Friday, December 7, 2007

Free Rice

Ameliorate your vocabulary, donate rice to the poor, check it out.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I Am Exceedingly Amused by This...

(especially given the small amount of information actually included in this blog)

cash advance

A Basic Chaucer Glossary

I thought some of you (that is, anyone who might ever happen upon this blog) might enjoy this link.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Laugh at yourself

"Again, Mr. Micawber had a relish in this formal piling up of words, which, however ludicrously displayed in his case, was, I must say, not at all peculiar to him. I have observed it, in the course of my life, in numbers of men. It seems to be a general rule. In the taking of legal oaths, for instance, deponents seem to enjoy themselves mightily when they come to several good words in succession, for the expression of one idea; as, that they utterly detest, abominate, abjure, or so forth; and the old anathemas were made relishing on the same principle. We talk about the tyranny of words, but we like to tyrannize over them too; we are fond of having a large, superfluous establishment of words to wait upon us on great occasions; we think it looks important, and sounds well. As we are not particular about the the meaning of our liveries on state occasions, if they be but fine and numerous enough, so the meaning or necessity of our words is a secondary consideration, if there be but a great parade of them. And as individuals get into trouble by making too great a show of liveries, or as slaves when they are too numerous rise against their masters, so I think I could mention a nation that has got into many great difficulties, and will get into many greater, from maintaining too large a retinue of words."
~David Copperfield, Dickens

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

For the Word Nerds, from Dr. Thursday

What are the "control" words - the words of command - by which one
a HORSE what to do?

From "general knowledge" one usually comes to know that
Giddyap means "get moving" (= get thee up)
Whoa means "stop"
but are there others, like, turn left, or right, or backup, etc???

If this seems too easy - what are these words in other languages? (In
particular I would be curious about their Latin and Greek equivalents.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ohhh, Juicy

I already posted this on C. P., but I had to bring it over here too, as it will delight the multiloquent soul.
The sycophantic Fox and the gullible Raven

By Guy Wetmore Carryl

A raven sat upon a tree,

And not a word he spoke, for
His beak contained a piece of Brie.
Or, maybe it was Roquefort.
We'll make it any kind you please --
At all events it was a cheese.

Beneath the tree's umbrageous limb
A hungry fox sat smiling;
He saw the raven watching him,
And spoke in words beguiling:
"J'admire," said he, "ton beau plumage!"
(The which was simply persiflage.)

Two things there are, no doubt you know,
To which a fox is used:
A rooster that is bound to crow,
A crow that's bound to roost;
And whichsoever he espies
He tells the most unblushing lies.

"Sweet fowl," he said, "I understand
You're more than merely natty;
I hear you sing to beat the band
And Adelina Patti.
Pray render with your liquid tongue
A bit from Gotterdammerung."

This subtle speech was aimed to please
The crow, and it succeeded;
He thought no bird in all the trees
Could sing as well as he did.
In flattery completely doused,
He gave the "Jewel Song" from Faust.

But gravitation's law, of course,
As Isaac Newton showed it,
Exerted on the cheese its force,
And elsewhere soon bestowed it.
In fact, there is no need to tell
What happened when to earth it fell.

I blush to add that when the bird
Took in the situation
He said one brief, emphatic word,
Unfit for publication.
The fox was greatly startled, but
He only sighed and answered, "Tut."

The Moral is: A fox is bound
To be a shameless sinner.
And also: When the cheese comes round
You know it's after dinner.
But (what is only known to few)
The fox is after dinner, too.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Some Words that Came up in Latin Class Last Week





Saturday, March 3, 2007

A European Geography Tangent

I'm reading a book about a priest who helped the starving peoples of Europe after World War II. I got a little distracted with the numerous place names I was unfamiliar with. Here's the list from just one page, plus a few that came up in my digging through an atlas to find them. See if you can find where these are...

Bukowina (or Bucovina)
Bachka (I have to admit I haven't found this one yet)\
Ermland (haven't found this one either)
Carpathian Mountains

Have fun!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Some European Peoples and Places

Kind of a random list - I'm cleaning out old notebooks today...

Mont St. Michel

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

An Odd Word that Keeps Coming Up: Palimpsest

I first came across this word just a few weeks ago while watching a PBS NOVA program on an old Archimedes text discovered hidden under a medieval prayer book (talk about recycling!).

According to it means...

a parchment or the like from which writing has been partially or completely erased to make room for another text.
[Origin: 1655–65; derived from the Latin palimpséstus, derived from the Greek palímpséstos rubbed again (pálin again + pséstós scraped, rubbed, verbid of psân to rub smooth)]

Fr. Ronald Knox uses it in a sermon on the Holy Eucharist in which he discusses the Canticle of Canticles...

And that book, as we all know, is a kind of palimpsest, in which the saints of every age have read between the lines, and found there the appropriate language in which to express their love for God, God's love for them. (from "The Window in the Wall", found in Pastoral and Occasional Sermons, Ignatius Press).

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Word Challenge

Hello All,

Dr. Thursday thought you might be able to help him with this word challenge and asked me to pass it along to you. Gilbertgirl? Margaret? Anyone? :)

Category: biology. I am seeking a general or class-word which means
"seasonal change", which might include words like "hibernate" and
"estivate", or things like "deciduous trees"; there are some animals
which change color or fur-thickness, etc depending on the season. Is
there such a word, and if so, what is it? If there isn't, suggest one
from the classical sources (Greek/Latin).

Another favorite word...


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More Greek Theology Words

We learned these three words in Fr. Mateo's Refuting the Attack on Mary. They are used to formally define the difference in honor/veneration given to God and to the Saints. That such terms exist for these definitions might be helpful in explaining Catholic belief to those who think that Catholics worship Mary and the Saints...

latria - Adoration - supreme worship given to God alone.

dulia - veneration and invocation (quite simply - asking them to pray for you!) offered to saints and angels

hyperdulia - special category for Our Lady - the highest veneration and invocation offered to a created being

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

More Greek Words

(Well, at least I they're mostly Greek to me. - heehee)

I just happened upon these in the glossary in the back of the Catechism of the Catholic Church...










Tuesday, January 30, 2007

One of Those Tricky Quizzes

You all might enjoy this.

hat-tip Minnesota Mom

A Few Words from the Latin Convention

The Wisconsin Junior Classical League Latin Convention, which Ria, Gilbertgirl and I attended was a highly concentrated weekend filled with Latin fun and academics. They're pretty efficient with their time and volunteers - 450 students and perhaps 25 or 30 adults, so everyone stays busy most of the time.

I had certamen score-keeping duty one afternoon. I was a little nervous about this since I had never even seen a certamen machine before and I was assigned to the advanced level room, but everything went very well. They had three adults running each room - one to read the questions (and judge the answers), one to run the machine and one to keep score. That way no one was overwhelmed with too many pieces of the puzzle.

It was delightful to meet so many young Latin enthusiasts and visit with them between rounds. I found that the experience inspired me to want to go back and read and study more.

One thing that amazed me was some of the terminology relating to the Latin language that I never knew existed. I thought that would be an appropriate piece to share here (aided by the fact that they gave all the teachers a packet with all of the certamen questions from this year's event). So here goes...

anaphora - The repetition of a word at the beginning of successive clauses.

hyperbaton - The violation of the usual order of words.

prosopopoeia - "Personification is also referred to as..."

protasis - The term for the clause which contains the condition in a Latin conditional sentence.

apodosis - The term for the clause containing the conclusion.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Love2learn Mom just took Ria and me shopping for supplies for the Latin Convention we are going to. We were browsing for an instant Chai tea, and we came across one brand that seemed about what we wanted. Upon my examination, however, I discovered a passage across the back that ran something like this:
"...Slip a packet in your pocket and experience enlightenment. Add ice and transcend reality."
We guffawed for at least five minutes. The sad thing is, some people who read that might actually be quite impressed.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My Vocabulary Evaluation

So true!!! I can't wait to continue ameliorating my vocabulary!!!

Your Vocabulary Score: B

You have a zealous love for the English language, and many find your vocabulary edifying.
Don't fret that you didn't get every word right, your vocabulary can be easily ameliorated!

My vocabulary quiz score is....

Your Vocabulary Score: B-

You have a zealous love for the English language, and many find your vocabulary edifying.
Don't fret that you didn't get every word right, your vocabulary can be easily ameliorated!

Vocabulary Quiz!

Your Vocabulary Score: A-

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.

Monday, January 15, 2007


I am ever ecstatic to share my passion for the English Language in any possible way. I was absolutely jubilant when I received the invitation. Accumulating an effusive vocabulary has been a pet pastime of mine for the last seven or so years. We had just begun homeschooling and the book Mama was reading to Margaret and me at bedtime was Anne of Green Gables. We made tedious progress through the first chapter, me interrupting every ten seconds, in need of the explanations of such trivialities as decorum, conscious, auxiliary, gauntlet, et al. Margaret put into words what I had not the vocabulary to express, "this is pathetic!". I resolved, thereon out, to acquire the means of communicating something other than "um, like, ya know, yeah!". This addicted me to the beauty, charm, and stateliness of words, and I have not been able to leave off since.

For me, words needn't be extravagant, obscure, or challenging to ensnare my interest. They do require a particular ring, and they have to flatter their context so precisely that it's difficult to select favorites. However, one that provides full rhythm and resonance even when extracted from its paragraph is platitudinous. I'll have to meditate for a while and conjure up some more of that variety. Such words are delicious just to roll around in your mouth and savor.
I am profoundly loquacious, I believe, everywhere except on blogs. I never seem to remember to pour out my multiloquous meanderings into posts.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Electroblogster at Your Service

Hello! Nee How Ma! Irashymassay!

Now they did it! They invited me. I guess that's OK. I like words. And (looking at our motto up there at the top of the page) I can sure be not-so-riveting. I can ruminate. But to be called loquacious - well - hmmm. I can spend long, long stretches saying nothing. Vocabulary is a must. A wide vocabulary is a delight. I will probably enjoy reading postings on here from others in this group more often than posting myself. Yet I was invited :)

A few words that stick with me are the ones I have heard from people who seem to have spent a lot of effort pronouncing them - sometimes the most simple words too. I like the way Alan Rickman (Col. Brandon) says "In the best sense" in Sense and Sensibility. I like the way Kathryn Hepburn says "Hello you" in Philadelphia Story. And sometimes the more exotic words too like the way the word lugubrious is said in Brideshead Revisited by Nikolas Grace (Anthony Blanche).

Sometimes it's just the way a person with a repertoire can extract from his lexicon the exact words that are needed. Cf. the exceedingly precise St. Thomas Aquinas. And the wit of Oscar Wilde. And P.G. Wodehouse who drops words like the seeds of flowers that pop out later in the story in a blossom of laughter. Of the master of masters Mr. Shakespeare himself - a man so comfortable with words that he coined them, redefined them, stretched them and sent our thoughts out of this lowly orb to conceptions celestial on a simple turn of phrase.

Yah. I think I am going to like this!

BTW. Love2Learn mom has put a link over there in the sidebar to my favorite word nerd show - "A Way with Words" on NPR. Listen some time. They have fun on that show.

These Are A Few of My Favorite Words

Hi, I'm Ria, another word fanatic. Below are some of my favorite words, many are taken from the movie Akeelah and the Bee, which has a great number of long words.

hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia: the fear of long words. plakkopytrixophylisperambulantiobatrix: (Ok, Ok this is not really in the dictionary but isn't it a cool word?) It's the name of a poem by Chesterton.

Those are the longest I know, now for the slightly less impressive....
logorrhea I like the wordy definitions:
1. pathologically incoherent, repetitious speech.
2. incessant or compulsive talkativeness; wearisome volubility.

That's all for now, but I look forward to much more posting. This should be fun!

Favorite Math Words

Pythagorean Theorem
polyalphabetic substitution
conchoid of Nicomedes
transcendental probability
Thales of Miletus


This is our little spot on the web to cultivate and share our love of words. Not necessarily limited to the English language, to non-"Dead" languages or languages that are actually used by real people in ordinary everyday conversation. Please introduce yourself and share some of your favorite words. This is a family-friendly site - content and comments not appropriate to this audience will be discriminated against and intolerantly censored.