatch made its English-language appearance in an article in the Canadian magazine Maclean's in 1929. Since then it has spread far beyond the Halkomelem, so that today it is often used as the generic name for the "bigfoot" of North America. Around the world, other names for elusive wild men include Tibetan yeti, Mongolian almas, Chinese yeren, Vietnamese ngui rung, Sumatran orang pendek, and Australian yowie (now also a popular chocolate candy).


257.July 17th, 2007bowd·ler·ize, v.-To remove material that is considered offensive or objectionable from (a book, for example).


-The New York Times made its feelings about Richard Nixon clear in an editorial about his presidential library. According to the newspaper, the censored version of the Nixon archives would have made Thomas Bowdler proud (he's the guy who cleaned out the parts of Shakespeare he deemed objectionable):


"The library at Yorba Linda, Calif., has been turned over to the National Archives after serving for years as the center of bowdlerized Nixonia. The institution insulted history by peddling ludicrous whitewashings..."


Link: The Nixonian Whitewash, Scrubbed - New York Times


Posted July 16, 2007.


-Synonyms: censor, expurgate, screen


- The word comes from Dr Thomas Bowdler, who published in 1818 The Family Shakespeare,


‘in which those words or expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family’


Many oaths and sexually suggestive speeches were cut, and even entire characters like Doll Tearsheet in Henry IV, Part One. Similarly bowdlerized editions of Gulliver's Travels and Moby‐Dick have been produced for children.


256.July 16th, 2007rac·coon also ra·coon, n.- 1. A carnivorous North American mammal (Procyon lotor) having grayish-brown fur, black masklike facial markings, and a black-ringed bushy tail.


2. The fur of this mammal.


3. Any of various similar or related animals.


-Origin: 1609


In December 1607, Captain John Smith was brought before Powhatan, the "emperor" of the Indians, who was lying on a high bed "covered with a great Covering of the Rahaughcums." Smith reported this in his True Relation of the Jamestown colony, published in 1608. Later in the True Relation he mentions Powhatan sending him "many presents of Deare, bread, Raugroughcuns." We enter this Algonquian Indian word for 1609, a year after Smith's publication, because unlike Corn (1608) it must have taken a little while for the English language to digest.


Not until Smith's Map of Virginia, published in 1612, does he offer a description of the creature we now know as the raccoon: "There is a beast they call Aroughcun, much like a badger but useth to live on trees as Squirrels doe."


-The raccoon is a nocturnal New World mammal of the genus Procyon. The common raccoon of North America, Procyon lotor, also called coon, is found from S Canada to South America, except in parts of the Rocky Mts. and in deserts. It has a stocky, heavily furred body, a pointed face, handlike forepaws, and a bushy tail. It is 11/2 to 21/2 ft (46–76 cm) long, excluding the 8 to 12 in. (20–30 cm) tail, with mixed gray, brown, and black hair, a black face mask, and black rings on the tail. It lives mostly in wooded areas and usually feeds along lakes and streams. A good climber, it often nests in a hollow tree or climbs aloft for refuge. It has a highly omnivorous diet, including nuts, seeds, fruits, eggs, insects, frogs, and crayfish. When water is available it may dip its food before eating; this so-called washing is associated with behaviors used for location and capture of aquatic prey, such as crayfish and frogs. Raccoons do not hibernate but sleep through cold spells in their dens. Their metabolism is normal during these periods and they wake easily. Adult males are usually solitary; females and young live in family groups. Raccoons have proved highly adaptable to civilization and are found even in large cities, where they feed on garbage. They are a minor nuisance in fields and gardens, but are valuable as destroyers of insects; their durable fur is used for coats and trimmings. The crab-eating raccoon, P. cancrivorus, is a semiaquatic, reddish-colored South American species. Other species are found on Caribbean islands. The raccoon family also includes the New World coatimundi, cacomistle (ring-tailed cat), and kinkajou as well as the red panda. Raccoons are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Procyonidae.


255.July 15th, 2007par·a·dise, n.- 1. often Paradise The Garden of Eden.


2. Christianity.

a. The abode of righteous souls after death; heaven.

b. An intermediate resting place for righteous souls awaiting the Resurrection.


3. A place of ideal beauty or loveliness.


4. A state of delight.


-Antonyms: hell


-This word originated in Iran


Biblically speaking, the first paradise was the Garden of Eden. But linguistically speaking, it was a Persian amusement park. Or more precisely, it was the walled park of a Persian ruler or noble, observed more than two thousand years ago by a young Greek named Xenophon, who was serving as a soldier in Persia (modern-day Iran). After Cyrus, Xenophon's leader, was killed in the battle of Cunaxa in 401 b.c., the ten thousand Greek troops had to fight their way through hostile Persian territory to get home. Xenophon made it back and lived to tell about it. His telling, called Anabasis, established his reputation as one of the greatest historians of all time. And in Anabasis he used the Persian term pairidaeza to describe the great parks of the Persian rulers. Pairi means "around," and daeza means "mound" or "wall," so pairidaeza is a place that is walled around.


The actual origin is more complicated than that, but suffice it to say that Xenophon's history brought the ancestor of our word paradise into Greek. From thence, several centuries later, it became the word used for the Garden of Eden in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. So the great parks of the Persian kings became the great garden of God, the earthly paradise. Of course, the first humans in that park were expelled and the place shut down after they violated a park regulation against eating the fruit of a certain tree.


From Greek to Latin to French to English, our language got its first paradise of this sort in about the year 1175. Since then, English speakers have liberally applied the term to all sorts of real and imagined places of happiness. Nowadays it is often a name for a gambling casino, symbolized by a pair of dice.


Persian is an Indo-European language belonging to the Indo-Iranian branch. Modern Persian is known as Farsi and is spoken by more than twenty-five million people in Iran, about half of that country's population. Perhaps a hundred other words have also made the long trek from Persian to English, including azure (1325), spinach (1530), jasmine (1562), caravan (1588), bazaar (1612), mummy (1615), seersucker (1722), and serendipity (1754).




"Paradise is exactly like where you are right now... only much, much better." - Laurie Anderson


"Santa Barbara is a paradise; Disneyland is a paradise; the U.S. is a paradise. Paradise is just paradise. Mournful, monotonous, and superficial though it may be, it is paradise. There is no other." - Jean Baudrillard


"The abominable effort to take one's sins with one to paradise." - Andre Gide


"From the very fountain of enchantment there arises a taste of bitterness to spread anguish amongst the flowers." - Lucretius


"A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell!" - Thomas Fuller


"It gets to seem as if way back in the Garden of Eden after the Fall, Adam and Eve had begged the Lord to forgive them and He, in his boundless exasperation, had said, All right, then. Stay. Stay in the Garden. Get civilized. Procreate. Muck it up. And they did." - Diane Arbus


"A beautiful vacuum filled with wealthy monogamists, all powerful and members of the best families all drinking themselves to death." - Ernest Hemingway



254.July 14th, 2007new·bie, n-One that is new to something, especially a novice at using computer technology or the Internet.


-Origin: 1993


It was the year of the newbies, upsetting the cozy cyber-community (1994) on the Internet (1988). Remember? Time wrote in December 1993, "Instead of feeling surrounded by information, first-timers ('newbies' in the jargon of the Net) are likely to find themselves adrift in a borderless sea." The next year Info World complained, "Because so many newbees are logging in every day, it is getting harder and harder to get connected to those information sources that are popular."


Newbie is especially popular in, and seems to have been popularized through, the informal communications which abound on the Internet listservers--those electronic bulletin boards where subscribers are supposed to stick to the topic, but frequently digress, especially if they are newbies. Such digressions can prompt flame wars (1992) from the regulars.


Before they burgeoned on the Internet, newbees played football. Here is a report on the San Diego Chargers from the Los Angeles Times of August 1985: "It had to do with newbees. I could be wrong on the spelling, but newbees are the rookies among the Blue Angels. Three of these newbees happened to be having a peaceful lunch when suddenly they were called upon to sing. This is what happens to rookies--or newbees--at the Charger training camps." References to newbies in the military, the mafia, and politics also predate the explosive popularity of newbie among Internet users.


Newbie probably owes some connection in its construction to Wannabe (1981) and freebie (1942) and even the much older used-to-be (1853) and wouldbe (1605). The spelling still varies between newbie and newbee, though the pronunciation is the same in either case.


-Usage in popular culture


* Doctor Cox in the TV show Scrubs continuously refers to his protége John Dorian (J.D.) as "Newbie" as a way of breaking his spirits and constantly reminding him who's in charge.

* In The Sims video game, the tutorial family with which the player learns how to play the game are named Bob and Betty Newbie.

* In the webcomic [[Ctrl+Alt+Del]], The strips "Glossary:Newb/Noob" and "Real Life" describe the behaviors of "newbs" and "noobs".

* The internet TV series, Pure Pwnage, the main character Jeremy says the catchphrase, "I pwn noobs", meaning he dominates lower ranking players.

* In the online game Kingdom of Loathing, one enemy that the player may face in the Valley of Rof L'm Fao is a "Lamz0r N00b." Their attacks include "omgwtf"ing the player and asking "how u mine 4 fish?," a reference to noobspeak. In the same game, the area where new players are taught the basics of gameplay is called Mt. Noob.

* In the game Baldur's Gate, there is an NPC called Noober (obviously from noob), who talks to the party for a while before running out of things to say. His purpose in the game is to annoy the player (he also gives experience if the player waits long enough). There is also a character in the sequel, Baldur's Gate 2, named Neeber (variation of newb), who is commonly thought of as the brother of Noober. Both characters can be killed by the player without fear of provoking the town guards or citizens.


253.July 13th, 2007mon·i·ker, n.-A personal name or nickname


-Synonyms: appellation, appellative, cognomen, denomination, designation, epithet, name, nickname, style, tag, title


-This word originated in Ireland


If you have a moniker, it's thanks to a small group of travelers in Ireland known, logically enough, as Travelers. They are like the people called Romani elsewhere in Europe and North America (and commonly known as Gypsies), keeping to themselves, living in vans, moving from place to place, and living on odd jobs and trades such as barn painting and selling linoleum. But the Irish Travelers are Irish.


Like the Romani, Irish Travelers have their own secret language or cant. Theirs is called Gammon or Shelta. Its origins are uncertain and disputed, but to some degree it derives from the Irish language, which belongs to the Celtic branch of the Indo-European language family. From Irish ainm developed Shelta munik, meaning "name," and somehow speakers of English managed to decipher that word and adopt it as moniker. It had spread to London as an English slang word for "name" by 1851.


In Ireland's present-day population of three and a half million, there are about 20,000 Travelers. A recent estimate is that 6,000 of them speak Shelta. That language, along with the Irish Travelers who speak it, has spread to the rest of the British Isles, where it is spoken by an additional 30,000, and to the United States, where there are an estimated 50,000 speakers of Shelta.


Here is the first line of the Lord's Prayer translated into a modern version of Shelta: "Our gathra, who cradgies in the manyak-norch, we turry kerrath about your moniker."


-Monicker in Clowning


The word "monicker" or more rarely, "monikker" is, among clowns, most often intentionally misspelled, with a 'c' in accordance with clown tradition that some words are inherently funny (and hence to be preferred over 'unfunny' words). The "clown world" has widely embraced "monicker" as equivalent to a stage name or pseudonym. A monicker is considered by a professional clown to be sacrosanct by the traditional code of non-infringement. The monicker is considered to be an attribute of the character of the clown and not of the performer. Monicker, in clown usage, can generally be considered synonymous with the terms "clown name" and "Professional name". In declining use, it may mean a clown performer's personal nickname, (e.g. "Joseph Grimaldi's monicker was Joey.") rather than the name of the performer's clown.


252.July 12th, 2007an·o·dyne, n or adj.-adj.


1. Capable of soothing or eliminating pain.


2. Relaxing: anodyne novels about country life.




1. A medicine, such as aspirin, that relieves pain.


2. A source of soothing comfort.


-Selfish concerns and hypocrisy can lie behind soothing names, The New York Times avers:


"We live in an age of organizations with anodyne names that conceal their real agenda, and the Center for Consumer Freedom is one of them. We're all consumers, and what could be better than freedom? But C.C.F. was founded by a Washington lobbyist named Richard Berman and is financed, according to at least one watchdog group, by many of the same meat, fast-food, restaurant and beverage companies that have hired him as a lobbyist. Seed money came from Philip Morris."


Link: The Story Behind a New York Billboard and the Interests It Serves - New York Times.


Posted July 25, 2005.


-An anodyne (Greek αν, loss, and οδυνη, pain: a cause which relieves pain) is a medicine that relieves or soothes pain by lessening the sensibility of the brain or nervous system. Also called an analgesic (or colloquially a "painkiller").


The term has been applied incorrectly to various medications, such as narcotics, hypnotics, and opiates. True anodynes were applied externally to the part affected. Such among those classed "simple" were onion, lily, root of mallows, leaves of violet, elderberry, etc.


Certain compound medicines were also called by this name, such as anodyne balsam, made of castile soap, camphor, saffron, and spirit of wine, and digested in a sand heat. It was recommended not only for easing extreme pain, but for assisting in discharging the peccant matter that occurred with the pain.


By extension, soothing or placating words are called anodyne.




251.July 11th, 2007keep the ball rolling-Start an undertaking; also, keep an undertaking from flagging


-Origin: 1840


The rip-roaring (1834) presidential campaign of 1840, renowned for the "O.K. Clubs" of incumbent Martin Van Buren and the "Log Cabin (1770) and Hard Cider" of successful challenger William Henry Harrison, also introduced the ball that we have kept rolling ever since. One of the features of the 1840 campaign was the rolling of an enormous decorated ball in a political parade. A line in the pro-Harrison Log Cabin & Hard Cider Melodies, published in Boston in 1840, alludes to this practice: "Virginia will keep her ball rolling."


Partisans of the Democratic Party and Van Buren kept their ball rolling too, propelled by men known as ball rollers. "This gang of loafers and litterateurs," wrote one contemporary observer that year, "are said to number 1,000 braves, being the picked men of the old 'huge paws'--'butt enders'--'roarers,' and 'ball rollers.'" Butt enders were enthusiastic young men of the fire department in New York City; roarers were boasters a well as boosters.


The actual ball was soon rolled aside, and ball roller is no longer an avocation, but keep the ball rolling has rolled along with our language to the present day.


Later expressions involving ball came from our twentieth-century enthusiasm for sports other than politics. Americans were the first to keep our eyes on the ball (1907) and to be on the ball (1939).


250.July 10th, 2007nemesis, n.-One who is hostile to or opposes the purposes or interests of another


-Nemesis (in Greek, Νέμεσις), also called Rhamnousia/Rhamnusia ("the goddess of Rhamnous"), at her sanctuary at Rhamnous, north of Marathon, in the Greek mythology was the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris, vengeful fate personified as a remorseless goddess. In Greek myth, a daughter of Nyx (Night) and the personification of righteous anger, especially that of the gods at human presumption. According to some versions she and not Leda was loved by Zeus and laid the egg out of which Helen (of Troy) was hatched. She provides one of the rare instances where an apparent personification of an abstract quality is the object of an ancient cult. She was worshipped at Rhamnus in Attica, where a magnificent temple was built for her in the fifth century BC.


-The name Nemesis is related to the Greek word νείμειν, meaning "to give what is due". The Romans equated one aspect of Greek Nemesis, which might be interpreted as "indignation at unmerited advantage", as Invidia (Aronoff 2003).


-Synonyms: archenemy, enemy, foe


249.July9th, 2007supergrass, n.-A police informer who implicates many people.


-No, it's not vegetation or any form of cannabis. A "supergrass" in British slang is an informer whose testimony points to many suspects; to "grass on" someone is to tattle on him.


"An Al Qaeda supergrass held in the U.S. is to be shown pictures of the terror suspects arrested in Britain in the hope that he can identify them."


Link: 'Terror ringleader' is brilliant NHS doctor | News | This is London


Posted July 3, 2007.


- Informers had been referred to as "grasses" since the late-1930s, and the "super" prefix was coined by journalists in the early 1970s to describe those informers from the city's underworld who testified against former associates in a series of high-profile mass trials at the time.


-Usage in Northern Ireland


In Northern Ireland the term supergrass especially refers to arrested paramilitaries who divulged the identities of their compatriots to the Royal Ulster Constabulary in exchange for immunity from prosecution and, in many cases, substantial sums of money. Many convictions based on supergrass testimony were later overturned, and the supergrass system was discontinued in 1985.


The use of the term in Northern Ireland began with the arrest of Christopher Black in 1981. After securing assurances that he would have protection from prosecution, Black gave statements which lead to 38 arrests. On 5 August 1983, 22 members of the Provisional IRA were sentenced to a total of 4,000 years in prison based on Black's testimony. (Eighteen of these convictions were overturned on appeal on 17 July 1986.)


By the end of 1982 twenty five more 'supergrasses' had surfaced contributing to the arrests of over six hundred people from paramilitary organizations, such as the Provisional IRA, the Irish National Liberation Army and the Ulster Volunteer Force.


On 11 April 1983 fourteen members of the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force were jailed on the evidence of supergrass Joseph Bennett. These convictions were all overturned on 24 December 1984. The last supergrass trial finished on 18 December 1985, when 25 members of the INLA were jailed on the evidence of Harry Kirkpatrick. 24 of these convictions were later overturned on 23 December 1986.

248.July 7th, 2007chutz·pah also hutz·pah, n.-Utter nerve; effrontery


-Synonyms: assumption, audaciousness, audacity, boldness, brashness, brazenness, cheek, cheekiness, discourtesy, disrespect, effrontery, face, familiarity, forwardness, gall, impertinence, impudence, impudency, incivility, insolence, nerve, nerviness, overconfidence, pertness, presumptuousness, pushiness, rudeness, sassiness, sauciness


-The word derives from the Yiddish chutzpah (חוצפה). This, in turn, derived from the Hebrew word ḥuṣpâ (חֻצְפָּה), meaning "insolence," "audacity," and "impertinence"; though, by now, the English, usage of the word has taken on a wider spectrum of meaning, having been popularized through vernacular use, film, literature, and television.


In Hebrew, chutzpah is used indignantly, to describe someone who has over-stepped the boundaries of accepted behaviour for selfish reasons. But in Yiddish and English, chutzpah has developed interesting ambivalent and even positive connotations. Chutzpah can be used to express admiration for non-conformist but gutsy audacity. Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yiddish defines chutzpah as "gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible 'guts,' presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to." In this sense, chutzpah expresses both strong disapproval and grudging admiration.


One humorous example of chutzpah is often given as follows: "A boy is on trial for murdering his parents, and he begs of the judge leniency because he is an orphan."


Related terms in Yiddish are khotsef (חצוף) and khatsufeh (חצופֿה), which means an "impudent man" and an "impudent woman," respectively.


Alan Dershowitz entitled his bestselling book of essays Chutzpah. Norman Finkelstein titled his book responding to Dershowitz's claims on Israel Beyond Chutzpah.


Leo Stoller controversially claims to own a trademark on the word.




247.July 6th, 2007juke n. or v.-n. A roadside or rural establishment offering liquor, dancing, and often gambling and prostitution.




1. To play dance music, especially in a juke.


2. To dance, especially in a juke or to the music of a jukebox.


-This word originated in Mali


Before there was a jukebox, there was a juke. And before there was a juke, there was a wicked word in the Bambara language of present-day Mali in West Africa: something like dzugu, meaning "wicked." There is also a dzug, meaning "live wickedly," in the neighboring Wolof language, so that too may have contributed to the English juke. Whatever the exact origin, it was brought across the Atlantic centuries ago by slaves.


In the American South, in due course, it became the name of a place where the descendants of slaves could have wicked fun. Novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston explained it in Jonah's Gourd Vine in 1934: "Jook, the pleasure houses near industrial work. A combination of bawdy, gaming, and dance hall. Incidentally the cradle of the 'blues.'" Jukes were generally located in the countryside rather than the city, sometimes near the camps of turpentine workers.


In the late 1930s, coin-operated phonographs in jukes were jokingly called juke organs and then juke boxes. And while jukes seem extinct, juke boxes remain fixtures in bars and other places of entertainment.


Bambara is a Mandingo language of the Mande branch of the Niger-Congo language family. It is the national language of Mali, where it is spoken by nearly three million people. Another English word from Bambara is shea (1799), the name of a tree with oily seeds used to make shea butter.



247.July 5th, 2007hot line, n.-1. A direct and immediate telephone linkup, especially between heads of government, as for use in a crisis.


2. A telephone line that gives quick and direct access to a source of information or help


-Origin: 1955


In these days of sophisticated electronics and instant global satellite communication, it is hard to remember that a hotline was originally just an actual telephone line directly linking two parties so that it would be available round the clock for instant communication. The first such designated hotlines defended us against a Soviet air attack. A New York Times Magazine article in August 1955 explained that the Continental Air Defense Command included "twelve air divisions, tied in by 'hot line' communications with one another and with the Army, Navy and Civil Defense Administration. They are like a giant nerve system where a distant pinprick brings an instant reaction throughout the whole organism." In those early days, when most phones were black, the hotline would often be marked by a red telephone.


In 1963, one particular hotline became hot news. In the aftermath of the previous year's Cuban missile crisis, when miscommunication between the United States and the Soviet Union nearly led to war, the two sides established a telephone and teletype "hot line" between the White House and the Kremlin so the leaders of the two nations could talk at a moment's notice. That line was opened August 30, 1963. Before the year was over, business picked up on the idea; the British Overseas Airways Corporation announced a reservations hot line linking London and New York.


Nowadays hotline (usually spelled as one word) most often refers not to the telephone line itself but to a service available instantly by telephone. There are hotlines for problems like drug abuse and loneliness, as well as for advice on grammar and cooking turkeys. Many of these nowadays are called help lines (1980) or go by names describing the type of service, such as Kids' Line (1983), Parentline (1990), and High Society Sexline (1986).


-Notable hotlines


* The White House/Kremlin hotline during the Cold War, known as the red telephone, which was established on June 20, 1963, in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

* On June 20, 2004, both India and Pakistan agreed to extend a nuclear testing ban and to set up a hotline between their foreign secretaries aimed at preventing misunderstandings that might lead to nuclear war.

* Fictional hero Batman had a hotline connecting the mayor's office to his desk in the 1966 TV series featuring Adam West. This is known as the Batphone. It was a red phone that sat beneath a cake cover and would light up when rung.

* India and China announced a hotline for the foreign ministers of both countries while reiterating their commitment to strengthening ties and building "mutual political trust".



246.July 4th, 2007Independence Day, n.-July 4, celebrated in the United States to commemorate the adoption in 1776 of the Declaration of Independence.


- We hold these truths to be self-evident,

that all men are created equal,

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,

that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


With these memorable words, Thomas Jefferson, at the age of 33, laid the cornerstone of the United States of America. Though the Declaration of Independence, or, as it was known at the time, "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America," holds no legal standing, it stands at the head of the US Code. The signed copy resides in the National Archives in Washington, DC.


Fifty years later, in an 1825 letter, Jefferson wrote that the Declaration of Independence was designed as "an appeal to the tribunal of the world." The document was therefore "intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion," and the fledgling state was thus introduced to the nations among which it was destined to assume its rightful place.


To lay the moral foundation for revolution, the Declaration of Independence invokes the principle of natural rights, which is strongly identified with John Locke (particularly in Two Treatises of Government, 1690). These are the basic rights of which each individual is possessed, and of which he cannot be stripped by society or government. In Jefferson's formulation, the "pursuit of happiness" was substituted for Locke's more specific "health" and "possessions."


-On 3 July, John Adams wrote to his wife:


The second day of July, 1776,…Iamaptto believe … will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.


Adams was thinking of the resolution of independence adopted on 2 July as the pivotal event, but the Declaration of Independence soon completely obscured the resolution.


The first anniversary does not appear to have been commemorated throughout the thirteen states, but there were elaborate celebrations in the principal cities, and parades, the firing of guns, the ringing of bells, decorations, illuminations, fireworks, and the drinking of toasts constituted the chief features in every instance. The practice of commemorating the Glorious Fourth soon spread widely, particularly after the adoption of the Constitution. As the years went by, some of the early features of the celebration declined or disappeared entirely, such as the thirteen guns and thirteen (or thirteen times thirteen) toasts. Meanwhile, sports and games, which at first were only a minor part of the festivities, became the greatest attraction. In country regions, the Fourth of July became a day for picnics, with exhibitions of skill in such contests as potato races, watermelon eating, and catching the greased pig, without much thought of the Declaration of Independence. Since 1777, fireworks, great and small, have held a prominent place. In the early 1900s, serious efforts were made to promote safety in Fourth of July celebrations, and in ensuing years the personal possession of fireworks has been outlawed in many states.




* In 1777, British officers fired 13 guns, once at morning and again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner a modern American would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews and fireworks. Ships were decked with red, white and blue bunting.

* In 1778, General George Washington marked the Fourth of July with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute. Across the Atlantic Ocean, ambassadors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin held a dinner for their fellow Americans in Paris, France.

* In 1779, July 4 fell on a Sunday. The holiday was celebrated on Monday July 5.

* In 1781, Massachusetts was the first legislature to recognize the Fourth of July.

* In 1783, Moravians in Salem, North Carolina held the first celebration of the Fourth of July in the country with a challenging music program assembled by Johann Friedrich Peter. This work was titled the Psalm of Joy.

* In 1791, First recorded under "Independence Day" name.

* In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day a holiday, albeit unpaid, for federal employees.



245.July 3rd, 2007gum·bo, n.- 1. Chiefly Southern U.S.


2. A soup or stew thickened with okra pods.


3. Chiefly Mississippi Valley & Western U.S. A fine silty soil, common in the southern and western United States, that forms an unusually sticky mud when wet.


4. Gumbo A French patois spoken by some Black people and Creoles in Louisiana and the French West Indies.


-This word originated in Democratic Republic of the Congo


At first, gumbo was just another word for what we now generally call okra. Both are African words for the plant and its versatile, viscous pods; okra is most likely from the Ibo language of West Africa, while gumbo is from further south, probably the Tshiluba language spoken in Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). But something happened to the bland vegetable. It became the sturdy, unsung main ingredient of an increasingly palatable New Orleans dish that took the name gumbo in its honor.


Not that okra ever got top billing in a gumbo; it's too bland. Our earliest record of gumbo in the English language is an 1805 account of New Orleans that doesn't even mention okra: "Shrimps are much eaten here; also a dish called gumbo. This last is made of every eatable substance, and especially of those shrimps which can be caught at any time." John James Audubon wrote in 1835, "To me 'Ecrevisses' [crayfish], whether of fresh or salt water, stripped of their coats, and blended into a soup or a 'gombo,' have always been most welcome." Most of the time gumbo requires a modifier: shrimp gumbo, crab gumbo, chicken gumbo, wild duck gumbo, even gopher gumbo. Okra is always there, however, even though it always seems to come last, as in this recent description by food writer Elizabeth Hanby: "A standard, present-day New Orleans recipe for gumbo requires crab, shrimp, oysters, ham or veal, green pepper, celery, filé (powdered, dried sassafras leaves), thyme, bay leaf, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and--of course--okra!"


There is no question that gumbo comes from a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo language family. There is some question about which Bantu language, but it might well be Tshiluba or Luba, a national language of Democratic Republic of the Congo, spoken by more than six million of the population of forty-six million. Another English word perhaps from Tshiluba, if not from one of the other closely-related Bantu languages, is banjo (1739).


-The following are some common combinations of ingredients that are included in gumbo:


* Seafood gumbo, with shrimp, oysters, and crabmeat

* Crawfish gumbo

* Beef gumbo

* Chicken gumbo with Andouille Sausage

* Turkey and Andouille gumbo (popular after Thanksgiving)

* Duck and Oyster (or Shrimp) Gumbo

* Squirrel Gumbo

* Rabbit Gumbo

* Greens (with or without seafood and/or meat (see Gumbo Z'Herbes below)

* Dog Gumbo usually garnished with ojue




244.July 2nd, 2007clo·ture, n. or v.- A parliamentary procedure by which debate is ended and an immediate vote is taken on the matter under discussion.




To apply cloture to (a parliamentary debate).


-The procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name (originally clôture) in French is taken. It was introduced into the United Kingdom Parliament by William Gladstone to overcome the obstruction of the Irish nationalist party and was made permanent in 1887. It was subsequently adopted by the United States Senate and other legislatures.


-United Kingdom


A motion for closure may be adopted in both the House of Commons and in the House of Lords by a simple majority of those voting. In the House of Commons, at least one hundred Members must vote in favour of the motion for closure to be adopted; the Speaker of the House of Commons may choose to deny the closure motion if he feels that insufficient debate has occurred, or that the procedure is being used to violate the rights of the minority. The government often impose a timetable on legislation in advance by way of a programme motion, under which debate automatically ceases when the allotted time expires. In the House of Lords, the Lord Chancellor does not possess an equivalent power. Closure motions are often referred to as "guillotines".


-United States


A similar procedure was adopted in the United States Senate in 1917 in response to the actions of isolationist senators who attempted to talk out, or filibuster a bill to arm U.S. merchant ships. President Woodrow Wilson urged the Senate to change its rules to thwart what he called a "little group of willful men", to which the Senate responded by introducing cloture in the form of Rule 22. Cloture was invoked for the first time to end filibuster on the Treaty of Versailles.


This originally required a supermajority of two-thirds of all senators (i.e. 67 out of 100). However, it proved very difficult to achieve this; the Senate tried eleven times between 1927 and 1962 to invoke cloture but failed each time. Filibuster was particularly heavily used by senators from Southern states to block civil rights legislation.


-The procedure for "invoking cloture," or ending a filibuster, is as follows:


* A minimum of sixteen senators must sign a petition for cloture.

* The petition may be presented by interrupting another Senator's speech.

* The clerk reads the petition.

* The cloture petition is ignored for one full day during which the Senate is sitting (If the petition is filed on a Friday, it is ignored until Tuesday, assuming that the Senate did not sit on Saturday or Sunday.)

* On the second calendar day during which the Senate sits after the presentation of the petition, after the Senate has been sitting for one hour, a "quorum call" is undertaken to ensure that a majority of the Senators are present.

* The President of the Senate or President pro tempore presents the petition.

* The Senate votes on the petition; three-fifths of the whole number of Senators (sixty with no vacancies) is the required majority; however, when cloture is invoked on a question of changing the rules of the Senate, two-thirds of the Senators voting (not necessarily two-thirds of all Senators) is the requisite majority.


-After cloture has been invoked, the following restrictions apply:


* No more than thirty hours of debate may occur.

* No Senator may speak for more than one hour.

* No amendments may be moved unless they were filed on the day in between the presentation of the petition and the actual cloture vote.

* All amendments must be relevant to the debate.

* Certain debates on procedure are not permissible.

* The presiding officer gains additional power in controlling debate.

* No other matters may be considered until the question upon which cloture was invoked is disposed of.



243.July 1st, 2007Ob·fus·ca·tion, n.-The act of darkening or bewildering; the state of being darkened.


-From the Latin word obfuscatio.


-Synonyms: bewilderment, puzzlement, befuddlement, mystification, bafflement, bemusement


-Obfuscation may be used for other purposes. Doctors have been accused of using jargon to conceal unpleasant facts from a patient. Author and doctor Michael Crichton has claimed that medical writing is a "highly skilled, calculated attempt to confuse the reader". Similarly text-based language, like gyaru-moji and some forms of leet are obfuscated to make them incomprehensible to outsiders.


In cryptography, obfuscation refers to the practice of encoding the input data before it is sent to a hash function or other encryption scheme. This technique helps to make brute force attacks infeasible, as it is difficult to ascertain when one has found the correct cleartext.


242.June 30th, 2007duh, interj.-Used to express disdain for something deemed stupid or obvious, especially a self-evident remark.


-Origin: 1963


In 1963, the New York Times Magazine explained the usefulness of this little word: "A favorite expression is 'duh.'... This is the standard retort used when someone makes a conversational contribution bordering on the banal. For example, the first child says, 'The Russians were first in space.' Unimpressed, the second child replies (or rather grunts), 'Duh.'"


Well, duh. It's a no-brainer. It began as an outward expression of a slow-witted cartoon character's mental processes, as in a 1943 Merrie Melodies movie: "Duh.... Well, he can't outsmart me,' cause I'm a moron." Later in the twentieth century it blossomed into every man, woman, and child's condescending exclamation upon hearing a self-evident and thereby unnecessary remark. It is so simple that it is one of the first verbal weapons learned by children, so effective that it stays in their linguistic arsenal as they grow to adulthood. For maximum effect, duh can be extended long and loud, with an extra twist in the pitch of the voice.


Because it stoops to the presumed mental level of the remark on which it comments, duh can backfire, implying that the perpetrator rather than the recipient is dimwitted. But since most of us are not Rocket Scientists (1985), who cares? We've made our point, regardless. Duh!


-Many other expressions in American English are synonyms of "duh." "Ya think?" and a sarcastically pronounced "No! Really?" are of the most common.


* "Doi" (or "doy"), popular in the western United States from the 1980's onward, is used to express disgust with a situation of particularly complex and intricate idiocy; for example, as a comment upon a true FUBAR situation. In contrast, "Duh" (or "Duhr") is generally used as a comment upon instances of simple and obvious idiocy.


* "No duh", "no doy," and "no dip" are all expressions commonly used in the midwestern United States, which have the same meanings as "duh" and "doy."


* "Der" is the pronounciation used in Australia.


* D'oh!, a well-used saying made famous by The Simpsons, is similar to Duh!, but is an exclamation in response to a mistake, not a statement used to point out the obviousness of a situation.



241.June 29th, 2007gey·ser, n.- 1. A natural hot spring that intermittently ejects a column of water and steam into the air.


2. A gas-operated hot-water heater.


-This word originated in Iceland


In Iceland, in the year 1294, a strong earthquake shook the valley of Haukadal in the place called Stóri-Geysir. Some time after the quake was over and the earth had quieted down, Icelanders in the vicinity heard another rumbling sound, this time coming from a crack in the earth opened by the quake. Water that had poured into the crack and collected on hot rocks below the surface was beginning to boil. It built up pressure until it erupted in a column of steam and hot water.


That was not the first geyser in history, but it was the first to be called a geysir, taking its name from the name of the place. It erupted not just once but again and again, becoming a tourist attraction before there were tourists in Iceland. In the eighteenth century, when there were tourists, the Geysir was an "old faithful," letting off steam and water every half hour. But it slowed down in the nineteenth century, eventually erupting only two or three times a week. Another earthquake in 1896 speeded it up, but it quit entirely in 1915, flooded with too much water.


Before the demise of the Geysir, however, the name geysir or geyser had spread to other such hot spring fountains in Iceland. It is mentioned in English in that generic sense as early as 1780. In the next century the word was thus ready for use by the English-speaking American discoverers of the great geysers of Yellowstone, which became our first national park in 1872. Yellowstone has more than two hundred active geysers, more than in the rest of the world combined. They include Grand, the world's largest geyser, which erupts every eight to twelve hours, and Old Faithful, the most famous, with intervals anywhere between half an hour and two hours, depending on the length of the previous eruption.


Icelandic is a North Germanic language in our Indo-European language family, closely related to Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. It is the national language of the 250,000 residents of Iceland. From Icelandic English has also acquired geyserite, the name of a mineral (1814); narwhal, the name of a tusked sea mammal (1646); and eider, both the duck (1743) and its down (1774).


-The formation of geysers requires a favourable hydrogeology which exists in only a few places on Earth, and so they are fairly rare phenomena. About 1,000 exist worldwide, with about half of these in Yellowstone National Park, U.S. Geyser eruptive activity may change or cease due to ongoing mineral deposition within the geyser plumbing, exchange of functions with nearby hot springs, earthquake influences, and human intervention.


Erupting fountains of liquefied nitrogen have been observed on Neptune's moon Triton. These phenomena are also often referred to as geysers. On Triton, the geysers appear to be driven by solar heating instead of geothermal energy. The nitrogen, liquefied by a kind of greenhouse effect, may erupt to heights of 8 km.


-Geysers are fragile phenomena and if conditions change, they can ‘die’. Many geysers have been destroyed by people throwing litter and debris into them; others have ceased to erupt due to dewatering by geothermal power plants. The Great Geysir of Iceland has had periods of activity and dormancy. During its long dormant periods, eruptions were sometimes humanly-induced — often on special occasions — by the addition of surfactants to the water. Inducing eruptions at Geysir is no longer done, as the forced eruptions were damaging the geyser's special plumbing system. Following an earthquake in Iceland in 2000 the geyser became somewhat more active again. Initially the geyser erupted about eight times a day. As of July 2003, Geysir erupts several times a week.


240.June 28th, 2007cook·ie, n.- 1. A small, usually flat and crisp cake made from sweetened dough.


2. Slang. A person, usually of a specified kind: a lawyer who was a tough cookie.


3. Computer Science. A collection of information, usually including a username and the current date and time, stored on the local computer of a person using the World Wide Web, used chiefly by websites to identify users who have previously registered or visited the site.


-Origin: 1703


You won't hear cookie in England. But you will in the United States, thanks to our Dutch forebears. Cookie is a Dutch term meaning "little cake." It was brought to the New World by the Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam. Though they lost the colony to the English, who promptly renamed it New York in 1674, the Hollanders maintained their hearty practices. In 1703, it was reported, certain New York residents of Dutch ancestry laid out for a funeral "rum, beer, gloves, rings," one and a half gross of pipes, and eight hundred "cockies." Cookies were also a Dutch treat for New Year's Day, along with pound cake, wine, and a drink called cherry bounce (made of cider, whiskey and cherries).


During the 1700s the sweet, flat little cakes became the favorites of New Yorkers of all backgrounds. In 1786, for example, a New York newspaper complained about "idle boys, who infest our markets and streets, with baskets of cookies." From New York, cookies made themselves at home throughout the country by means of travelers, recipes, and hungry children. In the late twentieth century, when a children's television show wanted to associate a leading character with a culinary passion, who else could they imagine but a monster who loved cookies?


-The earliest cookie-style cakes are thought to date back to 7th-century Persia, one of the first countries to cultivate sugar. There are six basic cookie styles, any of which can range from tender-crisp to soft. A drop cookie is made by dropping spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet. Bar cookies are created when a batter or soft dough is spooned into a shallow pan, then baked, cooled and cut into bars. Hand-formed (or molded) cookies are made by shaping dough by hand into small balls, logs, crescents and other shapes. Pressed cookies are formed by pressing dough through a cookie press (or pastry bag) to form fancy shapes and designs. Refrigerator (or icebox) cookies are made by shaping the dough into a log, which is refrigerated until firm, then sliced and baked. Rolled cookies begin by using a rolling pin to roll the dough out flat; then it is cut into decorative shapes with cookie cutters or a pointed knife. Other cookies, such as the German springerle, are formed by imprinting designs on the dough, either by rolling a special decoratively carved rolling pin over it or by pressing the dough into a carved cookie mold. In England, cookies are called biscuits, in Spain they're galletas, Germans call them keks, in Italy they're biscotti and so on.


239.June 27th, 2007boon·docks, n.- 1. Wild and dense brush; jungle.


2. Rural country; the backwoods.


-This word originated in Philippines


If you're out in the boondocks, linguistically speaking, you're much more distant than the sticks, the backwoods, the hinterland, or the bush. In fact, you're in the Philippines. That's where the boondocks came from, during the American occupation that began with the defeat of Spain in 1898. In Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines, bondoc means "mountain," and the term was used first by the occupying U.S. military to mean the Philippine mountains ... or jungle ... or remote area of any sort. By 1909 it was already in Webster's New International Dictionary with those meanings. But in English it remained largely military slang until the 1960s. The Marine Corps especially made use of boondocks. During World War II the Marines began calling their heavy combat boots boondockers, and they have worn that name ever since.


About fifteen million people, one-quarter of the population of the Philippines, speak Tagalog natively. It belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family. The official language of the Philippines is a version of Tagalog with a more inclusive vocabulary, called Pilipino or Filipino. Pilipino, introduced in the 1970s, was so close to Tagalog that speakers of other Philippine languages protested. In response, in the 1980s the government allowed more non-Tagalog words and changed the name. Filipino's broader scope is indicated by its initial F, which was not in the original Tagalog alphabet but imported from Spanish.


Another English word from Tagalog is yo-yo, now the universally accepted name for a toy formerly known in English as a bandalore (1824, of unknown origin). Pedro Flores of the Philippines brought the name and the idea for a superior yo-yo (with string looped around the center rather than tied to it) to California in the 1920s. Donald Duncan bought him out, copyrighted the name yo-yo in 1932, and made it world famous. Tagalog has also given English some plant and animal names: abaca (1818, banana plant and fiber), ylang-ylang (1876, tree, perfume), lauan (1894, timber), cogon (1898, coarse grass), tamarau (1898, buffalo), atemoya (1914, fruit), and calamondin (1928, citrus).


238.June 26th, 2007Athlete's Foot, n.-A common fungus infection between the toes in which the skin becomes itchy and sore, cracking and peeling away. Athlete's foot (also known as tinea pedis or foot ringworm) can be treated, but it can be tenacious and difficult to clear up completely.


-Origin: 1928


Otherwise known as tinea pedis, at least among doctors, it can be the scourge of the locker-room showers. Athlete's foot spread into the American English vocabulary in a 1928 issue of Literary Digest: "Athlete's foot...is a popular name for ringworm of the foot, from which more than ten million persons in the United states are now suffering."


The association of athletes and this variety of ringworm had to wait until the twentieth century, when Americans, including athletes, finally began to take a serious interest in hygiene. Occasional baths had been the limits of American cleanliness in previous centuries. Now, not only did athletes have running water in their locker rooms (itself a term of the first decade of the twentieth century), they had communal showers. Floors in the locker-room environment are usually wet, making ideal conditions for lurking fungi.


In fact, medical authorities say, the association with athletes is unfounded. Most people already carry the fungi; one recent estimate is that 70 percent of the population may be afflicted to one degree or another. The little organism thrives in moist and airless environments, like that created by wet feet in shoes. If the skin between the toes is kept healthy and dry, we rarely have problems with athlete's foot.




Athlete's foot may be resistant to medication and should not be ignored. Simple cases usually respond well to antifungal creams or sprays (clotrimazole, ketoconazole, miconazole nitrate, sulconazole nitrate, or tolnaftate). If the infection is resistant to topical treatment, the doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal drug.


Untreated athlete's foot may lead to a secondary bacterial infection in the skin cracks.


Alternative treatment


A footbath containing cinnamon has been shown to slow down the growth of certain molds and fungi, and is said to be very effective in clearing up athlete's foot. To make the bath:


* heat four cups of water to a boil

* add eight to 10 broken cinnamon sticks

* reduce heat and simmer five minutes

* remove and let the mixture steep for 45 minutes until lukewarm

* soak feet


Other herbal remedies used externally to treat athlete's foot include: a foot soak or powder containing goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis); tea tree oil (Melaleuca spp.); or calendula (Calendula officinalis) cream to help heal cracked skin.




Good personal hygiene and a few simple precautions can help prevent athlete's foot. To prevent spread of athlete's foot:


* wash feet daily

* dry feet thoroughly (especially between toes)

* avoid tight shoes (especially in summer)

* wear sandals during warm weather

* wear cotton socks and change them often if they get damp

* don't wear socks made of synthetic material

* go barefoot outdoors when possible

* wear bathing shoes in public bathing or showering areas

* use a good quality foot powder

* don't wear sneakers without socks

* wash towels, contaminated floors, and shower stalls well with hot soapy water if anyone in the family has athlete's foot

237.June 25th, 2007yen1, n.-A strong desire or inclination; a yearning or craving.




To have a strong desire or inclination; yearn.


yen2, n.


A basic unit of currency in Japan.


-Synonyms: appetence, appetency, appetite, craving, desire, hunger, itch, longing, lust, thirst, wish, yearning


-Antonyms: dislike, hate, hatred


-This word originated in China


If you have a yen, you may have a unit of Japanese currency equivalent to a hundred sen and worth about one 130th of a dollar. Or you may just have a craving, in which case your word is not Japanese at all, but Chinese of the Cantonese variety.


Nowadays in English our yens are mild, compared to desires and cravings, and they are generally directed to benevolent ends; but when we first got the word, in 1876, a yen was specifically a desire for opium. A book on China published that year explained that a person will "ask if an opium-smoker has the yin or not, meaning thereby, has he gradually increased his doses of opium until he has established a craving for the drug." But English speakers soon began to yen more widely, and today in English you can have a yen for anything, from gambling to horticulture, from exercise to classical music. In 1961, for example, Time magazine even discussed "the yen of Christian churchmen for achieving church unity."


In numbers of speakers, Cantonese or Yue is one of the second-rank dialects of Chinese, having a mere fifty million or so. That compares with more than seven hundred million for Mandarin, the dominant dialect. But Cantonese is the form of Chinese spoken in Hong Kong, where it has interacted with speakers of English for more than 150 years; Cantonese is also the variety spoken by the majority of Chinese immigrants to the United States, so it has had a disproportionate influence on English.


Thus it is, also, that Chinese cooking in America has a Cantonese accent with words like kumquat (1699), chop suey (1888), chow mein (1903), won ton (1934), bok choy (1938), subgum (1938), dim sum (1948), and wok (1952). Other English words from Cantonese include sampan (boat, 1620), typhoon (1771), tong (secret society, 1883), cheongsam (dress with slit skirt, 1952), and shar-pei (dog, 1975).


236.June 24th, 2007Un·der·ground Railroad, n.-A secret cooperative network that aided fugitive slaves in reaching sanctuary in the free states or in Canada in the years before the abolition of slavery in the United States.


-Origin: 1842


It was neither underground nor a railroad, just as nowadays an underground newspaper does not come from under the ground and the information superhighway is not a highway for cars to drive on. But railroads were the new technology of the 1840s and the fastest way of getting from one place to another, so when Southern slaves were whisked almost invisibly across the North to freedom in Canada, it seemed as if a railroad had been operating somewhere under the ground.


Underground railroad was used as early as 1842 in a publication known as the New York Semi-Weekly Express: "We passed 26 prime slaves to the land of freedom last week.... All went by 'the underground railroad.'" And the name caught on quickly. To the escaping slaves and the abolitionists who helped them, underground railroad implied mystery, speed, and power. To slaveholding southerners, it likewise implied mystery, speed, and power, thus justifying their demonizing of the radicals who attacked their peculiar institution (1840). The term was, however, somewhat misleading to both sides in that it made the clandestine journey seem more organized and systematic than it actually was.


Those involved in the underground railroad soon elaborated on the railroad language. There were passengers, the escaped slaves themselves. There were stations, the houses and barns along the way where the slaves were hidden by sympathetic Northern whites and free blacks. And there were conductors who took the passengers from station to station. A ride on the underground railroad was indeed a ticket to freedom.


-The early freedom networks organized by European settlers in British North America originally stemmed from religious conscience. German Quakers in Pennsylvania were the first to renounce slavery on religious authority in 1688. Quakers and other pietists slowly moved from benevolence toward blacks to a faith-driven collaboration to aid fugitives. Like the "righteous gentiles" of a later period, these conscientious believers took personal responsibility for the earthly fate of the oppressed. Quakers, Dunkers, Mennonites, and Shakers, later joined by those from the theologically radical wings of Baptism and Methodism, almost certainly constituted the first institutional skeleton of the later, secular, and more elaborate underground Railroad.




The Underground Railroad developed its own jargon, which continued the railway metaphor:


* People who helped slaves find the railroad were "agents"

* Guides were known as "conductors"

* Hiding places were "stations"

* "Stationmasters" would hide slaves in their homes

* Escaped slaves were referred to as "passengers" or "cargo"

* Slaves would obtain a "ticket"

* The secret password for the Underground Railroad was "A friend with friends." It is commonly confused with "A friend of a friend."


Code Words


Abolitionist = a person who demanded immediate emancipation of slaves


Agent = coordinator, plotting course of escape, making contacts


Drinking gourd = Big Dipper and the North star


Freedom train or Gospel train = code name for the Underground Railroad


Heaven or Promised land = Canada


Preachers = leaders, speakers


Shepherds = people escorting slaves


Station = place of safety and temporary refuge, safe-house


Station Master = keeper of safe-house


Stockholder = donor of money, clothing, or food to the Underground Railroad



Underground Railroad Code Phrases


“The wind blows from the south today” = warning of slave bounty hunters nearby


“A friend of a friend” = a password used to signal the arrival of fugitives with an Underground Railroad conductor


“The friend of a friend sent me” = a password used by fugitives traveling alone to indicate they were sent by the Underground Railroad network


"Load of Potatoes," "Parcel," "Bundles of Wood," or "Frates" = fugitives to be expected


"A friend with friends" = a password used by railroad conductors to signal to the listener that they were in fact a conductor.


235.June 23rd, 2007tun·dra, n.-A treeless area between the icecap and the tree line of Arctic regions, having a permanently frozen subsoil and supporting low-growing vegetation such as lichens, mosses, and stunted shrubs.


-This word originated in Russia


Trees don't grow on the tundra of the arctic regions. But then, what tree would want to? The earth is frozen solid except in the brief summertime, when it thaws only a foot or two down from the surface. The surface, of course, is wet, since water can't sink into the soil. So when it's not frozen, it's swampy. That short summer season is a busy breeding time for billions of insects, who in turn attract millions of birds. The vegetation sustains caribou and reindeer, voles and lemmings, and those in turn sustain wolves, foxes, and birds of prey.


No wonder Stalin, starting in the 1930s, chose the tundra of Russia and Siberia as a suitably inhospitable environment to house "enemies of the people" in his prison camps, the gulags. And yet there are people who like life in the cool, wide-open tundra: the Sami, who have lived there since prehistoric times. (They are better known as Lapps, but they don't like that designation.)


The Sami were the first to inhabit the tundra of what is present-day northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. When southerners first heard of them, thousands of years ago, the Sami made their living by hunting reindeer. About five hundred years ago they began herding reindeer instead of bunting them. Despite the growing political and social pressures of European civilization, about 10 percent of the 80,000 ethnic Sami still herd reindeer today, using snowmobiles and modern telecommunications.


We know that tundra is from one of the languages spoken by the Sami. Which of the Sami languages is not certain, but since tundra came to us through Russian, it would likely be from Kildin Sami, Skolt Sami, or Ter Sami, the three Sami languages of Russia's Kola Peninsula on the Barents Sea next to Finland. Sami belongs to the Finno-Ugric branch of the Uralic language family.


The Sami languages are most widely heard in Norway, where there are about 17,000 speakers, and in Sweden, where there are nearly 10,000. Finland has about 4,000 and Russia just 2,000. Aside from tundra, no other Sami word is of general circulation in English.


-The biodiversity of the tundras is low: 1,700 species of flora and only 48 land mammals can be found, although thousands of insects and birds migrate there each year for the marshes. There are also a few fish species such as the flat fish. There are few species with large populations. Notable animals in the arctic tundra include caribou (reindeer), musk ox, arctic hare, arctic fox, snowy owl, lemmings, and polar bears (only the extreme north).


-Due to the harsh climate of the arctic tundra, regions of this kind have seen little human activity, even though they are sometimes rich in natural resources such as oil and uranium. In recent times this has begun to change in Alaska, Russia, and some other parts of the world.


-A severe threat to the tundras, specifically to the permafrost, is global warming. Permafrost is essentially a frozen bog - in the summer, only its surface layer melts. The melting of the permafrost in a given area on human time scales (decades or centuries) could radically change which species can survive there.


Another concern is that about one third of the world's soil-bound carbon is in taiga and tundra areas. When the permafrost melts, it releases carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. The effect has been observed in Alaska. In the 1970s the tundra was a carbon sink, but today, it is a carbon source.


234.June 22nd, 2007Sher·pa, n.-A member of a traditionally Buddhist people of Tibetan descent living on the southern side of the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal and Sikkim. In modern times Sherpas have achieved world renown as expert guides on Himalayan mountaineering expeditions.


-The Sherpa are an ethnic group from the most mountainous region of Nepal, high in the Himalaya. In Tibetan shar means East; pa is a suffix meaning 'people': hence the word sharpa or Sherpa. Sherpas migrated from eastern Tibet to Nepal within the last 500 years. A female sherpa is known as a "sherpani".


The term 'sherpa' (the preferred spelling with a lower case first letter) is also incorrectly used to refer to local people, typically men, employed as porters or guides for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas. They are highly regarded as experts in mountaineering and their local terrain, as well as having good physical endurance and resilience to high altitude conditions. However, a sherpa is not necessarily a member of the Sherpa ethnic group.


-Traditionally (although not strictly followed), the names of Sherpa men often reflect the day of the week on which they were born


-Famous Sherpas


The most famous Sherpa is Tenzing Norgay, who climbed Mount Everest with Edmund Hillary for the first time in 1953.


Two Sherpas, Pemba Dorjie and Lhakpa Gelu, have recently competed as to who can climb Everest from Basecamp quicker. On May 23 2003 Dorjie summitted in 12 hours and 46 minutes. Three days later, Gelu beat his record by two hours, summitting in 10 hours 46 minutes. On May 21 2004 Dorjie again improved the record by more than two hours with a total time of 8 hours and 10 minutes.


On May 19 2006, Appa Sherpa successfully climbed Mt. Everest for the 16th time, breaking his own record for most successful ascents.


-A sherpa is also the personal representative of a head of state of government in the G8. The metaphor is that the "sherpa" prepares the way toward the "summit". One or more "sherpa meetings" are generally held in preparation for G8-summits.


233.June 21st, 2007show biz, n.-Show business


-Origin: 1945


It was a spectacular year for world history--and for the American language. We won the war in Europe and Asia, establishing new national boundaries which even now remain mostly in place. We added the atomic bomb to our arsenal and our language--and began to learn to live with it. But our word of the year is even more powerful than that. We turned to peace with pent-up energy for entertainment, a dominating element of the Americanized world today. The end of the war was, in short, a time for showbiz.


And Variety, the slangy entertainment newspaper, had it ready for us even before V-J Day ended the war in the Pacific. A headline on May 30 announced "Cantor's Showbiz Tribute." In its June 13 issue, the paper commented, "Big-league baseball already had rearranged its team travel schedules to a minimum. However, show biz has done nothing about this yet."


Showbiz was an abbreviation of show business, an old and honorable American term that had been around since at least 1850. So the clipped showbiz could have remained part of just one publication's style. But it caught on elsewhere because its breezy informality suited the increasing brashness and informality of its subject.


In the years since 1945, atomic weapons thankfully have never been used in war, but American showbiz became such a powerful cultural weapon that today the remotest corners of the globe know about Hollywood, MTV, and Madonna.


232.June 20th, 2007reason, v. or n.-


1. The basis or motive for an action, decision, or conviction. See Usage Note at because, why.


2. A declaration made to explain or justify action, decision, or conviction: inquired about her reason for leaving.


3. An underlying fact or cause that provides logical sense for a premise or occurrence: There is reason to believe that the accused did not commit this crime.


4. The capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought; intelligence.


5. Good judgment; sound sense.


6. A normal mental state; sanity: He has lost his reason.


7. Logic. A premise, usually the minor premise, of an argument.






1. To use the faculty of reason; think logically.


2. To talk or argue logically and persuasively.


3. Obsolete. To engage in conversation or discussion.




1. To determine or conclude by logical thinking: reasoned out a solution to the problem.


2. To persuade or dissuade (someone) with reasons.


-What language has better reason than French to compliment itself on gracing our language with fashion? During the three hundred years in the Middle Ages when the royalty, nobility, and courts of England conducted their affairs in French, the English language imported from French a vast number of royal (1374), noble (1225), and courtly (1450) words. Our provincial language thereby became international and adorned with chivalry (1300) and honor (1290). More than a quarter (1375) of the present-day English vocabulary comes to us courtesy (1225) of the French. What can we offer but our gracious (1303) approval (1690) in words adopted from the French?


With good reason, we can say that we owe our appreciation of reason (1225) to the French. Consider the French philosopher René Descartes, who in the seventeenth century wrote Discourse on the Method of Conducting One's Reason Well and reasoned into existence himself, God, and the world, starting with nothing more than a sense of doubt.


True, we have other less agreeable vocabulary to thank French for: felony (1290) and misdemeanor (1487), arson (1680), assault (1297), burglary (1533), fraud (1330), libel (1297), perjury (1387), and slander (1300), for example, as well as crime (1382) itself. French has given us vice (1297), grief (1225), decadence (1549), defeat (1374), error (1300), treason (1225), and torture (1540). But to balance that, we have achievement (1475) and praise (1430), comfort and joy (both 1225), leisure (1303) and pleasure (1390), amusement (1603) and sport (1440).


French is a Romance language, one of the descendants of Latin in the Indo-European language family. Today it is spoken as a first language by nearly sixty million people in France and perhaps twenty-five million elsewhere around the world, and as a second by many more. In number of speakers, it is the thirteenth most populous language in the world; in influence, it is perhaps unequalled by any other except English, to which it has given so much.


-Antonyms: agree, go along




"A man has free choice to the extent that he is rational." - St. Thomas Aquinas


"O reason, reason, abstract phantom of the waking state, I had already expelled you from my dreams, now I have reached a point where those dreams are about to become fused with apparent realities: now there is only room here for myself." - Louis Aragon


"Reason itself is fallible, and this fallibility must find a place in our logic." - Nicola Abbagnano


"Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage." - Woody Allen


"I am never upset for the reason I think." - A Course In Miracles


"Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason." - St. Thomas Aquinas


"There are strange flowers of reason to match each error of the senses." - Louis Aragon


231.June 19th, 2007pork barrel, n.-A government project or appropriation that yields jobs or other benefits to a specific locale and patronage opportunities to its political representative.


-Origin: 1909


As an actual container for storing pig meat in brine, the pork barrel has been with us since the early days of the Republic. It seems to have been a measure of present and future prosperity. A farmer's almanac of 1801 urges readers to "mind our pork and cider barrels." A midcentury author states, "I hold a family to be in a desperate way, when the mother can see the bottom of the pork barrel." "I know our crops will be short next season," declares another almanac, "for the brine has all leaked out of the pork barrel!"


In the twentieth century, modern refrigeration made the actual pork barrel obsolete. But it took on new life in referring to political bills that bring home the bacon to a legislator's district and constituents. Pork had been used at least since the 1870s as a label for politically motivated federal funding for local projects like post offices. We read in the Congressional Record in regard to an 1888 rivers and harbors appropriation, "Has the pork been so cunningly divided amongst the members of the House in this bill that its final passage is assured?"


By 1909, pork barrel itself was making the rounds of Congress. An article that year explains that the Democratic Party "has periodically inveighed against the extravagance of the administration, but its representatives in the Legislature have exercised no critical surveillance over the appropriations. They have preferred to take for their own constituencies whatever could be got out of the congressional 'pork barrel.'" Similarly, an article in 1916 opposing a "trend towards national defense on the basis of the State militia" argues that it is "a triumph for the pork-barrel."


Even without ever having seen an actual pork barrel, we continue to use the term today for its vivid negative implications. A pork barrel suggests fat and grease, not only in its contents but also in those who reach for it.


-One of the earliest examples of pork barrel politics in the United States was the Bonus Bill of 1817, which was introduced by John C. Calhoun to construct highways linking the East and South of the United States to its Western frontier using the earnings bonus from the Second Bank of the United States. Calhoun argued for it using general welfare and post roads clauses of the United States Constitution. Although he approved of the economic development goal, President James Madison vetoed the bill as unconstitutional. Since then, however, U.S. presidents have seen the political advantage of pork barrel politics.


-One of the most famous (or infamous) pork-barrel projects was the Big Dig in Boston, Massachusetts. The Big Dig was a project to take a pre-existing 3.5 mile interstate highway and relocate it underground. It ended up costing $14.6 billion or over $4 billion per mile.


Pork barrel projects or earmarks are added to the federal budget by members of the appropriation committees of Congress. This allows delivery of federal funds to the local district or state of the appropriation committee member, often accommodating major campaign contributors. To a certain extent a congressman is judged by their ability to deliver funds to their constituents. The Chairman and the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations are in a position to deliver significant benefits to their states. Likewise a Representative such as Anne M. Northup (R-Ky.), a Republican first elected in 1997 from the previously Democratic 3rd Congressional district (Louisville, Kentucky), was able to deliver significant financial benefits to her district through her appointment as a freshman member to the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations.


230.June 18th, 2007OK, n., adv., adj., interj., or v.-n.


Approval; agreement: Get your supervisor's OK before taking a day off.




1. Agreeable; acceptable: Was everything OK with your stay?


2. Satisfactory; good: an OK fellow.


3. Not excellent and not poor; mediocre: made an OK presentation.


4. In proper or satisfactory operational or working order: Is the battery OK?


5. Correct: That answer is OK.


6. Uninjured; safe: The skier fell but was OK.


7. Fairly healthy; well: Thanks to the medicine, the patient was OK.




Fine; well enough; adequately: a television that works OK despite its age.




Used to express approval or agreement.




To approve of or agree to; authorize.


-Synonyms: allowance, approbation, approval, authorization, consent, endorsement, leave, license, permission, permit.


acceptance, acquiescence, agreement, assent, consent, nod, yes.




allow, approbate, approve, authorize, consent, endorse, let, permit, sanction.




absolutely, agreed, all right, assuredly, aye, gladly, indubitably, roger, undoubtedly, unquestionably, willingly, yea, yes.




acceptable, adequate, all right, average, common, decent, fair, fairish, goodish, moderate, passable, respectable, satisfactory, sufficient, tolerable.


-Antonyms: bad, incorrect, intolerable, unacceptable, unsatisfactory, unsuitable, wrong


-This word originated in United States


America's greatest contribution to the English language and indeed to languages all over the world is a joke. Or at least that's how it began.


In the summer of 1838 newspaper columnists in Boston thought nothing funnier than to reduce a phrase to its initials (with an explanation in parentheses). Allen Walker Read, the premier historian of our most famous expression, found this example in the Boston Morning Post of June 12, 1838: "We understand that J. Eliot Brown, Esq., Secretary of the Boston Young Men's Society for Meliorating the Condition of the Indians, F.A.H. (fell at Hoboken, N.J.) on Saturday last at 4 o'clock, p.m. in a duel W.O.O.O.F.C. (with one of our first citizens.) What measures will be taken by the Society in consequence of this heart rending event, R.T.B.S. (remains to be seen)."


To add to the humor, columnists sometimes misspelled the abbreviations. One 1838 example was O.W., meaning "all right," with blatant misspellings of both initial letters. That set the stage for an even more outrageous misspelling in March 1839: O.K., translated as "all correct." The joke was that neither O nor K was correct.


O.K. might have died out with O.W., R.T.B.S., and the rest of the laughable abbreviations if "Old Kinderhook," President Martin Van Buren (born in Kinderhook, New York), hadn't running for reelection in 1840. "O.K. clubs" supporting him were established throughout the country. Old Kinderhook lost, but O.K. won a permanent place in American English.


Until about 1900, however, O.K. remained obscure. Even Mark Twain apparently never used it. But the twentieth century turned out to be an OK century, perhaps encouraged by scholarly President Woodrow Wilson's use of "okeh" on official documents. (He spelled it "okeh" because he mistakenly thought it came from the Choctaw Indian language.) It was streamlined, too, in this century, increasingly written without the periods that mark it as a mock abbreviation. We now live in an OK world where it is difficult to imagine a conversation or a computer session without frequent use of OK.


-There are also many proposed international etymologies of O.K., but they lack supporting written evidence just as the American folk etymologies do.


In Greek, O.K. is a correctly-spelled abbreviation for the expression, Ola Kala (Ὅλα Καλά, ΟΚ), which has the same meaning as the American English "okay". It is possible that Greek sailors used Ola Kala in American ports.


"Waw-kay" is an exclamation in both Bantu and Wolof dialects: "waw" means yes, and "kay" is an emphatic, so "waw-kay" is an emphatic yes. There is a record of a traveller from England who encountered such usage from a slave in Virginia in the 18th century[8]:


Kay, massa, you just leave me, me sit here, great fish jump up into da canoe, here he be, massa, fine fish, massa; me den very grad; den me sit very still, until another great fish jump into de canoe;...


Although this usage of "kay" significantly predates the initialism fad in Boston, there is no record that connects this particular Bantu word to the use O.K. among non-slave English speakers. However, some other English words such as jive (jev) and banana have uncontested Bantu or Wolof origins.


The word of assent in Occitan is òc (from Latin hoc), as opposed to oïl (< Lat. "hoc ille), the ancestor of the modern French oui, from the langue d'oïl of Northern France. However, before the word "okay" appeared in American English, the final consonant in Occitan òc tended to become silent, leading to the two possible pronunciations: [ɔ / ɔk]. In any case, it is very unlikely that this Occitan word is the origin of okay.


French fishermen, including those based in New Orleans, might sometimes have used the phrase "au quai", literally "to the quay", to mean that a fishing trip was successful (or went okay) and therefore there were fish to unload at the quay.


The term OK is also used by typesetters and people working in publishing. A manuscript that did not need any changes or corrections would be marked O.K. for Ohne Korrektur (German for 'without correction'). Other stories are that it comes from the British English word hoacky (the last load of the harvest), the Finnish word oikein ('that's right' or 'correct'), or the Scottish expression och aye (oh yes).


Yet another unsupported speculation is that the word derives from Spanish. English speakers may have directly translated the phrase 'or what' into Spanish, and the Spanish speakers have regarded it as an English dialectal feature. Or Spanish speakers may have used the phrase '¿o qué?' (or what?) in the end of many English sentences, letting English speakers interpret it as a dialectal 'right' and thus replied with an affirmative 'o qué'.


There may also be a tie in to Finnish immigrants to the US. The Finnish "oikea" tranlates to accurate, arrant, authentic, correct, due, exact, genuine, germain, just, positive, proper, pure, real, right (meaning also the direction), sound, true, veritable, regular, as in "Se on oikein" (It is correct or OK)


In Sesotho, the national language of Lesotho, the phrase "ho lokile," (pronounced "ho low-key-lay") means literally "that/this/it is good." This is an unlikely source for the English okay, but English-speaking students of Sesotho experience an eerie moment when introduced to this very common phrase. (Similarly, the phrase "e-a ntatae" means "yes, sir" - literally, "yes, father." It is pronounced very much like "A-on Daddy"!)


229.June 17th, 2007an·drog·y·nous, adj.- 1. Biology. Having both female and male characteristics; hermaphroditic.


2. Being neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine, as in dress, appearance, or behavior.


-Androgyny is a term derived from the Greek words andras (άνδρας) (meaning man) and gyne (γυνή) (meaning woman).


-Androgynous traits are those that either have no gender value, or have some aspects generally attributed to the opposite gender. Physiological androgyny (compare intersex), which deals with physical traits, is distinct from behavioral androgyny which deals with personal and social anomalies in gender, and from psychological androgyny, which is a matter of gender identity. A psychologically androgynous person is commonly known as an androgyne, although there is a politicized version known as genderqueer.


-To say that a culture or relationship is androgynous is to say that it lacks rigid gender roles and that the people involved display characteristics or partake in activities traditionally associated with the other gender. The term androgynous is often used to refer to a person whose look or build make determining their gender difficult but is generally not used as a synonym for actual intersexuality, transgender or two-spirit people. Occasionally, people who do not actually define themselves as androgynes adapt their physical appearance to look androgynous. This outward androgyny has been used as a fashion statement, and some of the milder forms of it (women wearing men's pants/men wearing skirts, for example) are not perceived as transgendered behavior.


-Androgyny in culture




* The 1970s rock genre, glam rock, which peaked in 1973, had players, such as David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Alice Cooper (see cover of Easy Action), Suzie Quatro and Queen, who dressed in an androgynous manner.

* The song and subsequent video "Androgyny" by Garbage.

* The Joan Jett song "Androgynous" talks about the concept.

* The song "Androgynous" by The Replacements


-Movies and TV


* The movie Orlando follows the young nobleman Orlando, who lives through four centuries in Britain and changes sex on the way, ending up as an androgynous being.

* In the movie Stargate, the Egyptian god Ra is portrayed as an androgynous figure.

* In the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled The Outcast, The Enterprise helps an androgynous race.

* Saturday Night Live's popular character "Pat", played by Julia Sweeney, was portrayed as an androgynous figure.

* The figure of Satan in Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ is presented as genderless. The character was portrayed by a woman, Rosalinda Celentano.

* The movie and the graphic novel 300 both showed the Persian king, Xerxes I as an androgynous figure.

* Both of the characters of Hedwig and Tommy in Hedwig And The Angry Inch were androgynous, although to different extremes.



228.June 16th, 2007nif·ty, adj. or n.-adj.


First-rate; great: a nifty idea.




A nifty person or thing, especially a clever joke.


-Synonyms: divine, fabulous, fantastic, fantastical, glorious, marvelous, sensational, splendid, superb, terrific, wonderful


-Origin: 1866


Sure, we had been engaged in a great Civil War, but some Americans were managing to have a nifty time in spite of it. One of them was Mark Twain, who used nifty in his depiction of slang used in Virginia City, Nevada, in the early 1860s. "As all the peoples of the earth had representative adventurers in the Silverland," Twain wrote in Roughing It (1872), "and as each adventurer had brought the slang of his nation or his locality with him, the combination made the slang of Nevada the richest and the most infinitely varied and copious that had ever existed anywhere in the world, perhaps, except in the mines of California in the 'early days.' Slang was the language of Nevada. It was hard to preach a sermon without it, and be understood."


Twain continues with the story of Buck Fanshaw's funeral. A fireman, Scotty Briggs, making arrangements for the funeral, says to the puzzled minister, "We are going to get the thing up regardless, you know. He was always nifty himself, and so you bet you his funeral ain't going to be no slouch--solid silver door-plate on his coffin, six plumes on the hearse...."


Another writer of the gold- and silver-fevered West, Bret Harte, employs nifty in a poem written in the 1860s, "The Tale of a Pony." He sets his humorous story in far-away Paris, but uses the American slang word to describe his young heroine's "new turn-out," or horse-drawn carriage: "Smart! You bet your life 'twas that! Nifty! (short for magnificat) " Harte's explanation of nifty is not meant to be taken seriously (in fact, the word's origins are unknown), but the word he and Twain presented to the public has found many nifty uses ever since.



227.June 15th, 2007man·go, n.- 1a. A tropical Asian evergreen tree (Mangifera indica) cultivated for its edible fruit.

b. The ovoid fruit of this tree, having a smooth rind, sweet juicy flesh, and a flat one-seeded stone. It is eaten ripe or pickled when green.


2. Any of various types of pickle, especially a pickled stuffed sweet pepper.


-This word originated in India


As early as 1582 English speakers were tasting mangos, if only in print. Nicholas Lichefield, translating Lopes de Castanheda's account of The Historie of the Discouerie and Conquest of the East Indias, mentioned Mangas as one of the fruits of India. In 1598 another translation, this one of John Huighen van Linschoten's Discours of Voyages into ye Easte & West Indies, informed English readers that "The Mangas is inwardly yellowish, but in cutting it is waterish.... The season when Mangas are ripe is in Lent."


It would be several centuries, however, before fresh mangos could be imported to English-speaking countries. Until then, the only way they could travel to England and America was as pickles. Prepared Indian style, a mango is not just an ordinary pickle but an experience. Saroj's Cookbook from present-day India has a recipe for Spicy Mango Pickle that starts with three mangoes chopped into chunks and adds mustard, fenugreek, aniseed, turmeric powder, a half cup of salt, and a half cup of red chili powder, topped off with a cup of oil. According to Saroj, "This pickle will not go bad for over a year even at room temperature."


Because mangos were first known to Americans in this pickled form, mango was sometimes used to mean any pickled fruit, even if not from the mango tree or from India. An American recipe from 1847 noted in the Dictionary of American Regional English calls for "melon mangoes" to be stuffed with horseradish, cucumbers, green beans, nasturtiums, onions, mustard seed, peppercorns, cloves, and all-spice before being pickled. Muskmelons, cucumbers, and green peppers were all made into "mangoes." Even today green peppers are sometimes called mangoes or mango peppers in the middle of the United States because they used to be pickled that way.


Malayalam is one of the major languages of India, and indeed one of the most populous in the world. About thirty-five million people in southwestern India speak Malayalam, a Dravidian language. Malayalam has also given us copra (dried coconut meat, 1584), teak (1698), and jackfruit (1830), which remains less known and less appreciated than the mango.


-The Nutritional Value for: mangos, raw -135 35 1 0 207 1 0.1


-Top 12 Mango Producers - 2005 measured in hectares

India 1,600,000

China 433,600

Thailand 285,000

Indonesia 273,440

Mexico 173,837

Philippines 160,000

Pakistan 151,500

Nigeria 125,000

Guinea 82,000

Brazil 68,000

Vietnam 53,000

Bangladesh 51,000

World Total 3,870,200


226.June 14th, 2007en·co·mi·um, n.- 1. Warm, glowing praise.


2. A formal expression of praise; a tribute.


-Greek choral hymn in celebration not of a god but of a man. By derivation the word means a song ‘at the kōmos’, in this context the revel at the end of a banquet, and so suggests a eulogy of the host and guests. The word came to cover eulogies in general; the first poems of a generally eulogistic nature so described were those of Simonides. The epinikion or epinician ode, a triumphal ode for victory in the Games, and the thrēnos, a funeral dirge, are developments of the encomium.


-When you like something very much, you don't have to suffice with simply praising it. You can give it an encomium, like the many that the TV series The Sopranos got during its eight-year run:


"It was sometimes hard to bear the encomiums — the saga of the New Jersey mob family has been likened to Cheever, Dickens and Shakespeare; scripts were pored over as if they were the Dead Sea Scrolls."


Link: The Sopranos - Television - New York Times


Posted June 12, 2007.


-Synonyms: acclaim, acclamation, applause, celebration, commendation, compliment, eulogy, kudos, laudation, panegyric, plaudit, praise


-Encomium is also the name of a Led Zeppelin tribute album released in 1995. The album featured covers of some of Led Zeppelin's most famous songs including "Misty Mountain Hop" (4 Non-Blondes), "Hey Hey, What Can I Say?" (Hootie & the Blowfish), and "Dancing Days" (Stone Temple Pilots), among many others (12 tracks in total). Gibbons17 14:01, 13 March 2007 (UTC)


-I deserve a encomium for getting a job yesterday. Guess who finally gets to be a big kid history teacher?


225.June 12th, 2007ke·no, n.-A game of chance, similar to lotto, that uses balls rather than counters.


-Origin: 1814


What passes for lotto in many state is actually a version of keno. The term keno comes from French quine, meaning "five winning numbers." Players mark off numbers printed on a keno ticket and the keno caller draws numbers on keno balls from a keno goose in order to determine if there are any winners. Originally the keno goose was a wooden chamber with a long neck wide enough to emit one numbered ball at a time when tipped. Nowadays, the goose is often a chamber with numbered ping-pong balls which are forced up at random through a tube by a blast of air.


Keno, a relative of bingo, comes from the gambling halls of New Orleans, which explains the French connection. It is a descendant of lotto, which originated in Italy in the sixteenth century. Originally, keno was intended for a large number of players, each paying the same price for a ticket, usually on a weekly schedule. A diary from 1814 makes the first mention of the game: "I employ'd in washing & mending my messmate playing keeno."


In present-day Las Vegas casinos, the game has been modified to some degree. It allows a smaller number of players to gamble a variable amount of money on a ticket in games that may be played several times in an hour. This has also been called racehorse keno because the ticket carried the names of horses rather than numbers in its early history.


-Synonyms: lotto, bingo, beano


224.June 11th, 2007ja·va, n.-Brewed coffee


-This word originated in Indonesia


There is coffee, and then there is java. Since 1850, java has been the nickname for the real thing, as opposed to the substitutes that sometimes go by the name of coffee. We find it that year in a book by Lewis Garrard called Wah-to-yah and the Taos Trail:. "To secure the good will and robes of the sensitive men, we had to offer our dear-bought Java at meal time." A character in a Harper's Magazine story of 1886 remarks, "I should admire to know what your coffee is made of. Reel old Javy don't make no brown stain."


Not that every cup of java is premium coffee. The nickname is widely applied to coffee of any sort, sometimes ironically. But it is always a reminder of the highly regarded coffee grown on the island of Java in Indonesia.


Coffee has its origin on the other side of the world from Indonesia, in Ethiopia, where the beans were mixed with fat as a day's meal for nomads a thousand years ago, and in Arabia, where coffee roasting was invented. But it was the Dutch in the seventeenth century who brought coffee to Indonesia because of its ideal climate: high altitudes, rainfall, and lack of frost. The coffees of Java became renowned the world over for their earthy, full-bodied taste.


Centuries later, in the computer age, Java and the reputation that comes with it were borrowed to name an innovative programming language.


Javanese, from which java comes, is one of the world's major languages. It is spoken by seventy-five million people in Indonesia, most of them on the island of Java. Javanese belongs to the Western Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family. Other words that have immigrated to English from Javanese include junk (ship, 1555), palanquin (1588), gong (1600), and batik (1880).


-Java (Indonesian, Javanese, and Sundanese: Jawa) is an island of Indonesia and the site of its capital city, Jakarta. Once the centre of powerful Hindu kingdoms and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies, Java now plays a dominant role in the economic and political life of Indonesia. With a population of 124 million, it is the most populous island in the world; it is also one of the most densely populated regions on Earth.


Formed mostly as the result of volcanic events Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island of Indonesia. A chain of volcanic mountains form an east-west spine along the island. It has three main languages, and most residents are bilingual, with Indonesian as their second language. While the majority of Javanese are Muslim, Java has a diverse mixture of religious beliefs and cultures.




The origins of the name 'Java' is not clear. One possibility is early colonists from India named the island after the jáwa-wut plant, which was said to be common in the island during the time, and that prior to colonization the island had different names. There are other possible sources: the word jaú and its variations mean "beyond" or "distant". and in Sanskrit yava means barley, a plant for which the island was famous.


Outsiders often refer to Java and the neighboring islands by the same name, or use names inconsistently for different islands. For example, Marco Polo refers Sumatra as "little Java" and Ptolemy refers to Sumatra as Jaba-diu.


222.June 9th, 2007ham·burg·er, n.- 1a. Ground meat, usually beef.

b. A patty of such meat.


2. A sandwich made with a patty of ground meat usually in a roll or bun.


-Origin: 1884


From the city of Hamburg, Germany, in the late 1800s Americans learned the fine art of grinding or chopping beef into tiny pieces and forming the pieces into a patty for cooking like a steak. At first it was simply called a Hamburg steak. But frequently there was an -er at the end of Hamburg because that was the way the Germans would say it; they add -er to the name of a city to indicate something or someone belonging to it. Thus the kind of sausage used in a hot dog was called a frankfurter (1894) after the city of Frankfurt am Main, Germany, from which it came, and thus President John Kennedy in 1963 said to the citizens of divided Berlin, ">"Ich bin ein Berliner."" (Contrary to legend, his words did not mean "I am a creampuff," any more than "I am a New Yorker" would mean "I am an issue of a well-known weekly magazine.")


The nutritional value of the hamburger steak was promoted in the early 1900s by a Dr. Salisbury, from whom it acquired the more elegant name of Salisbury steak. But the popularity of hamburger really soared when the convenient practice of putting it in a bun became widespread. This was at first called the hamburger sandwich, but when it became the usual way of serving ground beef it was simply called the hamburger, and the bunless version had to be distinguished by terms like hamburger meat or hamburger patty.


As the hamburger gained in popularity, variations were invented. In the 1930s, someone who added cheese invented the name cheeseburger. That hybrid ended the patty's association with the city of Hamburg. Nowadays the hamburger is one of America's favorite fast foods, and plain burger is the usual term for it. A prefix can be added to call attention to a topping, ingredient, or style. The results have included names for chiliburgers, frankburgers, pickleburgers, and oliveburgers; lamburgers, hashburgers, nutburgers, and veggieburgers; California burgers, bar-b-burgers, twinburgers, and circus burgers.


-The invention of the twentieth-century hamburger sandwich is the result of long developmental processes. Beginning in the fifteenth century, minced beef was a valued delicacy throughout Europe. In northern Germany, lightly fried chopped meat was called Frikadelle. Similar words are found in other European languages, and the root may be "farce," deriving from Latin farcere (to stuff). In English the term "forcemeat" was defined by Randle Holme in "The Academy of Armory" (Chester, 1688) as "meat with a stuffing of herbs, or other things made to that purpose."


Hashed beef was made into sausage in several different regions of Europe. In places such as Bologna, Russia, and Hamburg, beef was often combined with other meats and other ingredients. The German city of Hamburg was known for its beef sausage, which migrated to England by the mid-eighteenth century. One recipe, titled "Hamburgh Sausage," appeared in Hannah Glasse's 1758 The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. It consisted of chopped beef, suet, and spices. Although the author recommended that this sausage be served with toasted bread, no evidence suggests that the sausage was served as a sandwich.


Hannah Glasse's cookbook was also among the most common in Colonial America, although it was not published in the United States until 1805. This American edition did contain the "Hamburgh Sausage" recipe with slight revisions.


The frequently cited "Hamburg Steak" on the Delmonico's restaurant menu dated 1834 was neither served as a sandwich nor composed of ground beef. With the popularization of the meat grinder in America about 1850, ground beef became a possibility.


-The Nutritional Value for: hamburger


4oz patty 1 sandwich 445 calories 38 carbs 25 protein 71 cholesterol 21 fat 7.1 sat. fat


-Ingredients of the meat of the hamburger


In most countries, a commercial hamburger usually contains no ham or other pork product. It is made primarily of ground beef, although it may also contain spices and other ingredients. (In the 1930s ground liver was sometimes added to the mixture). This is also known as a beef hamburger or a "beefburger." A beef hamburger that contains no other ingredients besides the beef itself is often referred to as an "all beef hamburger" or "all beef patties." Some prepare their patties with egg, bread crumbs, onions or onion soup mix, Worcestershire sauce, parsley or other ingredients.


Recent years have seen the increasing popularity of new types of "burgers" in which alternatives to ground beef are used as the primary ingredient. For example, a turkey burger uses ground turkey meat, a chicken burger uses either ground chicken meat or chicken filets. A buffalo burger uses ground meat from a bison and some mix cow and buffalo meat, thus creating a "Beefalo burger" and an ostrich burger is made from ground seasoned ostrich meat. A bambi burger uses ground venison from deer.


-Veggie Burgers


A veggie burger, garden burger, or tofu burger uses a meat analogue, a meat substitute such as tofu, TVP, seitan (wheat gluten), quorn or an assortment of vegetables, ground up and mashed into patties. In the last several years Chili's and several frozen food distributors have created a burger made up of black beans that closely replicates the smokey flavor of beef,


Many of these types of burgers are lower in saturated fat or calories than traditional hamburgers.


-Reading Fast Food Nation will give you a whole new perspective on hamburgers.


221.June 8th, 2007gin·ger, n. or v.- 1. A plant (Zingiber officinale) of tropical southeast Asia having yellowish-green flowers and a pungent aromatic rhizome.


2. The rhizome of this plant, often dried and powdered and used as a spice. Also called gingerroot.


3a. Any of several related plants having variously colored, often fragrant flowers.

b. Wild ginger.


4. A strong brown.


5. Informal. Spirit and liveliness; vigor.




1. To spice with ginger.


2. Informal. To make lively: A steel drum band gingered up the party.


-This word originated in India


What's life without ginger? Not very spicy. Consider Ginger Spice, the former Spice Girl who once was "naughty, bossy, totally independent, excellent fun," not to mention the subject of provocative nude photos. After she left the group in 1998 to became plain Geri Haliwell again (and a United Nations "ambassador for good will"), you could find the BBC describing her as "demure." Allure magazine admiringly said she "looks like a schoolgirl."


And what would the English language be without the spice of ginger? Fortunately, for the past millennium that has been only a hypothetical question. You can read about ginger in English medical treatises of about the year 1000. Here's one prescription: Take white gum, aloe, myrrh, ginger, and cumin; grind them together and add honey, as much as needed. Put this on a cloth, fasten it over your stomach, and your weariness will go away. Or, if you really really want a cure for a pain in the thigh, mix a drink of ginger spiced with appletree, thornbush, ash, aspen, thistle, elecampane, bishop's wort, ivy, betony, ribwort, radish, alder, white gum, costmary, nettle, and a couple of other plants which we can't identify today. By the time you find all those, your pain will likely be gone.


Not many cures involved ginger, since it had to be imported from warmer climes. In those days, a pound of ginger would cost you the price of a sheep. Much later, we learned to speak gingerly (1519), a word that seems to come from an unrelated French source meaning "delicate" but which took its English shape and spelling from the well-known spice.


Ginger now is grown around the world in tropical and subtropical areas. Its slightly sweet, slightly sharp, slightly citrusy rhizome is packed with nutrients, and ginger is used as a remedy for fever, nausea, arthritis, heart problems, and ulcers.


Like ginger itself, our word for it came from India. We can trace it back from English to French, from French to Latin, and from Latin to Greek, which got it from one of the ancient Indo-Iranian languages of our Indo-European language family, which in turn seems to have obtained it from a non-Indo-European language of the Dravidian family. Of the many languages in this chain, we will allow credit here to Pali, an Indo-Iranian descendant of Sanskrit which is still used in India, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka for Buddhist scriptures but is otherwise no longer spoken. Also possibly from Pali are the gem beryl (1305) and the palanquin (1588) for transportation.


-An important spice or condiment; also the plant from which it is obtained, Zingiber officinale, of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). The plant is a native of southeastern Asia. It is an erect perennial herb having thick, scaly, branched rhizomes which contain starch, gums, an oleoresin (gingerin) responsible for the pungent taste, and an essential oil which imparts the aroma. Ginger is used in medicine, in culinary preparations, and for flavoring beverages such as ginger ale and ginger beer. The plant is grown in China, Japan, Sierra Leone, Jamaica, Australia (Queensland), and Indonesia.


-Ginger may cause heartburn.


-Synonyms: animation, bounce, brio, dash, élan, esprit, life, liveliness, pertness, sparkle, spirit, verve, vigor, vim, vivaciousness, vivacity, zip.


220.June 6th, 2007ed·i·to·ri·al, n. or adj.- 1. An article in a publication expressing the opinion of its editors or publishers.


2. A commentary on television or radio expressing the opinion of the station or network.




1. Of or relating to an editor or editing: an editorial position with a publishing company; an editorial policy prohibiting the use of unnamed sources.


2. Of or resembling an editorial, especially in expressing an opinion: an editorial comment.


Origin: 1830


The newspaper is not an American invention, nor is the magazine, but we can claim credit for an important step in the development of both: the editorial. This is not to say that Americans were the first to think of letting the editor's opinion appear in print. Quite the opposite: until the advent of the editorial, the editor's opinion permeated the publication, mixing inextricably with the news. Journals of the day did indeed report news, but they did so in the service of propaganda for a particular party or policy. In that way they were like most present-day newsletters.


Early in the nineteenth century, however, Americans began to develop the notion of journalistic objectivity. It was not only possible, but perhaps advantageous, to separate the news from the editor's opinion. There were idealistic reasons for this: the reader would get the news without fear or favor, and opinion would be labeled as such. But there were also practical reasons, without which the idealistic could not have prevailed. To present the news as plain fact makes it of interest even to those who do not share the editor's opinion. And, as we in the "information age" know well, it is information that people will pay for, not opinion. The labeling of opinion to separate it from news is now so ingrained in American Media (1921) that lapses are targets for criticism.


Editorial was the label we used as long ago as 1830 to designate a statement of the editor's opinion. "The great green table in the centre groaning under the weight of editorials, and friendly correspondence," was mentioned in the Collegian of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1830. Even earlier, in 1802, we find reference to "the editorial part of the paper."


By the turn of the twentieth century, newspapers had designated a separate editorial page for editorials and letters to the editor. Even the location of the editorial page is distinctive: it is always a left-hand page, usually in the front section. Modern newspapers have expanded this space by using the facing page for lengthier opinions by columnists and guest writers. They call this op-ed, that is, opposite the editorial page, a feature introduced by Herbert Bayard Swope in the New York World of the 1920s.


219.June 4th, 2007dunk, n. or v.-



1. To plunge into liquid; immerse.


2. To dip (food) into a liquid food, such as a beverage or sauce, prior to eating.


3. Basketball. To slam (a ball) through the basket from above.




1. To submerge oneself briefly in water.


2. Basketball. To slam a ball through the basket from above.




1. The act or an instance of dunking.


2. A liquid or creamy food into which other foods are dunked.


3. Basketball. A dunk shot.


-Synonyms: dip, douse, duck, immerge, immerse, souse, submerge, submerse


-This word originated in United States


We are a nation of dunkers. What would a doughnut be without coffee, or maybe milk, to dunk it in? Who would buy biscotti without a mocha or latte for dunking? And where would basketball be without the slam-dunk? Thanks to a small, serious band of immigrants who came to North America more than two centuries ago, we don't have to worry about those questions.


These immigrants were members of the eighteenth-century Brethren movement who fled persecution in Germany and settled in William Penn's tolerant colony of Pennsylvania. There, unmolested, they could practice their back-to-the-Bible, New Testament-centered religion. There are still Brethren churches today, one of their associations having the motto "The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible."


The German word tunken means "immerse," and the Brethren were known as Tunker because they took baptism seriously and insisted on complete immersion. And proper baptism required not just one but three dunkings, one for each of the persons of the Trinity. The Tunker baptized only adults because they wanted them to understand the significance of the ceremony.


In the distinctive variety of German that these Tunkers developed in Pennsylvania, the T became a D, and they became Dunkers of souls. There is an English-language reference to Dunkers as early as 1744. The name remained unchanged for nearly two more centuries, but in the twentieth century it dipped into everyday use. A 1919 magazine article titled "Some Notes on Dunking" includes the remark, "It should be remembered that the really fastidious dunker never burns his thumb." Today there is nothing sacred about dunk.


The language the Dunkers spoke became part of what we call Pennsylvania German. It is an offshoot of the German language, a mixture of dialects of Rhenish Palatinate Low German with High German and some English, so that it does not sound like anything spoken in Germany and indeed is hard for a German to understand. Today about 85,000 people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and a number of other states speak one of the several dialects of Pennsylvania German. Like German and English, it belongs to the Germanic branch of our Indo-European language family.


Other words English has acquired from Pennsylvania German include hex (1830), spritz (1902), and snollygoster (1860), a name for a self-seeking politician. Pennsylvania German is also the source of some words in Pennsylvania regional English, including smearcase (1829), another name for cottage cheese, and gumband (1959), another name for rubber band.


218.June 3rd, 2007ca·boose, n.- 1. The last car on a freight train, having kitchen and sleeping facilities for the train crew.


2. Obsolete.

a. A ship's galley.

b. Any of various cast-iron cooking ranges used in such galleys during the early 19th century.

c. An outdoor oven or fireplace.


-The first written evidence of the usage of caboose in a railroad context appeared in 1859 (not 1861, as cited by the the Online Etymology Dictionary), as part of court records in conjunction with a lawsuit filed against the New York and Harlem Railway. This suggests that caboose was probably in circulation among North American railroaders well before the mid-nineteenth century.


The railroad historian, David L. Joslyn (a retired Southern Pacific Railroad draftsman), has connected caboose to kabhuis, a Middle Dutch word referring to the compartment on a sailing ship's main deck in which meals were prepared. Kabhuis is believed to have entered the Dutch language circa 1747 as a derivation of the obsolete Low German word kabhuse, which also described a cabin erected on a ship's main deck. However, further research indicates that this relationship was more indirect than that described by Joslyn.


Eighteenth century French naval records make reference to a cambose or camboose, which term described the food preparation cabin on a ship's main deck, as well as the range within. The latter sense apparently entered American naval terminology around time of the construction of the USS Constitution, whose wood-burning food preparation stove is officially referred to as the camboose. These nautical usages are now obsolete: camboose and kabhuis became the galley when meal preparation was moved below deck, camboose the stove became the galley range, and kabuis the cookshack morphed into kombuis, which means kitchen in Afrikaans.


It is likely that camboose was borrowed by American sailors who had come into contact with their French counterparts during the American Revolution (recall that France was an ally and provided crucial naval support during the conflict). A New English Dictionary citation from the 1940s indicates that camboose entered English language literature in a New York Chronicle article from 1805 describing a New England shipwreck, in which it was reported that "...[survivor] William Duncan drifted aboard the canboose." From this it could be concluded that camboose was part of American English by the time the first railroads were constructed. As the first cabooses were wooden shanties erected on flatcars (as early as the 1830s they would have resembled the cookshack on the (relatively flat) deck of a ship, explaining the adoption and subsequent corruption of the nautical term.


There is some disagreement on what constitutes the proper plural form of the word "caboose". Similar words, like goose (pluralized as "geese"), and moose (pluralized as "moose", no change) point to the reason for the difficulty in coming to a consensus. The most common pluralization of caboose is "cabooses," with some arguing that this is incorrect, and, as with the word moose, it should stay the same in plural form—that is, "caboose" should represent one or many. A less-seriously used pluralization of the word is "cabeese," following the pluralization rule for the word goose, which is "geese." This particular form is almost universally used in an attempt at humor (as, presumably, is "cabice").


It was common for railroads to officially refer to cabooses as "cabin cars".


-Preservation and reuse of cabooses


Although the caboose has largely fallen out of use, some are still retained by railroads in a reserve capacity. These cabooses are typically used in and around railyards. Other uses for the caboose include "special" trains, where the train is involved in some sort of railway maintence, or as part of survey trains that inspect remote rail lines after natural disasters to check for damage. Others have been modified for use in research roles to investigate complaints from residents or business owners regarding trains in certain locations. Finally, some are coupled to trains for special events, including historical tours.


Cabooses have also become popular for collection by railroad museums and for city parks and other civic uses, such as visitor centers. Several railroad museums roster large numbers of cabooses, including the Illinois Railway Museum with nineteen examples and the Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola, California with seventeen. Many shortline railroads still use cabooses today. Large railroads also use cabooses as "shoving platforms" or in switching service where it is convenient to have crew at the rear of the train.


Cabooses have been re-used as garden offices in private residences, and as portions of restaurants. Also, caboose motels have appeared, with the old cars being reborn as cabins.


217.June 2nd, 2007frat·ri·cide, n.- 1. The killing of one's brother or sister.


2. One who has killed one's brother or sister.


-From the Latin word frater, meaning: "brother" and cide meaning to kill


-The Washington Post made an unusual use of the word fratricide (in this case meaning death by friendly fire) in a report on Pat Tillman, the former NFL star who quit pro football to enlist in the army after 9/11 and was killed in Afghanistan:


"Army officials here were unaware that his death on April 22, 2004, was fratricide when they notified the family that Tillman had been shot"


Link: Tillman's Parents Are Critical Of Army


Posted May 24, 2005


-Related concepts to fraticide are sororicide (the killing of one's sister), child murder (the killing of an unrelated child), infanticide (the killing of a child under the age of one year), filicide (the killing of one's child), patricide (the killing of one's father) and matricide (the killing of one's mother).


The term may also be used to refer to friendly fire incidents. In a United States military context, it may also refer to an incident where the catastrophic failure and disintegration of one jet engine in a twin-engined fighter aircraft causes the damage or destruction of the second engine, and possibly leads to the loss of the entire aircraft.


-Fraticide in legend and fiction


* Cain kills his brother Abel in the Book of Genesis.

* Medea killed her brother Apsyrtus in order to help Jason escape Colchis after obtaining the Golden Fleece. (Greek myth)

* In Völuspá, the forecast of the world in Nordic mythology, one of the signs of the end of the world is an increase in fratricides.

* Romulus killed Remus, his twin brother and co-founder of Rome.

* Osiris, one of the principal deities of Egyptian mythology, was murdered by his evil brother Set. His wife and sister Isis resurrected him and he became the god of the dead and the underworld.

* Eteocles and Polynices kill each other in ensuing battle over the throne of Thebes, Greece in Antigone (Sophocles)

* When both change into different armor, Sir Balin and Sir Balan kill each other in a duel, with Balin shortly outliving his brother and realizing what had happened. (Arthurian Legend)

* Claudius killed King Hamlet, his brother, to marry his sister-in-law, Gertrude, in order to become King of Denmark in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

* Michael Corleone (in The Godfather, Part II) has his brother Fredo shot.

* Scar murders his older brother Mufasa in order to usurp his throne in The Lion King


-Known or suspected historical fratricides


* Absalom, son of King David, killed his half-brother Amnon for having raped their sister Tamar in the Book of Samuel.

* Cleopatra of Egypt may have had her younger brother and co-ruler Ptolemy XIV poisoned in 44 BC in order to replace him with Ptolemy XV Caesarion, her son by Julius Caesar.

* Caracalla, Roman emperor (188-217), arranged the murder of his younger brother and joint ruler, Publius Septimius Geta, in 212.

* Selim I, sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1512-1520), had all possible competitors for the sultanate assassinated, including two of his brothers, his nephews, and all of his sons but one, Suleiman I.

* Cesare Borgia (1475-1507) was suspected of being involved in the assassination of his brother Giovanni, duke of Benevento and Gandia.

* Shaka, king of the Zulu, arranged to have his half-brother and rival for chieftainship Sigujana assassinated in 1816.

* George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence (1449-1478) was executed on the orders of his brother, King Edward IV of England, for treason at the Tower of London.

* Aurangzeb, Mughal emperor of India (1658-1707), warred with his brothers for succession after their father’s incapacitation. He prevailed, and had his oldest brother executed and the other imprisoned.

* Cambyses II, king of Persia (530-522 BC), had his younger brother Smerdis murdered in order to maintain his control over the Persian Empire, circa 523 BC.

* Atahualpa, the last Inca ruler of Peru (1532-1533), disputed his half brother Huáscar’s inheritance of half of the Incan empire. After being defeated in the battle fought near Chimborazo in 1532, Huáscar was drowned on his brother’s orders.

* Roger Troutman of the band Zapp was probably killed by his brother Larry Troutman during an argument in 1999.

* Ronald DeFeo, Jr. killed his four siblings and his parents in what would later become known as "The Amityville Horror House"

* Dipendra of Nepal (1971-2001) reportedly massacred much of his family at a royal dinner on June 1, 2001, including his parents, sister, and brother Prince Nirajan


216.June 1st, 2007cre·den·tial, n. or v.- 1. That which entitles one to confidence, credit, or authority.


2. credentials Evidence or testimonials concerning one's right to credit, confidence, or authority: The new ambassador presented her credentials to the president.




To supply with credentials


-From the Medieval Latin word crēdentiālis, meaning giving authority, from crēdentia, trust.


-Synonyms: certificate, certification, credentials


-A credential is an attestation of qualification, competence, or authority issued to an individual by a third party with a relevant de jure or de facto authority or assumed competence to do so.


Examples of credentials include academic diplomas, academic degrees, and certifications, security clearances, identification documents, badges, passwords and user names, keys, powers of attorney, and so on.


Types and documentation of credentials


A person holding a credential is usually given documentation or secret knowledge (e.g., a password or key) as proof of the credential. Sometimes this proof (or a copy of it) is held by a third, trusted party. While in some cases a credential may be as simple as a paper membership card, in other cases, such as diplomacy, it may involve presentation of letters directly from the issuer of the credential detailing its faith in the person representing them in a negotiation or meeting.


Counterfeiting of credentials is a constant and serious problem, irrespective of the type of credential. A great deal of effort goes into finding methods to reduce or prevent counterfeiting. In general, the greater the value of the credential (perceived or real), the greater the problem with counterfeiting and the greater the lengths to which the issuer of the credential must go to prevent fraud.


-The academic world makes very extensive use of credentials, such as diplomas, certificates, and degrees, in order to attest to the completion of specific training or education programs by students, and to attest to their successful completion of tests and exams.


Documentation of academic credentials usually consists of a printed, formal document designed to last a lifetime without deterioration. The issuing institution often maintains a record of the credential as well. Academic credentials are normally valid for the lifetime of the person to whom they are issued.


-I am going to turn in my paperwork for my teaching credential today, my final step in this long, crazy process!!



215.May 31st, 2007road trip, n.-a journey via automobile, sometimes unplanned or impromptu


-It is not known exactly when Road Trips were ‘invented’, but technically they have been around as long as man has had roads to travel and vehicles to travel with. The modern road trip arose in post-World War II America, in the early 1950’s. Automobiles were becoming more and more prevalent in society, and families were now taking their holiday by car.


Although the modern road trip can trace its roots to post-WWII America, road tripping in general began long before the great war.


The first successful transcontinental trip by automobile took place in 1903, and was piloted by H. Nelson Jackson, Sewall Crocker, and a canine by the name of Bud. The trip was completed using a 1903 Winton Touring Car, dubbed “Vermont” by Jackson. The trip took a total of 63 days between San Francisco and New York, and cost US$8,000. The total cost included items such as food, gasoline, lodging, tires, parts, other supplies, and the cost of the Winton.


Although many would make the trip after 1903, the first woman to cross the American landscape by car was Alice Ramsey and 3 women passengers in 1909. Ramsey was followed in 1910 by Blanche Stuart Scott, who drove the opposite direction, departing from New York on May 16, and arriving in San Francisco on July 23, and became the first woman to drive the route East-to-West.


-New highways in the early 1900’s helped propel automobile travel, primarily cross-country travel. Commissioned in 1926, and completely paved near the end of the 1930’s, Route 66 is a living icon of early road tripping.


Motorists ventured cross-country for holiday as well as migrating to California and other locations. The modern road trip began to take shape in the late 1930’s and into the 1940’s, ushering in an era of a nation on the move.


-The 1950’s saw rapid growth of ownership of automobiles by American families. The automobile, now a trusted mode of transportation, was being widely used for not only commuting, but leisure trips as well.


As a result of this new vacation-by-road style, many businesses began to cater to road-weary travelers. Such businesses include the Howard Johnsons hotel chain, among others. These new types of establishments sought to provide travelers of American highways one thing: Consistency. By creating business chains, restaurants and hotels were soon able to provide not only a familiar name, but familiar quality with travelers of American roadways.


More reliable vehicles and services made long distance road trips easier for families, as the length of time required to cross the continent was reduced from months to days. Within one week, the average family can travel to destinations across North America.


The greatest change to the American road trip was the start, and subsequent expansion, of the Interstate Highway System. The higher speeds and controlled access nature of the Interstate allowed for greater distances to be traveled in less time and with improved safety as highways became divided.


-I got back late from a road trip yesterday so that's why there was no word of the day, but they resume today :).


214.May 29th, 2007bam·boo·zle, v.-To take in by elaborate methods of deceit; hoodwink


-Synonyms: beguile, betray, bluff, cozen, deceive, delude, double-cross, dupe, fool, hoodwink, humbug, mislead, take in, trick


-Antonyms: be honest


-This word originated in Terra Incognita


The etymological experts are bamboozled by this one. No one knows where it came from or how long it had been around when it appeared on the London stage on November 26, 1702, and in print in the same play in 1703. This was a drama entitled She Wou'd and She Wou'd Not by the notable but not always esteemed Colley Cibber. In the second act, a character complains about "Sham Proofs, that they propos'd to bamboozle me with," and in the fourth, there is mention of "the old Rogue" who "knows how to bamboozle."


Like most new words, bamboozle encountered resistance. In a famous essay on the "continual corruption of our English tongue," Jonathan Swift, author of such notable works as Gulliver's Travels, complains about "certain words invented by some pretty fellows, such as banter, bamboozle, country put, and kidney." He gave an example of the "present polite way of writing": "'Tis said the French king will bamboozl us agen, which causes many speculations. The Jacks and others of that kidney, are very uppish and alert upon't, as you may see by their phizz's." (Country put was long ago put out of its misery; it refers to a country bumpkin. Kidney in this sense means temperament or disposition, and phizz is physiognomy or face, both rarely used nowadays. But banter and bamboozle are going strong.)


Bamboozle resembles the ten-dollar words introduced in the exuberant American frontier in the 1800s, words like sockdolager (1830), hornswoggle (1829), and skedaddle (1861)--all also "origin unknown." But bamboozle was a full century earlier, so it must have had a different source. The early 1700s were a time when words from all over the world were immigrating to English, including others discussed in this book: catamaran from Tamil, shaman from Evenki, mongoose from Marathi, marimba from Kimbundu, and dory from Miskito.


It's even possible that bamboozle was entirely made up out of thin air by an English speaker. But most new words do not come from nowhere; they are either borrowed from other languages or created by combining and reshaping current words. As more documents of the period, and more languages, are investigated, the source of bamboozle may one day be clear. Meanwhile, it stands in this book for all the words whose origin is yet unknown.


And they are legion. There are hundreds in the etymologies of a desk dictionary, thousands in bigger books. If "origin unknown" were a language, it would rank behind only French, Latin, Greek, and the older versions of English itself as a contributor to English. Here are a few of the other unknowns: cuddle (1520), askance (1530), hunch (1581), sedan (1635), banter (1676), condom (1706), tantrum (1714), fake (1775), blizzard (1829), jazz (1913), and bozo (1920). Perhaps it is appropriate that puzzle (1602) is one of the words whose source is a mystery.


213.May 28th, 2007Me·mo·ri·al Day, n.-May 30, observed in the United States in commemoration of those members of the armed forces killed in war. It is officially observed on the last Monday in May. Also called Decoration Day.


-Memorial Day (May 30), or Decoration Day, began in 1868 when members of the Grand Army of the Republic heeded the request of their commander, General John A. Logan, to decorate the graves of their fallen compatriots. It has since become the day on which the United States honors the dead of all its wars and is observed as a legal holiday in most states. National services are held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia. In 2000 President Bill Clinton asked the nation to endorse a humanitarian organization's addition of a moment of silence to the holiday, designating 3 P.M. local time for a minute of quiet reflection on the meaning of America's war dead.


-Many people observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. Another tradition is to fly the U.S. Flag at half-staff from dawn until noon local time.


-In addition to remembrance, Memorial Day is also a time for picnics, family gatherings, and sporting events. Some Americans view Memorial Day as the unofficial beginning of summer and Labor Day as the unofficial end of the season. The national Click it or ticket campaign ramps up beginning Memorial Day weekend, noting the beginning of the most dangerous season for auto accidents and other safety related incidents. The USAF "101 Critical days of summer" also begin on this day as well. Some Americans use Memorial Day weekend to also honor any family members who have died, not just servicemen. Christian Church services on the Sunday prior to Memorial Day may include a reading of the names of members who have died during the previous twelve months.


212.May 27th, 2007su·per·he·ro, n.- A figure, especially in a comic strip or cartoon, endowed with superhuman powers and usually portrayed as fighting evil or crime.


-Many superheroes have a colorful and distinctive name and costume. A female superhero is sometimes called a superheroine. Since the 1938 debut of Superman, the character who inspired the term superhero and did much to define it, the stories of superheroes — ranging from episodic adventures to decades-long sagas — have dominated American comic books and crossed over into several other forms of media.


-The origins of superheroes can be found in several prior forms of fiction, dating to at least the superhuman exploits of the warrior-king Gilgamesh in the Babylonian epic poem "Epic of Gilgamesh". Many share traits with with more historically recent protagonists of Victorian literature, such as The Scarlet Pimpernel and Sherlock Holmes. Penny dreadfuls, dime novels and other popular fiction of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries featured mysterious, swashbuckling heroes with distinct costumes, secret identities and altruistic missions. These include Zorro, the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh and Spring Heeled Jack, who first emerged as an urban legend. Likewise, John Carter of Mars and Tarzan were heroes with unusual abilities who fought larger-than-life foes.


-Pulp magazine crime fighters, such as Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Spider, and comic strip characters, such as Hugo Hercules, Popeye and The Phantom were later, more direct influences.


-Extraordinary powers and abilities, relevant skills, and/or advanced equipment. Although superhero powers vary widely, superhuman strength, the ability to fly and enhancements of the five senses are all common. Some superheroes, such as Batman, The Question and Captain America, possess no superpowers but have mastered skills such as martial arts and forensic sciences. Others have special equipment, such as Iron Man’s powered armor suits and Green Lantern’s power ring.


* A strong moral code, including a willingness to risk one’s own safety in the service of good without expectation of reward. Such a code often includes a refusal to kill.

* A motivation, such as a sense of responsibility (e.g. Spider-Man), a formal calling (e.g., Wonder Woman), a personal vendetta against criminals (e.g., Punisher), a strong belief in justice and humanitarian service (e.g. Superman).

* A secret identity that protects the superhero’s friends and family from becoming targets of his or her enemies (exceptions such as the Fantastic Four notwithstanding), although many superheroes have a confidant (usually a friend or relative who has been sworn to secrecy). Most superheroes use a descriptive or metaphoric code name for their public deeds.

* A flamboyant and distinctive costume, often used to conceal the secret identity (see Common costume features).

* An underlying motif or theme that affects the hero's name, costume, personal effects, and other aspects of his or her character (e.g., Batman resembles a large bat, calls his specialized automobile, which also looks bat-like, the "Batmobile" and uses several devices given a "bat" prefix).

* A trademark weapon, such as Wonder Woman’s "Lasso of Truth" or Captain America’s shield.

* A supporting cast of recurring characters, including the hero's friends, co-workers and/or love interests, who may or may not know of the superhero's secret identity. Often the hero's personal relationships are complicated by this dual life, a common theme in Spider-Man stories in particular.

* A number of enemies that he/she fights repeatedly, including an archenemy who is more troubling than the others. Often a nemesis is a superhero's opposite or foil (e.g., Sabretooth embraces his savage instincts while Wolverine tries to control his).

* Independent wealth (e.g., Batman or the X-Men's benefactor Professor X) or an occupation that allows for minimal supervision (e.g., Superman's civilian job as a reporter).

* A headquarters or base of operations, usually kept hidden from the general public (e.g., Superman's Fortress of Solitude, Batman's Batcave).

* An "origin story" that explains the circumstances by which the character acquired his or her abilities as well as his or her motivation for becoming a superhero. Many origin stories involve tragic elements and/or freak accidents that result in the development of the hero's abilities.


-There have been successful superheroes in other countries most of whom share the conventions of the American model. Examples include Cybersix from Argentina, Captain Canuck from Canada and the heroes of AK Comics from Egypt.


-Japan is the only country that nears the US in output of superheroes. The earlier of these wore scarves either in addition to or as a substitute for capes and many wear helmets instead of masks. Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, Metal Heroes and Kikaider have become popular in Japanese tokusatsu live-action shows, and Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Casshan, The Guyver, and Sailor Moon are staples of Japanese anime and manga.


-In 1947, Filipino writer/cartoonist Mars Ravelo introduced the first Asian superheroine, Darna, a young Filipina country girl who found a mystic talisman-pebble from another planet that allows her to transform into an adult warrior-woman. She was the first solo superheroine in the world to get her own feature-length motion picture in 1951 and has become a cultural institution in the Philippines.


B-ritish superheroes began appearing in the Golden Age shortly after the first American heroes became popular in the UK. Most original British heroes were confined to anthology comics magazines such as Lion, Valiant, Warrior, and 2000AD. Marvelman, known as Miracleman in North America, is probably the most well known original British superhero (although he was based heavily on Captain Marvel). Popular in the 1960s, British readers grew fond of him and contemporary UK comics writers Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman have revived Marvelman in series that display a jaundiced and cynical slant on heroism, an attitude prevalent in newer British heroes, such as Zenith.


-In France, where comics are known as Bande Dessinée, literally drawn strip, and regarded as a proper art form, Editions Lug began translating and publishing Marvel comic books in anthology magazines in 1969. Soon Lug started presenting its own heroes alongside Marvel stories. Some closely modeled their U.S. counterparts, while others indulged in weirder attributes, such as the shape-changing alien Wampus. Many were short-lived, while others rivaled their inspirations in longevity and are now the subject of reprints and revivals.


-In India, Raj Comics, founded in 1984, owns a number of superheroes, such as Nagraj, Doga and Super Commando Dhruva, that, while somewhat akin to Western superheroes, carry Hindu ideas of morality and incorporate Indian myths.




211.May 26th, 2007bong, n.-A water pipe that consists of a bottle or a vertical tube partially filled with liquid and a smaller tube ending in a bowl, used often in smoking narcotic substances.


-This word originated in Thailand


As if they did not have satisfaction enough from home-grown hallucinogenics like jimsonweed (named for Jamestown, Virginia) and cannabis, speakers of English have turned for inspiration to Asia. In the nineteenth century the English fought wars to keep China open to opium. In the twentieth, marijuana users enhanced their experience with a device from Thailand known as the bong.


For those who missed the psychedelic trips of the 1960s and 1970s and who just say No nowadays, bong may need explanation. It is a water pipe designed to cool the smoke from a substance (like marijuana) burned in a bowl by routing the stem through a vertical tube or bottle partly filled with water or other liquid. The word is a recent import to English, noted in dictionaries only as far back as 1971.


Bong comes from Thai, the most widely spoken of the languages in the Tai-Kadai language family. It has about twenty-five million speakers in Thailand, where it is the national language. One other word from the Thai or Siamese language is the word Siamese itself. It designates a blue-eyed breed of cat from Thailand, mentioned in English as early as 1871, and a bright-colored tropical fish known as a Siamese fighter, mentioned as early as 1929. But the most famous phrase using this name is Siamese twins (1829). The first Siamese twins were really twins from Siam (now Thailand): Chang and Eng, who lived from 1811 to 1872 and traveled for many years as prime exhibits in P. T. Barnum's circus. Now that term is used for any twins who are born with their bodies joined.



210.May 25th, 2007ac·ro·nym, n.-A word formed from the initial letters of a name, such as WAC for Women's Army Corps, or by combining initial letters or parts of a series of words, such as radar for radio detecting and ranging.


-Origin: 1943


As wartime production of names using initials reached an all-time high, it was high time to give a name to the growing arsenal of alphabetic abbreviations. That need was met in a note in the February 1943 issue of American Notes and Queries: "Your correspondent who asks about words made up of the initial letters or syllables of other words may be interested in knowing that I have seen such words called by the name acronym, which is useful, and clear to anyone who knows a little Greek."


Greek? Yes, acronym follows the model of other designations for types of words, like synonym, antonym, and homonym. The -nym means "a kind of word"; acro- means "top, peak, or initial," as in acrobat or acrophobia. Sometimes scholars distinguish between initialisms, which are simply a series of letters pronounced one after the other, like USA (1795 as "United States of America," 1848 as "U.S. Army"), GOP (Grand Old Party, 1883), IQ (1916), and GI (1917), and hard-core acronyms, which are initials pronounced as a separate word, like WAC (a member of the Women's Army Corps, 1943), Snafu (1944), and radar (radio detection and ranging, 1941). In general use, however, these are all called acronyms.


And what were the acronyms so busily produced during World War II? Initialisms ranged from PX (post exchange, 1941) to V.D. (venereal disease, 1942) and included the names of numerous agencies such as OPA (Office of Price Administration), OSS (Office of Strategic Services, predecessor of the present CIA or Central Intelligence Agency), and WPB (War Production Board). Acronyms pronounced as words included CARE (Cooperative for American Relief in Europe, 1945) at war's end, and after the war NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 1949). Soon after the establishment of the U.N. (United Nations fighting the Axis, 1942) a plethora of acronyms, some of the quite long, blossomed. Two of the longer ones are UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 1945) and UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, 1943).


-Technically, if only first letters are used, the term is an "initialism," but this distinction is not widely made. For an excellent acronym resource, visit www.acronymfinder.com.


209.May 24th, 2007jer·e·mi·ad, n.-A literary work or speech expressing a bitter lament or a righteous prophecy of doom.


-The term comes from the name of the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah: the second sense refers to his dire warnings of Jerusalem's coming destruction (fulfilled in 586 BCE) and to his threats against the Egyptians, Chaldeans, Ammonites, Moabites, Philistines, and others, as recorded in the biblical book ofJeremiah; the first sense refers to the sequence of elegies on Jerusalem's fall in the book of Lamentations. The term has been applied to some literary works that denounce the evils of a civilization: many of the writings of Thomas Carlyle, of H. D. Thoreau, or of D. H. Lawrence would fit this description.


-Synonyms: diatribe, fulmination, harangue, philippic, tirade.


208.May 17th, 2007yab·ber, n. or v.-Jabber




To jabber (something) or engage in jabbering.


-This word originated in Australia


G'day! At the September 2000 Olympics in Sydney, with the world's attention on Australia, what do you get from media commentators? Yabber, yabber, yabber. In other words: talk, talk, talk. Every collection of Australian slang agrees that yabber is the Australian name for talk, chat, or conversation. It's not as if we haven't occasionally heard yabber in other parts of the English-speaking world, but non-Australians tend to use it harshly: "Stop your yabbering!" In Australia, on the other hand, yabber is what you do to pass the day. And if you can't yabber with a mate face-to-face, you can always send a paper yabber--a letter.


English-speaking Australians have been yabbering about yabber since the mid-nineteenth century. In 1855, regarding an uprising of gold miners at the Eureka Stockade near Melbourne, Raffaello Carboni wrote, "There was further a great waste of yabber-yabber about the diggers not being represented in the Legislative Council."


Yabber may seem to have derived from jabber, which has been in English since 1500 (apparently imitating the sound of speaking), and in any other part of the world that would be a good guess as to its origin. But yabber seems to have originated in Australia with yaba meaning "speak" in the Wuywurung aboriginal language. The similarity to jabber undoubtedly helped its migration to English.


Another English word from Wuywurung is the name of a tree, the mallee (1845). It is a slow-growing eucalyptus with wood so heavy it doesn't float and stems that grow from water-filled underground roots.


But Wuywurung itself is extinct. It was a member of the Pama-Nyungan branch of the Australian language family and was spoken in western Victoria, in the southeastern part of the country.



207.May 16th, 2007in·ter·nec·ine, adj.- 1. Of or relating to struggle within a nation, organization, or group.


2. Mutually destructive; ruinous or fatal to both sides.


3. Characterized by bloodshed or carnage.


-When is a mistake not a mistake? In language at least, the answer to this question is “When everyone adopts it,” and on rare occasions, “When it's in the dictionary.” The word internecine presents a case in point. Today, it usually has the meaning “relating to internal struggle,” but in its first recorded use in English, in 1663, it meant “fought to the death.” How it got from one sense to another is an interesting story in the history of English. The Latin source of the word, spelled both internecīnus and internecīvus, meant “fought to the death, murderous.” It is a derivative of the verb necāre, “to kill.” The prefix inter– was here used not in the usual sense “between, mutual” but rather as an intensifier meaning “all the way, to the death.” This piece of knowledge was unknown to Samuel Johnson, however, when he was working on his great dictionary in the 18th century. He included internecine in his dictionary but misunderstood the prefix and defined the word as “endeavoring mutual destruction.” Johnson was not taken to task for this error. On the contrary, his dictionary was so popular and considered so authoritative that this error became widely adopted as correct usage. The error was further compounded when internecine acquired the sense “relating to internal struggle.” This story thus illustrates how dictionaries are often viewed as providing norms and how the ultimate arbiter in language, even for the dictionary itself, is popular usage.


-Synonym: mutually ruinous


206.May 15th, 2007virtual reality, n.-A computer simulation of a real or imaginary system that enables a user to perform operations on the simulated system and shows the effects in real time.


-Origin: 1989


In the late 1980s, inhabitants of cyberspace (see Cybernetics 1948) were virtually certain they were inventing a new reality. It would be far better than the reality sought by philosophers, poets, and scientists in earlier ages because virtual reality could be custom-made. Medieval philosophers had found reality sometimes in things, sometimes in ideas, sometimes in the mind of God. More recent thinkers had looked to nature, society, or the workings of the human mind. But in the late 1980s, computer geeks were busy constructing their own world of virtual reality, bounded only by the limitations of electronic inner space.


This virtual reality had its modest beginnings thirty years earlier in the invention of virtual memory (1959), a method of overcoming the physical limits of a computer by making it think it had more random-access memory (RAM) than it actually did. The computer would use space on a storage drive as if it were its own RAM. That led to the use of virtual for anything involving a computer that was other than it seemed. The proper software could give a computer virtual storage (1966) and other virtual hardware.


In the late 1980s, virtual was applied to users of computers too. A community of people who did not meet face to face but only by computer became known as a virtual community. To bring members of a virtual community literally in touch with one another was one of the purposes of virtual reality. It involved haptics, "the use of computer-actuated gloves or body wraps to stimulate the sense of touch." Virtual reality would even enable them to engage in virtual sex.


As the end of the century neared, virtual reality remained a programmer's dream, but it was coming closer and closer to reality. With continuing improvement in computer technology, it is virtually assured of success.



205.May 14th, 2007U, n.-Used as a courtesy title before the name of a man in a Burmese-speaking area.


-This word originated in Myanmar


How are U? No, that's not what you'd say in Burmese, even though U is a polite word to say when you're addressing a man by name. You use it when addressing a social superior. Someone who is your equal would be Ko, and a subordinate would be Maung. For a woman, the idea of politeness is the same but the words are different. Daw is the polite prefix for the name of a woman who is your social superior, Ma for an equal or subordinate.


All well and good, but what does this have to do with English? Well, one of these honorifics was introduced to the whole world in 1961, when U Thant, an educator and head of the Burmese delegation to the United Nations, was appointed U.N. Secretary General after the death of Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden in an airplane crash. Thant went on to serve two full terms as Secretary General, retiring in 1971. His name was always given simply as "U Thant," and the world was given to understand that "U" meant something like "the honorable Mr."


In referring to Burmese gentlemen, U has been used in English since at least 1930. It is still used today, as in a 1998 news story referring to a member of the executive committee of the opposition National League for Democracy in Myanmar, U Hla Pe.


Burmese belongs to the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. It is the official language of Myanmar, the Burmese word for a country known until 1989 as Burma. About twenty-two million people speak the language. One other Burmese word in English is padauk (1839), the name for a tropical tree with reddish wood. There are also names for local animals like tsine (1880), a wild ox; thamin (1888), a deer; and tucktoo (1896), a lizard.


By the way, to ask "How are you?" in Burmese you say "Nay kong ye' lah?" And the reply is "Nay kong bar te'," "I am fine," or "Ma soe ba boo," "Not too bad."



204.May 12th, 2007grad·u·a·tion, n.- 1a. Conferral or receipt of an academic degree or diploma marking completion of studies.

b. A ceremony at which degrees or diplomas are conferred; a commencement.


2a. A division or interval on a graduated scale.

b. A mark indicating the boundary of such an interval.


3. An arrangement in or a division into stages or degrees.


-Synonyms: commencement, commencement exercise, commencement ceremony, graduation exercise


-Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree or the associated ceremony. The date of event is often called degree day. In the United States and Canada, it is also used to refer to the advancement from a primary or secondary school level. Many colleges have different traditions associated with the graduation ceremony, the best-known probably being throwing mortarboards in the air.


United States and Canada


Graduation ceremonies in the United States are often orchestrated procedures involving a march of students onto the stage, the reading of speeches, the giving of diplomas, and an official moment when the students are declared graduated, also called the commencement exercise. The march is often set to music, usually Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1. In respect for the graduates, the audience is asked to rise to their feet during the processional as the graduates enter the auditorium and remain standing through the invocation. In United States colleges and universities, the speakers will include the salutatorian, an alumnus of the institution, possibly a famous speaker not associated with the institution, and the valedictorian. The giving of diplomas usually takes up the longest portion of the ceremony: One by one the graduates come forward as their names and major/minor announced.


At many large U.S. institutions, where many hundreds of degrees are being granted at once, the main ceremony (in the sports stadium or other large venue) is followed by smaller ceremonies at sites around campus where faculty of each department distribute diplomas to their graduates. Another means of handling very large numbers of graduates is to have several ceremonies, divided by field of study, at a central site over the course of a weekend instead of one single ceremony. In any case, typically each candidate is given a diploma by an academic administrator or official such as the dean or department head. It is also common for graduates not to receive their actual diploma at the ceremony but instead a certificate indicating that they participated in the ceremony or a booklet to hold the diploma in. At the high school level, this allows teachers to withhold diplomas from students who are unruly during the ceremony; at the college level, this allows students who need an extra quarter or semester to participate in the official ceremony with their classmates.


-In the United Kingdom, unlike the United States, students do not usually 'graduate' from school below university level. They will normally leave secondary school, high school or sixth form college (if applicable) with specific qualifications, often GCSEs and A-levels respectively (Standard Grades and Higher National Courses in Scotland). However, these are not diplomas and are not necessarily presented in a formal ceremony.


Many university graduation ceremonies in the United Kingdom begin with a procession of academics, wearing academic dress. This procession is accompanied by music, and a ceremonial mace is often carried. However, Pomp and Circumstance is not played, since this is a patriotic hymn. After this, an official reads out the names of the graduates one by one, organized by class of degree or by subject. When their names are called, the graduates walk across the stage to shake hands with a senior official, often the university's nominal Chancellor or the vice-chancellor. Graduates wear the academic dress of the degree they are receiving. Serving members of the armed forces may wear their military uniform underneath. Some of the older universities may hold their graduation ceremonies in Latin, whilst member institutions of the University of Wales hold their graduation ceremonies almost entirely in the Welsh language, even though few students understand either of these languages. The Latin section of the ceremony may include a rendition of an anthem, sometimes called the unofficial anthem of all universities, the De Brevitate Vitae, also known as The Gaudeamus.


-Today, I will attend my graduation from Boise State University after 6 long years in college! Hooray!


203.May 11th, 2007tin·tin·nab·u·la·tion-The ringing or sounding of bells


-Origin: 1845


While uncouth boosters and boasters on the frontier were adding the likes of skedaddle, Sockdolager (1827), and splendacious to the American vocabulary, members of the literary elite contributed an invention of their own: tintinnabulation. It doesn't exactly ring a bell with Americans today--except, perhaps, with readers of Edgar Allan Poe. "Hear the sledges with the bells-- / Silver bells! / What a world of merriment their melody foretells!" begins Poe's poem "The Bells." In the night, Poe says, the stars twinkle, "Keeping time, time, time, / In a sort of Runic rhyme, / To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells from the bells, bells, bells, bells, / Bells, bells, bells...." Only these sleighbells tintinnabulate; the wedding bells, fire bells, and funeral bells later in the poem make other sounds.


The poem was published in 1849, the year Poe died. But tintinnabulation was already making the rounds of the American literary community in 1845, when a theology student at Princeton, W. W. Lord, having just published a book entitled Poems, wrote to the literary critic Elizabeth Kinney in nearby Newark, New Jersey, "Others bore a distinct resemblance to the tintinnabulations of jingled cow bells." Poe was not one of Lord's admirers; in a review in the Broadway Journal of May 24, 1845, he said that Lord's Poems showed "a very ordinary species of talent." And Lord's letter to Kinney was not published, so it is unlikely Poe would have read tintinnabulation there. The word must have been in the air when he wrote his own poem on bells a few years later.


Similar words had been used in England before this time: tintinnabular and tintinnabulary, "pertaining to bells," since the eighteenth century, and tintinnabulant for "ringing or tinkling" since early in the nineteenth. But tintinnabulation was an American invention. Thanks to Poe, it has been ringing in our ears ever since.


-Synonyms: ring, ringing




202.May 10th, 2007vit·ri·ol·ic, adj.-1. Of, similar to, or derived from a vitriol.


2. Bitterly scathing; caustic


-From the Latin word vitrum which means glass.


-It is a sulfuric acid, a highly corrosive substance and was formerly known

as oil of vitriol or simply vitriol. It was named vitriol owing

to the glassy appearance of its salts.


-Sticks and stones may break one's bones but vitriol (aka sulfuric acid) is even more painful. Mel Gibson acknowledged the potential harm of recent anti-Semitic statements he made, calling them "vitriolic," and issued a second public apology:


"Mel Gibson said Tuesday he is not a bigot and he apologized to 'everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words' he used when he was arrested for investigation of drunken driving."


Link: Guardian Unlimited Film Gibson Apologizes for 'Vitriolic' Words


Posted August 2, 2006.


-Synonyms: acerbic, acid, acidic, acrid, astringent, biting, caustic, corrosive, cutting, mordacious, mordant, pungent, scathing, sharp, slashing, stinging, trenchant, truculent


-Antonyms: kind, pleasant


201.May 9th, 2007si·es·ta, n.-A rest or nap after the midday meal.


-Synonyms: catnap, doze, nap, snooze.


-This word originated in Spain


At the sixth hour of the day, after the midday meal, speakers of Spanish have a sensible occupation: the siesta. For an hour or two or three, shops close and people close their eyes, awaiting the abating of the heat of the day. In the later afternoon and evening, life awakens with new vigor.


English speakers have discussed the siesta since the seventeenth century. A letter dated 1655 comments on the "Siesta (as the Spaniard calls it) or afternoon sleep." English-speaking travelers to Spanish-speaking countries have continued to comment on, and often happily partake in, the siesta. Back home, however, we have kept our stores open at siesta time.


As Texans know, the siesta made possible their independence in 1836. After Mexican general Santa Anna defeated the defiant Texans at the Alamo, he pursued the rest of the rebels, who had retreated to Galveston Island. On April 21, on the coastal plain at San Jacinto near Galveston, Santa Anna and his troops took their customary afternoon siesta. That was the time the unsleeping Texans, led by Sam Houston, chose to attack. In eighteen minutes the battle was over, the Mexican army was routed, Santa Anna himself became a prisoner, and Texas won its independence.


Spanish is one of the Romance languages, a descendant of Latin, in the Indo-European language family. Worldwide, about 300 million people speak Spanish as a first language, 28 million in Spain and most of the rest in Central and South America. Numerous Spanish words have immigrated into English, from both the old world and the new. The words in this book from Indian languages of Central and South America have mostly been brought to us by speakers of Spanish.


Among the many other Spanish words in English we have space to mention just a few: tuna (1555), breeze (1565), alligator (1568), mosquito (1583), bravado (1599), embargo (1602), sherry (1608), desperado (1610), cockroach (1624), cargo (1657), vanilla (1662), avocado (1697), cigar (1735), ranch (1808), patio (1828), stampede (1834), silo (1835), bonanza (1844), and tango (1913).


-It was adopted also by the Spanish and, through European influence, by Latin American countries and the Philippines. Afternoon sleep is also a common habit in China, India, Italy ("reposo" in Italian), Greece, The Middle East and North Africa. In these countries, the heat can be unbearable in the early afternoon, making a midday break in the comfort of one's home ideal. Though in some countries where naps are taken like in Northern Spain and Southern Argentina and Chile you can find weathers similar to Canadian winters and Northern European weathers.


However, the original concept of a siesta was merely that of a midday break. This break was intended to allow people time to be spent with their friends and family. A nap was not necessarily part of the daily affair of a siesta.


Others suggest that the long length of the modern siesta dates back to the Spanish Civil War, when poverty resulted in many Spaniards working multiple jobs at irregular hours, pushing back meals to later in the afternoon and evening.


-In South Asia, the idea of a post-lunch nap is common, and the idea of going to sleep after a light massage with mustard oil to induce drowsiness was very popular before industrialization. It was also very popular to consume a light snack during this ritual; it was thought that this practice would make one a better person. In Bangladesh and Indian Bengal, the word which describes the concept is bhat-ghum, literally meaning "rice-sleep" (nap after consuming rice).


Afternoon sleep is also a common habit in China and Taiwan. This is called xiuxi or wushui in Chinese. Its main difference from the siesta is that it lasts between two and three hours. It occurs after the midday meal and is even a constitutional right (article 43, Right to rest). Almost all schools in Taiwan have a half-hour '"nap period'" right after lunch. This is a time when all lights are out and one is not allowed to do anything else than sleep.


Many Japanese offices encourage their workers to take a nap in special rooms known as napping rooms. Other companies provide employees with "desk pillows" for taking naps at their desk.


Siestas have never been too popular in the United States. However, as college students continue to learn the importance of sleep, more and more of them are begining to have mid-day siestas.


200.May 8th, 2007car accident, n.-an incident during which an automobile either departs from regular pathway into a ditch, or collides with anything that causes damage to the automobile, including other automobiles, telephone poles, buildings, and trees. Sometimes a car accident may also refer to an automobile striking a human or animal.


-Car accidents — also called road traffic accidents (RTAs), traffic collisions, auto accidents, road accidents, personal injury collisions, motor vehicle accidents, and crashes — kill an estimated 1.2 million people worldwide each year, and injure about forty times this number.


-The term accident is considered an inappropriate word by some, as reliable sources estimate that upwards of 90% are the result of driver negligence. In the UK the Department of Transport publish road deaths in each type of vehicle. These statistics are available as "Risk of injury measured by percentage of drivers injured in a two car injury accident." These statistics show a ten to one ratio of in-vehicle accident deaths between the least safe and most safe models of car.


-The statistics show that for popular, lightly built cars, occupants have a 6–8% chance of death in a two-car accident. (e.g. BMW 3 series 6%, Subaru Impreza 8%, Honda Accord 6%). Traditional "safety cars" such as the Volvos halve that chance (Volvo 700 4% incidence of death, Volvo 900 3%).


-The Jeep Cherokee and the Toyota Land Cruiser SUV have a 6% incidence of occupant death in actual crashes. However, in multiple-vehicle crashes SUVs are not much more lethal than passenger cars.(car, cyclist, or pedestrian)


-Although, rollovers are much more common in SUVs as compared to passenger cars(e.g. BMW 3 series, Subaru Impreza, Honda Accord) because of their top weight. For this reason SUVs actually post a greater threat to rollover and cause a fatality rather than passenger cars(e.g. BMW 3 series, Subaru Impreza, Honda Accord).


-Overall the four best vehicles to be in are the Jaguar XJ series 1%, Mercedes-Benz S-Class / SEC 1%, Land Rover Defender 1% and Land Rover Discovery 1%.


-A rear-end collision (often called simply rear-end) is a traffic accident where a vehicle (usually an automobile or a truck) impacts the vehicle in front of it, so called because it thus hits its rear. It may also be a rail accident where a train runs into the rear of a preceding train.


-A typical medical consequence of rear-ends, even in case of collisions at moderate speed, is Whiplash.


-For purposes of insurance and policing, the driver of the car that rear-ends the other car is almost always considered to be at fault due to not being within stopping distance or lack of attention. An exception to this rule comes into play if the impacted vehicle is in reverse gear.


-The Ford Pinto became the focus of a major scandal when it was alleged that a flaw in its design could cause fuel-fed fires as the result of a rear-end collision, though the car was actually no more likely to cause such fires than similar models sold at the time.


-I was involved in a rear-end car accident yesterday when the car behind me failed to stop and ran into the back of AG's 93 Ford Tracer. I am fine but my neck hurts from whiplash.


-Oh, btw, it is the 200th word of the day!



199.May 7th, 2007ranch, n. or v.- 1. An extensive farm, especially in the western United States, on which large herds of cattle, sheep, or horses are raised.


2. A large farm on which a particular crop or kind of animal is raised: a mink ranch.


3. A house in which the owner of an extensive farm lives.




To manage or work on a ranch


-Origin: 1831


The roots of the American nation were in the farm. The "embattled farmers" of Concord, Massachusetts, in Ralph Waldo Emerson's words "fired the shot heard round the world" to start the war of independence; and several gentleman farmers from Virginia, notably Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, articulated the new country's principles and made the nation a reality. As the United States expanded to the west, new settlement was marked by clearing the forests and Prairies (1773) for more farms.


But when settlers reached the wide open spaces of the Southwest, farm no longer fit. Spanish speakers had arrived there first and adapted from the Indians distinctive ways of making a rural living in the arid land, and their ranchos are what new settlers found there. "At a ranch," wrote James Ohio Pattie in a book published in 1831, "I procured a horse for three dollars." When English-speaking settlers began making their homes on the range, they took the word ranch as well as their land titles from Spanish ranchos, and instead of farmers, they called themselves ranchers (1836).


The typical ranch was far more spacious than an Eastern farm, and it was used primarily for grazing rather than growing crops. But ranch became such a dominant word in the West that it was also used for places that looked like the farms of the East. A writer in 1853 noted, "The old Texan has no farm, it is a ranche." In addition to cattle ranches, Montana in the 1880s had hay ranches, grain ranches, milk ranches, and chicken ranches. There have also been bee ranches, fruit ranches, grape ranches, and orange ranches. Richard Nixon grew up on a lemon ranch in Whittier, California. In the 1950s, a survey asking what the word was for "a small country place where crops are grown" got the answer ranch from 56 percent of those interviewed in California and Nevada.


East and West finally met in the twentieth century with the invention of the dude ranch (1921), a cattle ranch where city slickers could pretend to be cowboys.


-Synonyms: spread, cattle ranch, cattle farm


-In Argentina ranches are known as estancias, in Brazil as fazendas. In much of South America , including Ecuador and Colombia, the term hacienda may be used. Ranchero is also a generic term used throughout Latin America. New Zealanders use the term runs.


In Australia, ranches are known as 'stations' usually in the context of what stock they carry - usually referred to as Cattle stations or Sheep stations. They exist mainly on dry rangeland in the outback and many were originally administered as pastoral leases by state governments. Australian sheep and cattle stations are larger than ranches in the United States. For example, one of the largest is Anna Creek station at 24,000 km².


-Some of the better-known ranches and cattle stations include:


* King Ranch in Texas, USA

* XIT Ranch

* Philmont Scout Ranch

* The Australian Agricultural Company (AACo), Australia's largest pastoral company

* S Kidman & Co (Australia), owners of the world's largest cattle station (ranch).

* The Thomas Ranch- located in Cochise County, Tombstone, Bisbee, Arizona since 1902.

* 6666 Ranch - located in West Texas.

* Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, a part of the National Park Service, a working cattle ranch in Montana that preserves the ranching tradition of the American West.




198.May 6th, 2007pal, n.-A friend; a chum.


-Synonyms: amigo, brother, chum, confidant, confidante, familiar, friend, intimate, mate.


-Antonyms: enemy, foe


-This word originated in England


"Where have you been all this day, pal?" "Why, pal, what would you have me to do?" That conversation was recorded in Herefordshire, England, in a deposition in 1682. At least from that time, we have had pals in English.


Nowadays pal is a term of endearment, but it had a disreputable aura in earlier times. In the eighteenth century, an author explained, "when highwaymen rob in pairs, they say such a one was his or my pal."


The word comes from the Romani language spoken by the people who call themselves Romani or Rom, and who are called by others Gypsies, a name they don't like. There are about a million and a half speakers of Romani throughout the world. The Romani of western Europe are one of three great populations that began a nomadic exodus from India about a thousand years ago. There are also the Lomarven or Lom of Central Europe and the Domari or Dom of the Middle East and Eastern Europe. all speak versions of Romani, an Indo-European language of the Indo-Aryan branch related to the Hindi language of India.


In Romani, pal means "brother." Because the Romani have kept their language to themselves in the midst of other peoples, few other words from Romani have made their way into English. We do, however, have from Romani the blackjack known as a cosh (1869), the term cove (1567) to mean "fellow" or "man," and possibly the knife called a shiv (1674).


-Pal may be:


* a friend or close acquaintance (A person may be a pal or have a pal, either being a personal relationship.)

* the name of a famous dog named Pal, trained by Rudd Weatherwax, who was the first to portray the famous collie Lassie

* PAL, a shortened form of Paladin, a famous Chinese computer game with the official English name The Legend of Sword and Fairy.

* a brand bubble gum sold mostly in Mexico and southern United States

* the AAR Reporting Mark for the Paducah and Louisville Railway


PAL may be a three-letter acronym for:


* Phase Alternating Line, a television signal encoding system.

* Panoramic annular lens

* Paradox Application Language, a programming language for the Borland Paradox database.

* Parcel airlift

* Parents Against Leukaemia

* Peninsula Athletic League

* Permissive Action Link, a security device for nuclear weapons.

* Philippine Airlines (its ICAO code)

* Physical activity level

* Physics Abstraction Layer

* Platform Abstraction Layer, generic

* Platform Abstraction Layer, ZebOS-specific

* Platform Adaptation Layer

* Pohang Accelerator Laboratory

* Police Activities League

* Police Athletic League

* Polyanaline

* Portable Audio Laboratory, a portable radio by Tivoli Audio.

* Possession and Acquisition Licence

* Positron annihilation lifetime

* Power assisted lipoplasty

* Present Atmospheric Level

* Pressure acid leach

* Process asset library

* Processor abstraction layer

* Product Area Locator, the first electronic yellow pages service, c. 1979 in San Diego, CA

* Programmable Array Logic, a brand of semiconductor programmable logic device introduced by Monolithic Memories

* Public Ada Library

* Purdue AirLink

* Progressive Addition Lenses

* Prolongs Active Life, alleged as the meaning of a dog food brand, PAL, in the UK.

* The PAL video game region

* P.A.L, German noise / electronic band



197.May 5th, 2007o·pos·sum, n.- 1. Any of various nocturnal, usually arboreal marsupials of the family Didelphidae, especially Didelphis marsupialis of the Western Hemisphere, having a thick coat of hair, a long snout, and a long prehensile tail.


2. Any of several similar marsupials of Australia belonging to the family Phalangeridae.


-The word opossum takes us back to the earliest days of the American colonies. The settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, was founded in 1607 (We are currently celebrating its founding 400 years ago this month) by the London Company, chartered for the planting of colonies. Even though the first years were difficult, promotional literature was glowing. In one such piece, A True Declaration of the Estate of the Colonie in Virginia, published in 1610, we find this passage: “There are … Apossouns, in shape like to pigges.” This is the first recorded use of opossum, although in a spelling that differs from the one later settled on to reproduce the sound of the Virginia Algonquian word from which our word came. The word opossum and its shortened form possum, first recorded in 1613 in more promotional literature, remind us of a time when the New World was still very new, settlers were few, and the inhabitants for whom the New World was not new were plentiful.


-Highly adaptable and prolific, opossums have changed little in millions of years. The North American species, the stout-bodied common, or Virginia, opossum (Didelphis marsupialis), grows to 40 in. (100 cm) long. It is largely white and has an opposable clawless toe on each hind foot; with its long, hairless, prehensile tail, it resembles a large rat. Up to 25 grublike, 0.07-oz (2-g) newborns compete for the 13 nipples in the pouch, where the survivors spend four or five weeks; they spend the following eight to nine weeks clinging to the mother's back. The common opossum may feign death ("play possum") if surprised. It eats small animals, insects, and fruit, and sometimes domestic poultry and cultivated grain. See also possum.


-The opossum was a favorite game animal in the United States, and in particular the southern regions which have a large body of recipes and folklore relating to the opossum. Opossum was once widely consumed in the United States where available as evidenced by recipes in older editions of The Joy of Cooking. In Dominica and Trinidad opossum or "manicou" is popular and can only be hunted during certain times of the year due to over-hunting; the meat is traditionally prepared by smoking then stewing. The meat is light and fine grained and the musk glands must be removed as part of preparation. The meat can be used in place of rabbit and chicken in recipes. The cousin of the opossum, the possum, found in Australia and New Zealand is consumed in a similar manner. (Davidson, 1999)


Historically, hunters in the Caribbean would place a barrel with fresh or rotten fruit to attract opossums who would feed on the fruit or insects. Cubans growing up in the mid-twentieth century tell of brushing the maggots out of the mouths of "manicou" caught in this manner to prepare them for consumption. It is said also that the gaminess of the meat causes gas.


In Mexico, opossums are known as "tlacuache". Their tails are eaten as a folk remedy to improve fertility (most likely because they have many babies that they store in their pouch).


-Have you had your opossum today?

196.May 4th, 2007char·la·tan, n.-A person who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge; a quack or fraud


-Synonyms: fake, faker, fraud, humbug, impostor, mountebank, phony, pretender, quack


-The word comes from French charlatan, a seller of medicines who might advertise his presence with music and an outdoor stage show. The greatest of the Parisian charlatans was Tabarin who set up a stage in the Place Dauphin, Paris from 1618, and whose commedia dell'arte-inspired skits and farces inspired Molière. Ultimately, etymologists trace "charlatan" from either the Italian ciarlare, to prattle; or from Cerretano, a resident of Cerreto, a town that was apparently notorious for producing quacks.


-Famous American charlatans include John R. Brinkley, the "goat-gland doctor" who implanted goat glands as a means of curing male impotence, helped pioneer both American and Mexican radio broadcasting, and twice ran unsuccessfully for governor of Kansas. Another famous charlatan was Albert Abrams, the advocate of radionics and other similar electrical quackery who was active in the early twentieth century. A less well known charlatan was the German mathematician and active Nazi Ludwig Bieberbach, who claimed to have discovered an "Aryan" version of mathematics and criticised normal math for being too "Jewish".


195.May 3rd, 2007ba·tra·chi·an, [buh TREY kee uhn] adj. or n.- Of or relating to vertebrate amphibians without tails, such as frogs and toads.




A vertebrate amphibian.


-From the Greek word batrakhos that means frog.


-Columnist Maureen Dowd teaches us a zoological term or two about bears and frogs while bluntly insulting World Bank head Paul Wolfowitz, who is accused of getting his girlfriend a cushy job:


"Usually, spring in Washington finds us caught up in the cherry blossoms and the ursine courtship rituals of the pandas.

"But this chilly April, we are forced to contemplate the batrachian grapplings of Paul Wolfowitz, the man who cherry-picked intelligence to sell us a war with Iraq."


Link: More Con Than Neo - New York Times


Posted April 15, 2007.


-Synonyms: frog, toad, toadfrog, anuran, salientian


194.May 2nd, 2007nun·cha·ku (nən-chä'kū) or nun·chuck (nŭn'chŭk') or num·chuck (nŭm'-), n.-A pair of hardwood sticks joined by a chain or cord and used as a weapon. Often used in the plural.


-This word originated in Japan


How do you arm yourself when you're disarmed? How do you defend yourself when you cant even have a knife around the house? For several hundred years, the people of Okinawa needed to find answers to those questions. It is said that under the Ryukyu Kingdom, which began in the fifteenth century, only soldiers and nobles were allowed to carry weapons. Under Japanese rule, which began in 1609, even iron household tools were supposedly prohibited. Each village was allowed only one knife, which was kept at the town square and lent for short periods to individual households. How could citizens defend against robbers and worse?


Their response, we are told, was to fight barehanded (a skill that developed into today's karate) or make weapons out of household implements. They learned to fight with a staff (bo), a sickle (kama), even the handle of a millstone (tonfa). And then there was the lowly nunchaku, two curved sticks tied together as the bit for a horse. The descendant of the original nunchaku, now made of straight rather than curved wood, has become one of the major martial arts weapons. In the 1970s Chinese-American actor Bruce Lee spread its popularity far beyond Japan and east Asia, demonstrating in his action movies the awesome efficacy of nunchaku in the hands of a skilled fighter. The word was used in English as early as 1970.


The nunchaku has advantages over the traditional police baton, not the least that it's folded over and thus easier to carry. In the United States, more than two hundred police departments now use the Orcutt Police Nunchaku system, developed by police sergeant Kevin Orcutt in the 1980s.


Okinawan is spoken by about 900,000 people on Okinawa and the other Ryukyu Islands to the south of Japan. Though Okinawa, now a Japanese possession, has early historical ties to China, its language is closely related to Japanese, not Chinese, and belongs to the Japanese-Okinawan branch of the Korean-Japanese-Okinawan language family. No other Okinawan words are widely used in English.


-Possession of nunchaku is illegal in a number of countries, including Canada, Germany, Norway, Spain, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom (anti-nunchaku laws in the UK were loosened somewhat in 1991, although media scenes with nunchaku were still edited out by censors until 2002). Legality in the United States varies at state level, e.g., personal possession of nunchaku is illegal in New York, Arizona, California and Massachusetts, but in other states possession is not criminalized. Legality in Australia is also determined by individual state laws. In New South Wales, the weapon is on the restricted weapons list, and thus can only be owned with a permit. In New York (USA), attorney Jim Maloney has brought a federal constitutional challenge to the statutes that criminalize simple in-home possession of nunchaku for peaceful use in martial-arts practice and/or legal home defense.


193.May 1st, 2007the·sau·rus, n.- 1. A book of synonyms, often including related and contrasting words and antonyms.


2. A book of selected words or concepts, such as a specialized vocabulary of a particular field, as of medicine or music.


-The word thesaurus is derived from 16th century New Latin, in turn from Latin thesaurus, from ancient Greek θησαυρός thesauros, "store-house", "treasury".


-Roget's Thesaurus, was published in 1852, having been compiled earlier, in 1805, by Peter Roget. Entries in Roget's Thesaurus are not listed alphabetically but conceptually and are a great resource for writers.


Although including synonyms and antonyms, entries in a thesaurus should not be taken as a list of them. The entries are also designed for drawing distinctions between similar words and assisting in choosing exactly the right word. Nor does a thesaurus entry define words. That work is left to the dictionary.


-In Information Technology, a thesaurus represents a database or list of semantically orthogonal topical search keys. In the field of Artificial Intelligence, a thesaurus may sometimes be referred to as an ontology.


-Thesaurus databases, created by international standards, are generally arranged hierarchically by themes and topics. Such a thesaurus places each term in context, allowing a user to distinguish between "bureau" the office and "bureau" the furniture. A thesaurus of this type is often used as the basis of an index for online material. The Art and Architecture Thesaurus, for example, is used to index the national databases of museums, Artefacts Canada, held by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN).


192.April 30th, 2007New England, n.-A region of the northeast United States comprising the modern-day states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.


-Origin: 1616


In the year Shakespeare died, New England was born. This was in fact four years before any English speakers permanently settled in that northern location. But in 1616 it was already the subject of the bock A Description of New England, by that busy explorer and promoter Captain John Smith, who had visited the land two years before.


According to Smith, New England owes its name to Sir Francis Drake. Not that Drake ever saw or talked about New England, but in sailing around the world he stopped in 1579 at a place on the Pacific coast of North America and claimed it as Nova Albion, the Latin for "New England." Following Drake's lead, Smith designated the region at a similar latitude on the Atlantic coast by the same name, translated into plain English.


The very words New England show the direction of Smith's thinking. This was to be an extension of Old England, not a new kind of community. The map in his book gives only English names for the places of New England, and he provides an accompanying list showing thirty American Indian names replaced by English ones: Accomack by Plimouth, Massachusets River by Charles River, Kinebeck by Edenborough, to list a few. Some of those changes succeeded. But what eventually happened after the Plymouth colonists landed four years later has turned out differently than Smith had imagined, for Indian names as well as English ones still cover the New England landscape.


-New England's weather was much colder, particularly in winter, than the English were accustomed to in the Gulf Stream–moderated British Isles. The colonial period and early nineteenth century were, as well, affected by what weather historians have characterized as a mini ice age. Still summers were shorter, hotter, and more humid than English growing seasons, conditions that adversely affected wheat and pea growing in particular. A recurring mildew attacked wheat, gradually impelling a switch from wheat flour bread to one made with rye and the Native American's cornmeal, which settlers named "Indian" to produce a loaf called "rye and Indian." New England's climate favored the native beans that ultimately fared better than peas as a field crop and helped urge the shift to the beans pottage that would evolve into baked beans.


-Political history

Chartering as Plymouth Council for New England: 1620

Formation as United Colonies of New England: 1643

Formation as Dominion of New England: 1686

Admission to U.S.:

- Connecticut-1788

- Maine-separated from Mass. March 15, 1820 (23rd)

- Massachusetts-1788

- New Hampshire-1788

- Rhode Island-1790

- Vermont-1791


191.April 29th, 2007mon·goose, n.-Any of various Old World carnivorous mammals of the genus Herpestes and related genera, having a slender agile body and a long tail and noted for the ability to seize and kill venomous snakes.


-The name for about 39 species of carnivorous mammals which are members of the family Viverridae. This family also includes the civets and genets. Mongooses are restricted in their distribution to the warmer regions of the Old World, ranging from the Mediterranean into Africa and Southeast Asia. These are plantigrade animals about the size of a cat and have a long slender body, short legs, nonretractile claws, and scent glands. Some species are fair climbers even though the claws are nonretractile. Mongooses are predators, feeding on snakes, frogs, fishes, and crabs, and they are especially fond of bird and crocodile eggs.


-This word originated in India


It's not a goose but a small meat-eating mammal, something like a weasel or ferret, about a foot long with a tail of equal length. Since it's not a goose, its plural is not mongeese but mongooses. It's native to southern Asia and Africa.


You won't have any mice if you have a pet mongoose. But then you might not have any kittens or puppies either. Mongooses are so effective in getting rid of small mammals that they are household pets in India. They are banned from import into the United States because they would destroy too many of our native creatures.


From a mongoose you can learn how to catch a snake. First, get its attention and dare it to strike. Second, jump out of the way. Third, repeat steps one and two till the snake is worn out. Then grab the snake's head in your mouth, crush it, and enjoy your meal at leisure. During steps one, two, and three you do have to watch out, because if a poisonous snake bites you while you're taunting it, you're dead. But if you're a mongoose, once the snake is dead you can eat it, venom and all, without the slightest indigestion.


In number of speakers, Marathi is one of the world's major languages, spoken by about sixty-five million people in western India. It belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch of our Indo-European language family. Mongoose, a word Marathi obtained from a non-Indo-European Dravidian source, showed up in English, in a book about India, as early as 1698. From Marathi we also have carambola (1598), an evergreen tree and its star-shaped fruit, and bummalo (1673), also known as Bombay duck (1860), not a duck but a kind of fish.



190.April 27th, 2007looney tunes, adj. or n.-absurd, crazy; foolish




The Warner Brother's cartoon


-Origin 1977


This slang expression derives from the Warner Brothers' cartoon series Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, a trademark of Warner Brothers, Inc. Thanks to those Loony Tunes, since at least 1975 (for the noun) and 1977 (for the adjective) it has been possible to write about "today's looney-tunes salary structure" in baseball (Seattle Times, 1990), or to say "My husband is loony tunes" (USA Today, 1991). A book reviewer for Newsday in 1991 considers a Paul Theroux character "a dislikable looney-toon of a man who crunches down health food, arranges kinky dates with his own wife...and places personal ads in dubious publications."


The inspiration for the first word of loony tunes comes ultimately from the moon and a bird. As far back as the thirteenth century in England, the moon was said to influence the mind, and a sufficiently influenced person was called a lunatic. Then, centuries later, in the new colonies of New England a bird with a weird haunting call was named the loon (1634). The sound made by this bird seemed lunatic enough to suggest the epithets drunk as a loon (1830), crazy as a loon (1845), wild as a loon (1858), and mad as a loon (1877). Moon and bird came together in loony, another Americanism first attested in Bret Hart's 1872 Heiress of Red Dog: "You're that looney sort of chap that lives over yonder, ain't ye?"


The tunes of loony tunes are simply cartoons abbreviated and respelled to match the Merrie Melodies, because Warner Brothers cartoons always used sound and music. Their first was "Sinkin' In the Bath," released in 1930, and gradually the zany characters we know today joined the cast.




189.April 26th, 2007kay·ak, n. or v.- 1. An Inuit or Eskimo boat consisting of a light wooden frame covered with watertight skins except for a single or double opening in the center, and propelled by a double-bladed paddle.


2. A lightweight canoe that is similar in design.




To go, travel, or race in a kayak.


-This word originated in United States (Alaska), Canada, And Greenland


If you want to paddle a canoe on an arctic sea, learn from the Inuit: Cover the top so water won't get in. And use a two-bladed paddle so you don't have to change hands as you paddle first on one side, then another. Snug in the middle, your legs invisible under the cover, you become one with your boat.


There is, to be sure, a down side to the kayak. If your boat turns upside down, so do you. And then there is the phenomenon known as "kayak angst." Tom Carroll, who circum-kayaked Long Island in eleven days in 1993, describes it like this: "I began to feel as though my sense of balance had left me. The sky and the water were a dull silver in color. I had trouble finding the water with my paddle. I experienced the strange sensation of gliding through a silver tunnel, drifting suspended by an unseen force. A trusty low brace kept me upright and I soon realized that the ripples made by the brace in the gloss like water brought me a sense of orientation. This form of spatial disorientation or kayak angst, as it was known to the Greenlanders, would be an experience I would not soon forget."


Kayak, which appears in English as early as 1757, is not all we have learned from the Inuit Eskimo language. We have the igloo (1856) for a home, the anorak (1922) to keep us warm, and other more obscure terms such as muktuk (1835, whale skin as food) and qiviut (1958, wool of the musk ox). There is also another kind of boat, the umiak (1769), which holds a whole family, as opposed to the one-person kayak.


Inuit is not a single language but five closely related ones, forming a branch of the Eskimo-Aleut family. They are Northwest Alaska Inupiat Inukitut, North Alaskan Inukitut, Western Canadian Inukitut, Eastern Canadian Inukitut, and Greenlandic Inukitut. It is impossible to tell which of these is responsible for bringing the Inuit words to English. Altogether there are more than 60,000 speakers of these Inuit languages, the majority in Greenland.


-Modern kayaks have evolved into numerous specialized types, that may be broadly categorized according to their application as recreational kayaks, touring kayaks, fishing kayaks, sea kayaks, whitewater (or river) kayaks, surf kayaks, and racing kayaks, though many hybrid types exist as well.


188.April 25th, 2007ja·lop·y, n.-An old, dilapidated motor vehicle, especially an automobile.


-Origin: 1929


We find a definition in print in 1929: "Jaloppi--A cheap make of automobile; an automobile fit only for junking." The definition has stayed the same, but it took a while for the spelling to stop bouncing around. Among the variants have been jallopy, jaloppy, jollopy, jaloopy, jalupie, julappi, jalapa, and jaloppie.


John Steinbeck spelled it gillopy in In Dubious Battle (1936): "Sam trotted off toward the bunk houses, and London followed more slowly. Mac and Jim circled the building and went to the ancient Ford touring car. 'Get in, Jim. You drive the gillopy.' A roar of voices came from the other side of the bunk house. Jim turned the key and retarded the spark lever. The coils buzzed like little rattlesnakes."


Jalopy seems to have replaced flivver (1910), which in the early decades of the twentieth century also simply meant "a failure." Other early terms for a wreck of a car included heap, tin lizzie (1915), and crate (1927). But where jalopy came from, nobody knows.


-Synonyms: bus, heap


187.April 24th, 2007in·da·ba, n.-A council or meeting of indigenous peoples of southern Africa to discuss an important matter.


-This word originated in South Africa


When the rest of the world goes to meetings and conventions, South Africa proclaims its African heritage by holding indabas.


English-speaking South Africans learned the word from Zulu chiefs, who would call their people together to discuss important issues at meetings called indabas. In the nineteenth century, when the word was first used in English, it always referred to the African tribes. An 1894 article, for example, reports that "a message was therefore conveyed ... to the King, inviting Umtassa to come to an indaba at Umtali."


Not surprisingly, in the latter part of the twentieth century Nelson Mandela's African National Congress party used the word for its meetings. "More than three thousand delegates are expected at the African National Congress's fiftieth national conference to be held here next week," reported the Klerksdorp Record in December 1997. "This four-day ANC Indaba ... will be officially opened by the provincial chairperson of the ANC." But today's pro-African South Africa has indabas for everyone. In recent years there have been a Dance Indaba, a Tourism Trade Indaba, an International Design Indaba, a Structural Chemistry Indaba, a Small-Molecules Indaba, and a Welding Indaba. The 10th Biennial Congress of the Hypertension Society of Southern Africa in 1996, with the goal of improving health care for all South Africans, was billed as the "Hypertension Indaba."


Also contributing to the spirit of the new South Africa are Cape Indaba Wines. Their maker explains that "a portion of the profits generated from the sale of the Cape Indaba Wines will be donated to the underprivileged for the purposes of education. This contribution, coupled with the ethnically styled label emphasizes our commitment to the upliftment and furtherance of our new nation."


Zulu is spoken by about nine million people in South Africa, nearly a quarter of the population. It is a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo language family. Other English words from zulu include buchu (1731), a medicinal shrub; mamba (1862), a poisonous snake; impala (1875), the famous antelope; and nagana (1895), a disease of cattle also called tsetse disease.


186.April 23rd, 2007high·brow, adj. or n.- Of, relating to, or being highly cultured or intellectual: They only attend highbrow events such as the ballet or the opera.



One who possesses or affects a high degree of culture or learning.


-Synonyms: cerebral, intellectual, sophisticated, thoughtful.


-Origin: 1903


Americans can claim credit for both highbrow and lowbrow, the upper and lower levels of culture and cultivation. Highbrow seems to have come first, most likely around 1903, but lowbrow is close on its heels. In 1906 we have examples of both. That year the writer O. Henry refers to "the $250 that I screwed out of the high-browed and esteemed B. Merwin during your absence." As for lowbrow, we find it in S. Ford's Shorty McCabe: "The spaghetti works was in full blast, with a lot of husky low-brows goin' in and out." In Collier's the next year is a reference to "the overwhelming majority of Low Brows, who never read 'Peer Gynt.'" And in the Saturday Evening Post for 1908, we see highbrows again: "It takes all sorts of men to make a party, and Mr. Hearst apparently led in a few prize-fighters with the other high-brows and reformers he accumulated."


From the start, both terms were applied with tongue in cheek. They referred to the discredited phrenological notion that a person of superior intellect and culture would have a high forehead while an ignorant boor would have a low one.


A 1916 reviewer in The Nation took the distinction more seriously. Highbrow and lowbrow, he said, "stand for more genuine differences than Democrat and Republican. The one class has ideals, but no experience; it has flowered in an unfruitful transcendentalism. The other class has experience, but no ideals; its finished product is the millionaire. Each class looks with contempt, or rather with indifference, upon the other." The reviewer lamented this split, but in fact the two extremes of American culture seem to have prevented either side from taking itself too seriously. In the rest of the twentieth century both highbrows and lowbrows have had such success that American science, scholarship, and art on the one hand and practical inventions and popular culture on the other have swept throughout the world.



185.April 22nd, 2007Geronimo, n.-Apache chieftain who raided the white settlers in the Southwest as resistance to being confined to a reservation (1829-1909)


-This word originated in Mexico


Leaping from airplanes to land on the battlefields of World War II, paratroopers of the U.S. Army shouted the Spanish name given by Mexican soldiers to an Indian chief who had terrorized white settlers in northern Mexico and the south-western United States eighty years earlier. How did it happen that "Geronimo!" sometimes followed by an Indian war whoop became the battle cry of American paratroopers?


Apparently the immediate cause was a movie of that name that paratroopers had watched as they were beginning their training in 1940. The 1939 movie depicts Geronimo, chief of the Chiricahua Apache tribe, as a bloodthirsty villain. Portrayed by the wild-eyed actor Chief Thundercloud, the movie Geronimo is an Apache whose sole delight is slaughtering whites, preferably defenseless women and children. According to Cinebooks' Motion Picture Guide, "Chief Thundercloud has only one expression--murderous."


Needless to say, that movie version of Geronimo is not entirely the truth. The real Geronimo, born in 1829 in what is now Arizona, lived peaceably until Mexicans killed his wife, mother, and children in 1858. In retaliation, he led raids against both Mexican and American white settlers, then settled on a reservation. In 1876, when the U.S. government tried to move the Chiricahua to New Mexico, he took up arms again and continued his occasional raids until 1887, when he was finally captured and relocated to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He took up farming, converted to Christianity, and became such a public figure that he was in the inaugural parade for President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905. Geronimo's Story of His Life, published in 1906, three years before his death, was a best seller.


Back in 1940, however, it was the ferocious warrior of the earlier film who commanded the attention of the paratroopers. It is said that Aubrey Eberhardt, a member of the first platoon testing methods of air drops in 1940, was inspired by the movie to announce that he would shout "Geronimo" as he jumped the next day. He did; his shout was beard on the ground; and the rest of the paratroopers adopted it as their call. Since then, of course, any kind of attack can be heralded in English with Geronimo!


In his Apache language, the warrior was known as Goyathlay or "one who yawns." It was the Mexicans who called him Geronimo, the Spanish version of the name Jerome. Numerous other words have crossed the border into English via Mexican Spanish, including Nahuatl words like chocolate, and more recently chihuahua (1858), a breed of dog named after the Mexican city, and maquiladora (1976), a south-of-the-border factory that uses cheap labor to make products for export to the north.


-In 1918, certain remains of Geronimo were apparently stolen in a grave robbery. Three members of the Yale secret society Skull and Bones – including Prescott Bush, father and grandfather of Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush respectively – served as Army volunteers at Fort Sill during World War I. They reportedly stole Geronimo's skull, some bones, and other items, including Geronimo's prized silver bridle, from the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery. The stolen items were alleged to have been taken to the society's tomb-like headquarters on the Yale University campus, and are supposedly used in rituals practiced by the group, one of which is said to be kissing the skull of Geronimo as an initiation. The story was known for many years but widely considered unlikely or apocryphal, and while the society itself remained silent, former members have said that they believed the bones were fake or non-human.


184.April 21st, 2007dime, n.- 1. A coin of the United States or Canada worth ten cents.


2. Slang. A dime bag.


-Origin: 1786


A year before the Constitutional Convention determined what kind of government we wanted for the United States of America, we had already made up our mind about our money: dollars and dimes. On August 8, 1786, an ordinance of the Continental Congress called for "Mills, Cents, Dimes, Dollars," with dime explained as "the lowest silver coin, ten of which shall be equal to the dollar."


Thomas Jefferson has been credited with proposing the names for the coins of the new nation. Among them was disme, based on the French word for "tenth," dixième. He suggested that disme be pronounced as if it were spelled deem. But the s was dropped by Congress, and the adopted spelling dime suggested pronunciation in keeping with time and rime.


Since then, dimes have been dropping all over our language. In the mid-nineteenth century, dimes was often a slang word for money, and the first of the sensational dime novels was published. In the twentieth century, dime has been used as slang for ten and even one thousand dollars, as well as for a ten-year prison sentence. We shopped at dime stores (1931). We learned to get off the dime (to get moving, 1925; originally of dancers in a dance hall) and to drop a dime (make a call on a ten-cent pay telephone, and hence to inform on someone, 1966). The latter is still current, even though phone calls cost more than a dime and are more and more often made on cellular phones.


-The dime is a coin with a face value of ten cents, or one-tenth of a United States dollar. The dime is the smallest in diameter and the thinnest of all U.S. coins currently minted for circulation. Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt is featured on the obverse while a torch, oak branch, and olive branch are featured on the reverse.


Mintage of the dime was authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792, and production began in 1796. A feminine head representing Liberty was used on the front of the coin and an eagle was used on the back. The front and back of the dime used these motifs for three different designs through 1837. From 1837 to 1891, "Seated Liberty" dimes were issued, which featured Liberty seated next to a shield. In 1892, a feminine head of Liberty returned to the dime and it was known as a "Barber dime" (named for coin designer Charles E. Barber.) The backs of both of the latter two designs featured the words "ONE DIME" enclosed in various wreathes. In 1916, the head of a winged-capped Liberty was put on the dime and is commonly known by the misnomer of "Mercury dime"; the back featured a fasces. The most recent design change was in 1946, when the current design was adopted.


183.April 20th, 2007mi·san·dry, n.- Hatred of men.


-The word comes from misos (Greek "hatred") + andras (Greek "man").


-Although misandry is sometimes confused with misanthropy, the terms are not interchangeable, for the latter refers to the hatred of humanity. An idea related to misandry is androphobia, the fear of men (male humans), but not necessarily hatred of them. The opposite of misandry is philandry, the love of men.


-Misandry is less frequently discussed than misogyny (the hatred of women), and misandry's prevalence and extent are disputed. Research into misandry is relatively recent and controversial. Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young, authors of the 2001 book Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture, are the most prominent researchers into misandry. Judith Levine, in her 1992 book My Enemy, My Love: Man-hating and Ambivalence in Women's Lives, calls misandry "the hate that dares not speak its name".


-I hope more philandry is practiced in this world than misandry.


182.April 19th, 2007mi·sog·y·ny, n.-Hatred of women


-From the Greek mīsoguniā : mīso-, miso- + gunē, woman


-During the Great Jubilee, Pope John Paul II issued an apology for all the past sins of the Roman Catholic Church, dividing the sins into seven categories. Amongst general sins, sins in service of the truth, sins against Christian unity, sins against Jews, sins against respect of love, peace and culture, and sins against human rights, he also apologized for sins against the dignity of women and minorities.


-The philosopher Otto Weininger, in his 1903 book Sex and Character, characterized the "woman" part of each individual as being essentially "nothing", and having no real existence, having no effective consciousness or rationality. Weininger says, "No men who really think deeply about women retain a high opinion of them; men either despise women or they have never thought seriously about them." The author August Strindberg praised Weininger for probably having solved the hardest of all problems, the "woman problem".


-Common misspelling(s) of misogyny


* mysogyny



181.April 18th, 2007dru·id, n.-A member of an order of priests in ancient Gaul and Britain who appear in Welsh and Irish legend as prophets and sorcerers.


-This word originated in France


If you had religion back in ancient Celtic Gaul, the land we now call France, you probably had an oak grove for a church, mistletoe for a holy plant, and animal or even human sacrifice for a ritual. During a religious service you might listen to sacred stories. You would believe in the immortality of the soul and a place to go to after death--better or worse, depending on how you lived your present life. You wouldn't restrict your worship to one god but would respect dozens, if not hundreds. And to guide you in all this you would have a druid for a priest. If you didn't do what the druid said, you'd face a fate worse than death: exclusion from the rituals and shunning by the community.


Being a druid was a full-time occupation. Druids needed to know the names and attributes of the gods, the sacred tales about them, the intricate lunar calendar, and the rituals. Julius Caesar, the Roman conqueror of Gaul, wrote that druids also acted as judges in all cases involving tribes and individuals. The Gauls, he said, sent their apprentice druids to Britain for as long as twenty years to learn their profession. According to Caesar, druids memorized the verses about their gods rather than allowing them to be put in writing.


And that is a difficulty for modern historians. What we know about the druids comes not from the Gauls themselves but from Greek and Roman writers who were fascinated with, and scornful of, the religion of the big blond barbarians.


We do know that the name druid is a Celtic one, most likely from the Gaulish branch of the Celtic language. The Greeks and Romans learned druid from the Gauls, and English took it from Latin much later, in a 1563 translation of Caesar.


Although Celtic, to which Gaulish belongs, and Italic, to which Latin belongs, are separate branches of our Indo-European language family, the Continental Celtic languages were fairly close to Latin. Caesar is said to have written his dispatches in Greek instead of Latin so that the Gauls would not be able to decipher them. In Caesar's day, two millennia ago, all Gaul spoke Gaulish, but today nobody does. All that remains of the language is a few inscriptions.


-In the 18th century, England and Wales experienced a revival of interest in the Druids, inspired by the antiquaries John Aubrey, John Toland and William Stukeley. The poet William Blake was involved in the revival and may have been an Archdruid; the Ancient Druid Order, which existed from 1717 until it split into two groups in 1964, never used the title "Archdruid" for any member but credited Blake as having been its Chosen Chief from 1799 to 1827.


-Some strands of modern Druidism (also known as Modern Druidry), such as the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD), are a continuation of the 18th-century revival and thus are built largely around writings produced in the 18th century and later. Some are monotheistic. Members of others may be Neopagan, occultist, or non-specifically spiritual. However, ancient and contemporary monotheistic faiths, such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are not compatible with polytheistic versions of Druidism, whether in its ancient or modern forms.




Fragments of a Druidic Lunar Calendar may be preserved in the Coligny calendar, fragments of a calendar engraved on a bronze tablet, discovered in 1897.




180.April 17th, 2007car·pool, n. or v.- 1. An arrangement whereby several participants or their children travel together in one vehicle, the participants sharing the costs and often taking turns as the driver.


2. A group, as of commuters or parents, participating in a carpool.




To transport by means of a carpool: carpool the children to school.


-Origin: 1962


The original car pool was an invention of World War II. On the home front, gasoline, along with many other scarce items, was being rationed. An automobile was a luxury, to say the least. Driving to and from work alone was frowned upon. But you could serve the war effort if you joined a car pool and shared rides and driving with others. Reader's Digest used the term in 1942: "I don't believe I care for anything, thank you. I'm just in their car pool." McCall's the next year remarked, "On a master map of the city car pools are plotted."


After the war, attitudes about driving relaxed, and for a while there was little more to say about car pools. But along with increasing concern for the environment, carpool became a verb, first attested in the National Review for May 22, 1962: "You have to proceed to the consideration of the relative values of carpooling with large or small families."


And in the oil crisis of the 1970s, everyone was concerned about carpooling. In 1973, the Environmental Protection Agency urged "much greater use of car pooling and mass transportation just about everywhere." In 1974, the New York Times joked, "The Government should encourage bundling as a night-time fuel-saving equivalent to carpooling." There was also the new name carpooler (1972) for someone who would "carpool it" (1973) to work or play.


Nowadays, to expedite travel for carpoolers, some highways use express lanes and diamond lanes (1976). The latter are traffic lanes marked with large diamonds to signify that they are prohibited to those driving alone. To ease the way into joining a car pool signs along highways encourage people to call services which match riders and drivers.




* Carpools save money. How? By sharing the cost of driving one car. In a carpool, you save on gas, the cost of parking and wear and tear on a vehicle.

* Carpools decongest roads.

* Carpools reduce pollution and carbon dioxide emissions thereby reducing global warming.

* Carpools reduces driving related stress for participants who are not driving on a specific ride. The participants take turns sharing their vehicles and driving with others.

* Higher occupancy rates also can reduce consumption of oil thereby reducing corresponding political and economic risks, emissions of greenhouse gases, common pollution.

* Carpools save considerable expenses from gasoline, oil, tires, car depreciation, tolls, parking, and in some cases insurance.

* Carpools may provide social connections in an increasingly disconnected society. New online carpooling services are offering new ways to make social connections through discussion sites and custom ridesharing services.

* Some larger carpools offer "sweeper services" of late pick-up options for people having to stay longer at work. One form of backup is an arrangement with a local taxi company.

* There are designated carpool lanes on highways (usually called High-Occupancy Vehicle, or HOV, lanes), which may make travel faster.Some businesses offer premier parking for carpoolers, and finding a spot to park one car is always easier than finding a spot for more.


The bottom line – carpooling is cash-friendly and schedule-friendly!





* Drivers carry the additional burden of potential legal action from passengers in case of an accident.


* Carpooling combines many of the disadvantages of public transportation (lack of privacy, not on-demand) with the disadvantages of the automobile (low safety, high fuel consumption).


* Tends to be rather complicated to organise seriously and are difficult to keep together, due not least to changing travel patterns and needs.


* Any appointments or other things someone in the carpool has to do will make the other person/people in the carpool have to wait, or will make the schedule drastically change.



179.April 16th, 2007cheese, n.- 1a. A solid food prepared from the pressed curd of milk, often seasoned and aged.

b. A molded mass of this substance.


2. Something resembling this substance in shape or consistency.


-Cheese is a fermented food derived from the milk of various mammals. Since humans began to domesticate milk-producing animals around 10,000 B.C., they have known about the propensity of milk to separate into curds and whey. As milk sours, it breaks down into curds, lumps of phosphoprotein, and whey, a watery, grey fluid that contains lactose, minerals, vitamins, and traces of fat. It is the curds that are used to make cheese, and practically every culture on Earth has developed its own methods, the only major exceptions being China and the ancient Americas.


-This word originated in Pakistan And India


You might expect the big cheese to come from Wisconsin. Or, viewed historically, it might be considered a nickname for the twelve-hundred pound "mammoth cheese" presented to President Thomas Jefferson on New Year's Day 1802 by the Republican farmers of Cheshire, Massachusetts. But in fact it seems to have come from the other side of the world, from the Urdu language of Pakistan.


That's because this is not the same cheese as the milk product that serves as a topping for pizza, the main ingredient of fondue, or headgear for fans of the Green Bay Packers football team. It's a cheese that means "thing" in Urdu and has been imported into English spoken in the Indian subcontinent with the meaning "thing" or "the real thing." Salman Rushdie, in his 1995 novel The Moor's Last Sigh, uses cheese with that meaning.


English has had this special meaning of cheese since at least 1818. "You look like a Prince in it," says a character in William Makepeace Thackeray's Codlingsby (1850). "It is the cheese," replies the other. In the twentieth century this became the main cheese (1903), the real cheese (1914), even the head cheese (1914); and then, from as early as 1914, the big cheese, which is the current favorite. In his famous 1914 short story "Haircut," Ring Lardner has one character saying, "They was one big innin' every day and Parker was the big cheese in it." At the end of the twentieth century, the term was well established. You could find a site on the Internet proclaiming, "Yes, this year, 1998, we are going to see some manifestation of THE Antichrist, the big cheese himself."


Urdu, a member of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family, is the national language of Pakistan, where it is spoken by more than ten million people, and it has nearly fifty million additional speakers in India. It is a Muslim language closely related to the Hindu language Hindi. Because Urdu and Hindi are so similar, it is often difficult to tell which one has contributed a word to English. Other possibilities from Urdu include nabob (1612) or nawab (1758), an important person; chador (1614), the modest robe that conceals Moslem women, and purdah (1865), the policy that requires the concealment; howdah (1774), a saddle for an elephant, and khaki (1857), which needs no introduction.


178.April 15th, 2007Bo·tox, n.-A trademark for a preparation of botulinum toxin, used to treat blepharospasms, strabismus, and muscle dystonias and to smooth facial wrinkles.


-Drug Class And Mechanism: Botulinum toxin type A is an injectable neuro-toxin, that is, a toxin that blocks the ability of nerves to make muscles contract. It paralyzes muscles. Botulinum toxin (Botox) injection is used in conditions of excessive and inappropriate muscle contraction, hyperhidiosis (excess sweating) in armpits and palms, spasticity (persistent states of muscle contraction), sphincter contraction, eye-movement disorders, tics and tremors, and cosmetically to treat facial lines and wrinkles.


Botox has also been explored in the treatment of chronic muscle tension and migraine headaches. The relief is likely due to the decrease in localized muscle spasms, as no direct effect of Botox on the sensory nerves has been established. It causes muscles to contract, nerves release a chemical, acetylcholine, where they meet muscle cells. The acetylcholine attaches to receptors on the muscle cells and causes the muscle cells to contract or shorten. Botulinum toxin prevents the release of acetylcholine and thereby prevents contraction of the muscle cells. In order to affect the release of acetylcholine, botulinum toxin must be injected into the muscle.


-Prescribed For: Botulinum toxin is used for the treatment of cervical dystonia (spasm of the muscles of the neck) to reduce abnormal head position and neck pain caused by the muscular spasm. It also is injected into the muscles that control the eyeball for treating strabismus (misaligned or lazy eyes) and the muscles of the eyelid for treating blepharospasm (uncontrollable blinking) associated with a condition called dystonia. Botox cosmetic is used for reducing glabellar lines (frown lines) in adults 65 years of age or younger.


-Precautions: Botulinum toxin is produced from the bacterium that causes food poisoning in humans. High doses of the toxin can be fatal; however, doses administered therapeutically are so small that harmful effects are uncommon.


-Five years ago today the world became a smoother place, when the FDA approved an anti-wrinkle treatment called Botox.


177.April 14th, 2007bliz·zard, n.-1a. A violent snowstorm with winds blowing at a minimum speed of 35 miles (56 kilometers) per hour and visibility of less than one-quarter mile (400 meters) for three hours.

b. A very heavy snowstorm with high winds.


2. A torrent; a superabundance


-Origin: 1825


In frontier territory, blizzard was "a knock-down blow," delivered at first by a fist or gun rather than by the weather. It must have been in use by the mid-1820s. We encounter it in an 1829 glossary in the Virginia Literary Museum: "Blizzard. 'A violent blow,' perhaps from [German] Blitz, lightning. Kentucky." Whatever its origin, the word was familiar to frontiersman Davy Crockett, who wrote in his 1835 Tour Down East that at dinner, asked by a parson for a toast, "Not knowing whether he intended to have some fun at my expense, I concluded to go ahead and give him and his likes a blizzard." In this case it was a blizzard of words.


Blizzard went to college too. A writer in 1881 recalled, "In 1836 I first heard the word 'blizzard' among the young men at Illinois College, Jacksonville. If one struck a ball a severe blow in playing town-ball it would be said 'That's a blizzard.'"


Meanwhile, back on the frontier, blizzard began to be the term for the severe blow struck by a snowstorm. An 1862 book called Forty Years on the Frontier recorded this entry: "Snowed in the forenoon. Very cold in afternoon. Raw east wind. Everybody went to grand ball given by John Grant at Grantsville and a severe blizzard blew up and raged all night. We danced all night; no outside storm could dampen the festivities."


During the particularly severe winter of 1880-81, this kind of blizzard struck the whole country, as a writer in the Nation of New York City commented in 1881: "The hard weather has called into use a word which promises to become a national Americanism, namely 'blizzard.' It designates a storm (of snow and wind) which men cannot resist away from shelter." In general usage ever since, the blizzard of snow has knocked out the former meaning of mere human violence.


-Blizzards are defined by the National Weather Service as winter storms with sustained or gusting winds of 35 mph that produce blowing or drifting snow that reduces visibility to one-quarter mile or less for over three hours. While this is the technical definition of the word, for most people any sustained snowstorm accompanied by fierce winds is considered a blizzard. Blizzards are often, but not always, accompanied by extremely cold temperatures. They are most common in the Great Plains, the Great Lakes states, and the northeastern states along the coast, and less common in the Pacific Northwest.


-Synonym: snowstorm


-It is odd seeing blizzards in April.


176.April 13th, 2007car·a·pace, n.-1. Zoology. A hard bony or chitinous outer covering, such as the fused dorsal plates of a turtle or the portion of the exoskeleton covering the head and thorax of a crustacean.


2. A protective, shell-like covering likened to that of a turtle or crustacean


-A carapace has to be the ultimate thick skin: if you've got one you're protected against sticks, stones and name-calling. Journalist Gwen Ifill, writing in The New York Times, laments the racial slurs hurled by radio host Don Imus at the mostly black members of Rutgers' female basketball team:


"It is about the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. That game had to be the biggest moment of their lives, and the outcome the biggest disappointment. They are not old enough, or established enough, to have built up the sort of carapace many women I know — black women in particular — develop to guard themselves against casual insult."


Link: Trash Talk Radio - New York Times


Posted April 11, 2007.


-Synonyms: shell, cuticle




175.April 12th, 2007amok, adv. or adj.-1. in a murderous frenzy as if possessed by a demon


2. wildly; without self-control


-Synonyms: amuck, berserk, demoniac, demoniacal, possessed


-This word originated in Malaysia


European travelers sometimes encountered less than friendly people. Among the Malays of southeast Asia, according to an English translation in 1518 of a book by the Portuguese Duarte Barbosa, there are people called "Amuco," who "go out into the streets, and kill as many persons as they meet." Sometimes, it appears, the Amuco were soldiers. Another Portuguese account, translated in 1663, says that "all those which were able to bear arms should make themselves Amoucos, that is to say, men resolved either to dye, or vanquish." Captain Cook, in his account of his voyages in the 1770s, offers that "To run amock is to get drunk with opium ... to sally forth from the house, kill the person or persons supposed to have injured the Amock, and any other person that attempts to impede his passage."


Although the English first recorded "running amok" as a trait of the Malay temperament, they readily noticed that it could apply to more familiar instances of murderous frenzy. So before the 1600s were over, "run amok" could refer to an English-speaking madman as well as a Malay one. In the nineteenth century, the writer of The Mind in Lower Animals identified "running amok" as "a peculiar form of human insanity."


Our century has defined amok as a psychological state of unprovoked, extremely destructive behavior followed by amnesia, exhaustion, or even suicide. In the 1980s and 1990s Amok was also a fitting name for a Los Angeles bookstore and press that published a "Sourcebook of the Extremes of Information in Print," including The Sniper's Handbook and The Color Atlas of Oral Cancers.


The Malay language is spoken by more than seventeen million people in present-day Malaysia. Some sixty words from Malay have become significant additions to the English vocabulary, including foods, plants, animals, and fabrics: ketchup (1690), agar (1889), bamboo (1586), rattan (1660), cockatoo (1634), gecko (1774), orangutan (1691, meaning man of the forest), cootie (1917), gingham (1615), sarong 1830, [rice] paddy (1623), and caddy (1792, a container).


-AMOK! is the name given to a system of martial arts, grounded in eskrima, silat and Filipino martial arts. The AMOK! system was created, refined and developed by Tom Sotis. It is an international organization, but is known for being practiced in South Africa.


174.April 11th, 2007wan·na·be, n. or adj.- 1. One who aspires to a role or position.


2. One who imitates the behavior, customs, or dress of an admired person or group.


3. A product designed to imitate the qualities or characteristics of something.




Wishing or aspiring to be; would-be.


-Origin: 1981


We live in an age not of heroes but of wannabes. Or so it seemed in the early 1980s, when wannabe evolved from slang question to mocking answer.


Wannabe came from the polite "What do you want to be?" reduced to a quick spoken "Whaddaya wannabe?" And the answer, as early as 1981, was "a wannabe." At least it seemed that way to a less-than-thrilled older generation of achievers. Wannabe was used not by the wannabes themselves but by those who watched and found them lacking.


Surfers were among the first to be stung by the wannabes. In 1981, Newsweek reported, "Before long the beaches were jammed with hordes of novices known as wannabees (as in, 'I wanna be a surfer')." A 1987 article in the Illustrated London News explained, "What bothers surfers is that only a quarter of that money is being spent on surfboards. The rest is spent by people surfers call 'wanna bes.' They don't surf but they want to, so they dress the part, as have non-participating fans of tennis and skiing."


Other writers mentioned a witch-burner wannabe, a Bedouin wanna-be, a Christian wannabe, and Roman wannabees, to take examples just from 1989.


Another kind of wannabe imitated a personality rather than an activity. Depending on age, gender, and proclivity, a young person might wannabe, for example, a Madonna wannabe, a Rambo wannabe, an Arnold (Schwarzenegger) wannabe, an Annie (from the musical of that name) wannabe, a Johnny (Carson) wannabe, or an Elvis wannabe. (Last names generally aren't needed.) In an age of celebrities rather than heroes, wannabes need only make themselves into look- alikes (1947). It is enough to copy the clothes, hairstyles, and mannerisms of their Role Models (1957).


There are also people who really want the job: would-begang members and governors, parents and commodities traders. As long as they remain candidates, observers can smile at them as wannabes.


-Synonyms: aspirant, aspirer, hopeful, wannabee


173.April 10th, 2007zom·bie, n.- 1. A snake god of voodoo cults in West Africa, Haiti, and the southern United States.


2a. A supernatural power or spell that according to voodoo belief can enter into and reanimate a corpse.

B. A corpse revived in this way.


3. One who looks or behaves like an automaton.


4. A tall mixed drink made of various rums, liqueur, and fruit juice.


-This word originated in Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola


Don't try this at home! but here's a recipe. First put on some gloves and catch a bouga toad. Carefully collect some of its gland secretions, said to be a hundred times more powerful than the heart medicine digitalis and hallucinogenic. Then (perhaps keeping your gloves on) catch some puffer fish for their tetrodotoxin, said to be one of the strongest poisons in the world. Add tarantulas, millipedes, seeds and leaves of poisonous plants, and skins from poisonous tree frogs. Mix the poisons together, and for extra effect add ground-up human bones. Then sidle up to an unsuspecting victim and surreptitiously apply a little of the brew to that person's skin.


There! The victim will keel over and appear dead. Go ahead, have a nice funeral. Then give the victim a potion known as "zombie's cucumber," and your prey will wake up and seem to have risen from the dead. But there will be no personality, no memory, not even the ability to speak. You'll have a living body without a soul. In other words, a zombie.


It's tricky, and not everyone agrees that this is the right procedure. So maybe you'd better leave it to a professional, an expert in voodoo known as a bokor. It is said that you'll find such experts in Haiti, the home of voodoo.


Once you have a zombie, you'll find lots of uses for it (no longer he or she). The zombie makes a fine slave, working indoors or out at whatever physical task you choose. It will obey without question and not talk back.


The word shows up in English in an 1819 history of Brazil, which says that Zambi "is the name for the Deity, in the Angolan tongue." In 1872 a dictionary of Americanisms includes a more familiar definition: "Zombi, a phantom or a ghost, not unfrequently heard in the Southern States in nurseries and among the servants."


Like voodoo, the word zombie has an African origin. It comes from a Bantu language of the Niger-Congo language family, either Kimbundu or Kongo. Here we will credit Kongo, also known as Kikongo, which is spoken in Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola by a total of more than three million people. One other well-known English word from Kongo is chimpanzee (1738).


-Synonyms: zombie, zombi spirit, zombie spirit




172.April 9th, 2007vig·i·lan·te, n.- 1. One who takes or advocates the taking of law enforcement into one's own hands.


2. A member of a vigilance committee.


-Origin: 1860


"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," declared the antislavery orator Wendell Phillips in 1856. But the vigilantes of the Western states had something different in mind: not liberty, but keeping order in unruly towns. They enforced the law--or rather, they took the law into their own hands and enforced it as they chose, answering to no higher authority.


The story of the vigilantes begins not in the West but in the South. Vigilance committees were formed there, starting in the 1830s, to keep blacks and abolitionists in their place: that is, silent and obedient to the proslavery majority. In response, northerners founded their own vigilance committees to help fugitive slaves.


A different kind of vigilance was called for in the West of the Gold Rush days. On the waterfront of San Francisco, a "Barbary Coast" of disreputable service industries had sprung up, providing intoxicating beverages, games of chance and skill, houses of ill-repute, and generous opportunities for violence and mayhem. To bring the Barbary Coast under control, respectable citizens formed a Vigilance Committee in 1851. By 1860, members were being called by the Spanish name vigilantes.


Groups of vigilantes were organized in other Western cities too. In an 1865 account of a visit to Montana, we are told that "the power is vested in the 'Vigilantes,' a secret tribunal of citizens, organized before civil laws were framed."


Sometimes the motives of vigilantes were honorable, but sometimes they merely dispensed their own version of Lynch Law (1780), also an American invention. Citizen initiative in maintaining order, if not always law, has persisted to the present day, but now it usually takes the milder form of a neighborhood watch (1972).



171.April 8th, 2007Eas·ter, n.- 1. A Christian feast commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus.


2. The day on which this feast is observed, the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or next after the vernal equinox.


3. Eastertide.


-Easter, like the spring season it graces, is associated with birth, renewal and fertility.


Easter marks the Resurrection of Jesus three days after his Crucifixion. Sandwiched between the 40 preparatory days of Lenten penitence and the seven weeks of Eastertide, it is the most important and most joyous holiday on the Christian calendar.


In 2007, Easter falls on April 8 for both the Western Church and the Eastern Church.


The Easter timeline runs as follows:


* Shrove Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras

* Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent...

* Lent — 40 days, excluding Sundays

* Holy Week, the last week of Lent, consisting of:

o Palm Sunday

o Maundy Thursday

o Good Friday

o Holy Saturday

* Easter Sunday

* Easter Monday

* Eastertide, the 50 days leading up to Pentecost...

* Pentecost


Though the New Testament contains no reference to an annual feast celebrating the Resurrection, the practice was well-established by the second century. Early churchmen were divided on whether to hold a feast on 14 Nisan (the date of the Biblical Pesach, which morphed into the name for Easter in many languages) or on the following Sunday; disputes and excommunications ensued in this Quartodeciman controversy until the Council of Nicea in 325 decided it must fall on a Sunday. Eventually the date was formulated roughly as "the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the vernal equinox." This can range between March 22 and April 25.


According to the eighth-century theologian the Venerable Bede (who came up with the dating system of AD and BC), Easter is named for Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. She is associated with the egg and with the hare, both symbols of procreation that have been enduringly incorporated by the church in the form of Easter eggs and the Easter bunny who brings them.


How to celebrate Easter:


* Attend an Easter vigil, when baptisms take place, Alleluias are said for the first time since the beginning of Lent and the Paschal candle is lit.

* Decorate your home and church in white and gold, the colors of Easter.

* Wear new clothes to represent a new beginning, especially an Easter bonnet.

* Hide decorated Easter eggs for children to find, to represent coming out of the womb/tomb (i.e., Easter's intertwined themes of fertility and resurrection).

* Take part in an Easter egg roll. The White House first hosted one during the administration of Rutherford B. Hayes.


Did you know? Easter egg can also refer to an unexpected goodie hidden inside software, a movie, book, CD or DVD. The name comes from the traditional Easter egg hunt.


-In Western Christianity, Easter always falls on a Sunday from March 22 to April 25 inclusive. The following day, Easter Monday, is a legal holiday in many countries with predominantly Christian traditions. In Eastern Christianity, Easter falls between April 4 and May 8 between 1900 and 2100 based on the Gregorian date.


Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts, in that they do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars (which follow the motion of the sun and the seasons). Instead, they are based on a lunar calendar similar—but not identical—to the Hebrew Calendar. The precise date of Easter has often been a matter for contention.


Dates for Easter Sunday, 2000-2020 Year



2000 April 23

2001 April 15

2002 March 31

2003 April 20

2004 April 11

2005 March 27

2006 April 16

2007 April 8

2008 March 23

2009 April 12

2010 April 4

2011 April 24

2012 April 8

2013 March 31

2014 April 20

2015 April 5

2016 March 27

2017 April 16

2018 April 1

2019 April 21

2020 April 12


-Non-religious Easter traditions


As with many other Christian dates, the celebration of Easter extends beyond the church. Since its origins, it has been a time of celebration and feasting. Today it is commercially important, seeing wide sales of greeting cards and confectionery such as chocolate Easter eggs, marshmallow bunnies, Peeps, and jelly beans.


Despite the religious preeminence of Easter, in many traditionally Christian countries Christmas is now a more prominent event in the calendar year, being unrivaled as a festive season, commercial opportunity, and time of family gathering — even for those of no or only nominal faith. Easter's relatively modest secular observances place it a distant second or third among the less religiously inclined where Christmas is so prominent.




Throughout North America, the Easter holiday has been partially secularized, so that some families participate only in the attendant revelry, central to which is decorating Easter eggs on Saturday evening and hunting for them Sunday morning, by which time they have been mysteriously hidden all over the house and garden. According to the children's stories, the eggs were hidden overnight and other treats delivered by the Easter Bunny in an Easter basket which children find waiting for them when they wake up. The Easter Bunny's motives for doing this are seldom clarified. Many families in America will attend Sunday Mass or services in the morning and then participate in a feast or party in the afternoon.




In Norway, in addition to skiing in the mountains and painting eggs for decorating, it is tradition to solve murders at Easter. All the major television channels show crime and detective stories (such as Poirot), magazines print stories where the readers can try to figure out who did it, and many new books are published. Even the milk cartons change to have murder stories on their sides. Another tradition is Yahtzee games. In Finland and Sweden, traditions include egg painting and small children dressed as witches collecting candy door-to-door, in exchange for decorated pussy willows. This is a result of the mixing of an old Orthodox tradition (blessing houses with willow branches) and the Scandinavian Easter witch tradition. Fake feathers and little decorations are also placed on willow branches in a vase. For lunch/dinner on Holy Saturday, families traditionally feast on a smörgåsbord of herring, salmon, potatoes, eggs and other kinds of food. In Finland, the Lutheran majority enjoys mämmi as another traditional easter treat, while the Orthodox minority's traditions include eating pasha instead.




In the eastern part of the Netherlands (Twente and Achterhoek), Easter Fires are lit on Easter Day at sunset.


Central Europe


In the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, a tradition of whipping is carried out on Easter Monday. In the morning, males whip females with a special handmade whip called pomlázka (in Czech) or korbáč (in Slovak). The pomlázka/korbáč consists of eight, twelve or even twenty-four withies (willow rods) and is usually from half a metre to two metres long and decorated with coloured ribbons at the end. It must be mentioned that while whipping can be painful, the purpose is not to cause suffering. Rather, the purpose is for males to exhibit their attraction to females; unvisited females can even feel offended. The whipped female gives a coloured egg to the male as a sign of her thanks and forgiveness. A legend says that females should be whipped in order to keep their health and fertility during whole next year. In some regions the females can get revenge in the afternoon when they can pour a bucket of cold water on any male. The habit slightly varies across the Czech Republic. A similar tradition existed in Poland (where it is called Dyngus Day), but it is now little more than an all-day waterfight.


In Hungary (where it is called Ducking Monday), perfume or perfumed water is often sprinkled in exchange for an Easter egg.



170.April 7th, 2007ye·ti, n.-Also known as the "abominable snowman," the yeti is the mysterious humanoid creature reported by Western sources as early as 1832 as living in the Himalayan Mountains.


-This word originated in Tibet


In 1953 England's Sir Edmund Hillary made history by leading an expedition that took him, along with Tenzing Norgay of Nepal, to the top of Mount Everest. On the way up he noticed giant footprints in the snow that were said to belong to an apelike creature called a yeti. Curious about this elusive animal, Hillary returned to Tibet in 1960 and tried to make natural history by leading an expedition in search of the yeti. The second expedition failed as completely as the first had succeeded. Not only did he not see an actual yeti, alive or dead, but even the relics shown him proved to be something else. A shaggy fur hide came from a Tibetan blue bear; a supposed scalp of a yeti came from a serow. And it was noticed that footprints in the snow, over time, tend to grow much larger than the original foot that made them, thus accounting for the "yeti tracks" he had seen. Hillary returned an unbeliever.


Other observers are said to have been more fortunate. In 1938 a certain Captain d'Auvergue, curator of the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, said that during a trek alone in the Himalayas he was rescued from death by a kind yeti nine feet tall. And in 1974 a Sherpa girl told police that an apelike creature broke the necks of two of her yaks and tried to drag her off before she started screaming.


The Soviet Ministry of Culture established a group of "cryptozoologists" to locate the yeti, according to a report of January 9, 1988, by Tass, the Soviet press agency. The agency stated that nearly one hundred sightings had been collated by Zhanna Kofman of Moscow.


Whatever the truth, you can definitely find a yeti in the Tibetan language. In Tibetan, yah means rock and ti means animal, so a yeti can be called an animal of the rocks. Alternatively, the first syllable of yeti may be a version of mi, the word for person. Another name for the creature is metoh-kangmi, which has been roughly translated as "abominable snowman."


A little more than a million people speak the Tibetan language, which belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family, along with Chinese. For most of its history, Tibet remained a hidden realm, high above and far beyond the reach even of the expanding English language, and disinclined to spread its language to the rest of the world. Since 1951, Tibet has been a remote province of China. Despite this isolation, a few words of Tibetan have immigrated into English, mostly designating distinctive animals of the Himalayas. These include goa (1846), a gazelle or antelope; kiang (1869), a red and white wild ass; Lhasa apso (1935), a breed of dog; and of course the yak (1795), beloved of animal alphabet books for beginning with the letter Y. There is also the lama (1654), the Tibetan Buddhist monk.




169.April 6th, 2007un·der·priv·i·leged, adj.-Lacking opportunities or advantages enjoyed by other members of one's community; deprived.


-Synonyms: backward, depressed, deprived, disadvantaged, impoverished


-Antonyms: privileged, rich, wealthy


-Origin: 1897


The notion of privileges for favored people--the wealthy, or those in the know, or those connected to the government--has been around as long as civilization. But the democratic notion of privileges for everyone came into its own in America with our adoption of the word underprivileged. To say someone is underprivileged is to imply that there is a standard of privileges to which everyone is entitled, privileges that have been unjustly withheld from the underprivileged. We find the word in the Princetonian in 1896: "It was very quiet in the little square that was filled with nurse-maids and children moving about inside the railings--several little underprivileged ones peering in at them from the outside." By 1897, we can assume that underprivileged was well on its way to establishing its place in our vocabulary.


A century later underprivileged itself began to seem too privileged. In the politically correct 1990s, underprivileged sounded too condescending, too accepting of a privileged point of view, and needy is now more likely to be used.


168.April 4th, 2007tan·go, n.- 1. A Latin American ballroom dance in 2/4 or 4/4 time.


-This word originated in Nigeria


Who does not know the tango? Well, not everybody knows the steps, but most speakers of English are aware of the often slow, sometimes mournful Argentine ballroom dance whose pauses are as important as its movements. Where did it come from? Historians agree that the tango began in Argentina late in the nineteenth century as a somewhat boisterous style of music and a shockingly intimate dance for couples to go with that music. Millions of Europeans immigrated to Argentina early in the twentieth century, and some of those Europeans brought the low-class tango back to France, where it became the rage in the early teens of the century. That made it respectable and admired by the better classes in Argentina and around the world. The tango is mentioned in English as early as 1913, when a London newspaper calls it "a most graceful and beautiful dance."


But what was the origin of this dance and the word for it? Nobody knows, though there are many guesses. The influences on it seem diverse; in the tango you can find hints of both the waltz and African dances. Some see the tango developing from two dances of mixed African-Latin American-European origin, the slow Habanera and the faster Milonga. The Spanish name tango, which emerged along with the dance late in the nineteenth century, could well come from an African source. And one possible African source is the Ibibio language of Nigeria, where, as the American Heritage Dictionary informs us, the word tamgu means "to dance." A substantial number of African slaves had been imported to Argentina, as elsewhere in the Americas, and elements of African culture remained strong among their descendants.


We do know about the Ibibio language. It belongs to the Volta-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family and is closely related to Efik. Today Ibibio is spoken by more than three million Nigerians, a little more than 3 percent of the total population. No other words of Ibibio have become part of the general English vocabulary.




167.April 3rd, 2007Quid Pro Quo, n.-An equal exchange or substitution.


-This Latin expression, meaning "something for something," has been used in English since the late 1500s


-This term is typically used in financial circles to describe a mutual agreement between two parties in which each party provides a good or service in return for a good or service.


Quid pro quo agreements are sometimes viewed negatively. For example, in a quid pro quo agreement between a large financial house and a company, the financial house might alter poor stock ratings in exchange for company business. In response to these potential occurrences, the NASD has issued rules in order to ensure that firms put customers’ interests before their own.


A positive example of a quid pro quo agreement is a soft dollar agreement. In a soft dollar agreement, one firm (Firm A) uses another firm’s (Firm B) research. In exchange, Firm B executes all of Firm A's trades. This exchange of services is used as payment in lieu of a traditional, hard dollar payment.


-Synonyms: barter, swap, swop, trade


166.April 2nd, 2007tick·et, n. or v.- 1a. A paper slip or card indicating that its holder has paid for or is entitled to a specified service, right, or consideration: a theater ticket; an airline ticket.

b. An e-ticket.


2. A certifying document, especially a captain's or pilot's license.


3. An identifying or descriptive tag attached to merchandise; a label.


4. A list of candidates proposed or endorsed by a political party; a slate.


5. A legal summons, especially for a traffic violation.


6. The proper or desirable thing: A change of scene would be just the ticket for us.


7. Informal. A means to an end: “He went to Washington … to become press secretary … it was his ticket out of the Delta” (Nicholas Lamann).




1. To provide with a ticket for passage or admission: ticket all passengers through to Amsterdam.


2. To attach a ticket to; tag.


3. To designate for a specified use or end; destine: funds that have been ticketed for medical research.


4. To serve (an offender) with a legal summons: ticket a speeding motorist.


-The resemblance in form between the words ticket and etiquette is not accidental; both have the same ultimate source, Old French estiquet. But because these words were borrowed into English at different times, they came into our language with different meanings. Old French estiquet meant “a note, label.” Having been changed in form to etiquet in French, the word was adopted into English in the 16th century in a form without the initial e, tiket (first recorded in 1528). The earliest uses of the word in English were in the senses “a short written notice,” “a notice posted in a public place,” and “a written certification.” The word is first recorded with reference to something like a ticket of admission in 1673. In French, meanwhile, the word (in the form étiquette) came in the 18th century to mean “a ceremonial, a book in which court ceremonies were noted down or labeled.” The French word was borrowed again into English, this time in the form etiquette, which is first recorded in 1750.


-Americans have long been devoted to voting and to the secret ballot. So as far back as 1755 we find Ben Franklin explaining that in Pennsylvania "every one votes...as privately as he pleases, the Election being by written Tickets folded up and put into a Box." By 1764, political parties had already found it useful to suggest that voters choose their particular ticket, or printed list of candidates. Today, voting remains the ticket to democracy, and voting a straight ticket is a party's hope, though there are more nowadays who will vote a split ticket--both of which are terms from the nineteenth century.


165.April 1st, 2007April fool, n.- 1. The victim of a joke or trick played on April Fools' Day.


2. The joke or trick so played.


-April Fool's Day or All Fool's Day, holiday of uncertain origin, known for practical joking and celebrated on the first of April. Prior to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1564, the date was observed as New Year's Day by cultures as varied as the Roman and the Hindu. The holiday is considered to be related to the festival of the vernal equinox, which occurs on Mar. 21. The English gave April Fool's Day its first widespread celebration during the 18th cent.


-Well-known hoaxes


* Alabama Changes the Value of Pi: The April 1998 newsletter of New Mexicans for Science and Reason contained an article claiming that the Alabama Legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi to the "Biblical value" of 3.0. This claim originally appeared as a news story in the 1961 sci-fi classic "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert A. Heinlein.

* Spaghetti trees: The BBC television programme Panorama ran a famous hoax in 1957, showing the Swiss harvesting spaghetti from trees. A large number of people contacted the BBC wanting to know how to cultivate their own spaghetti trees.

* South Park: April 1st was advertised as being the premiere of the show's second season—and also the resolution of a cliffhanger where Eric Cartman was about to discover the identity of his father. Fans spent weeks speculating on the father's identity, but when they tuned in to the episode, they were instead treated to a half-hour of Terrance and Phillip fart jokes. The true resolution to the cliffhanger aired several weeks later. The show's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone claim during the DVD introduction to this episode that they received death threats over pulling the prank, although there were not any police reports to prove this.

* Left Handed Whoppers: In 1998, Burger King ran an ad in USA Today, saying that people could get a Whopper for left-handed people whose condiments were designed to drip out the right side.

* Taco Liberty Bell: In 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times announcing that they had purchased the Liberty Bell to "reduce the country's debt" and renamed it the "Taco Liberty Bell." When asked about the sale, White House press secretary Mike McCurry replied with tongue-in-cheek that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and would henceforth be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

* Lies to Get You Out of the House In 1985, the L.A. Weekly printed an entire page of fake things to do on April Fools day, by which hundreds of people were fooled.

* Kremvax: In 1984, in one of the earliest on-line hoaxes, a message was circulated that Usenet had been opened to users in the Soviet Union.

* San Serriffe: The Guardian printed a supplement in 1977 praising this fictional resort, its two main islands (Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse), its capital (Bodoni), and its leader (General Pica). Intrigued readers were later disappointed to learn that San Serriffe (sans serif) did not exist except as references to typeface terminology. (This comes from a Jorge Luis Borges story).

* FBI Crackdowns on On-line File Sharing of Music: Such announcements on April Fools Day have become common.

* Metric time: Repeated several times in various countries, this hoax involves claiming that the time system will be changed to one in which units of time are based on powers of 10.

* Smell-o-vision: In 1965, the BBC purported to conduct a trial of a new technology allowing the transmission of odor over the airwaves to all viewers. Many viewers reportedly contacted the BBC to report the trial's success. This hoax was also conducted by the Seven Network in Australia in 2005.

* Tower of Pisa: The Dutch television news reported once in the 1950s that the Tower of Pisa had fallen. Many shocked people contacted the station [citation needed].

* Wrapping Televisions in Foil: In another year, the Dutch television news reported that the government had new technology to detect unlicensed televisions (in many European countries, television license fees fund public broadcasting), but that wrapping a television in aluminium foil could prevent its detection.

* Breast Exams by Satellite: In the 1990s, Portuguese national television network RTP announced the Ministry of Health would perform free breast exams by satellite, causing thousands of women to go out topless [citation needed].

* Assassination of Bill Gates: Many Chinese and South Korean websites claimed that CNN reported Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, was assassinated [3].

* Write Only Memory: Signetics advertised Write Only Memory IC databooks in 1972 through the late 1970s.

* Wheel of Fortune/Jeopardy! Double Switch: In 1997, Pat Sajak, the host of Wheel of Fortune, traded hosting duties with Jeopardy!'s Alex Trebek for one show. In addition to Sajak hosting Jeopardy!, he and co-host Vanna White appeared as contestants on the episode of Wheel hosted by Trebek. White's position was filled by Sajak's wife Leslie [4].

* Comic strip switcheroo: Cartoonists of popularly syndicated comic strips draw each others' strips. In some cases, the artist draws characters in the other strip's milieu, while in others, the artist draws in characters from other visiting characters

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are you kidding me...?


enrich my mind..?


heck there is smoke comming outta just about every orfice of my body trying to pronounce that....wait I think I just got one of those BSOD's in my head...;)


I was thinking simple....man I need more Advil....

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Guest thespin

As a past, very unhappy, very unmotivated student of Latin, I perceive, by your happy choice of words, that many years of bitter effort were not the total floccinaucinihilipilification that my childish heart judged them to be.

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*............ kinda like dr. bowtie here.......


anyway, here's my effort... .*ehm*


Floccinaucinihilipilification, at 29 letters, is the longest non-technical word in the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.



how's that?


now evrybody knows how i graduate from college lol

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