Tuesday, November 17, 2009

word discovery: per diem

By Alan Eggleston, writer and editor

Today's word: per diem, often used in the sense of paid allowances or tax deductions.

Meaning: "by the day" or "for each day" (Merriam-Webster); adv, adj, or noun.

Etymology: Medieval Latin (1520) "by the day" (per = by the; dies = day) (Online Etymology Dictionary)

Used in a sentence: You will be paid $100 per diem for food and travel expenses.

I have seen this phrase used many times over the past 25 years, but never knew exactly what it meant. Today, I decided to research it a little. It didn't yield much, but what I found was telling.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Word discovery: solipsistic

Citation: LA Times.com column, “Have something to say? I don’t care.” By Joel Stein, January 2, 2007, 11th paragraph

Usage: “I'm an arrogant, solipsistic, attention-needy freak who pretends to have an opinion about everything.”

Meaning: self-centered or ego-centric

Examples: Two-year-olds have a solipsistic view of their place in the universe.

Comments: Also seems to describe actors and politicians.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Word discovery: susurrus

Citation: Quarterdeck A Kydd Sea Adventure by Julian Stockwin, Chapter 4, p. 104, third paragraph.

Usage: “…the ghost-like susurrus of wind in the lines from aloft…”

Meaning: a whispering or rustling sound (merriam-webster); also, a murmur (wiktionary)

Example: The susurrus of leaves swept along the ground by an autumn wind, whispering of the approach of an unforseen storm.

Comments: Say the word and you get a sense of its origins, the “sus” sound of a whispered utterance, a poetic device to hint at a sound.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Back After a Long, Unplanned Absense

What a road I have traveled since I last posted! I apologize to anyone who has visited and seen how long it's been since I last made an entry.

I suffered a series of health set-backs, the last of which -- prostate cancer surgery -- I am still recovering from. As a result, I wasn't able to give any time to researching or writing my blogs. I am trying to begin again.

So, if you have been a fan of the site and wondered where I have been... or if you have stumbled onto the site and would like more of what I have produced, let me assure you I am working on it again.

I am a freelance writer and editor and rely on that freelance work for a living, so I am doing this blog as I have time and energy. Recovering from prostate surgery at age 57 takes a long, long time. But I want to get this site back in gear, even if it isn't on a weekly basis as it once was.

Thank you for your patience.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Word discovery: bourse

Citation: Hard copy: “How to Seize the Initiative,” Time magazine, April 3, 2006, p. 47. Online: How to Seize the Initiative online (may require registration or purchase of the article).

Usage: “For now, U.S. firms that want to trade emissions must join the Chicago Climate Exchange, a voluntary but legally binding bourse whose members, according to founder Richard Sandor, account for 8% of the greenhouse emissions from stationary sources in the U.S.”

Meaning: an exchange or trade, usually meant in terms of a European stock exchange. See
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.

Examples: U.S. power plants may purchase credits through a bourse from other power plants that meet their pollution-reduction targets.

Comments: I don’t see much need to use bourse when “exchange” is so much clearer.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The joke's on you

Are you an admirer of April Fools jokes? Many people love observing the year's only sanctioned day of the practical joke, but most prefer to play the joke rather than receive it.

April Fools Day (sometimes spelled Fool's and sometimes Fools') is celebrated in many countries, including the United States and Great Britain (where it's also called All Fools' Day).

If you're short on ideas for celebrating in your neck of the woods, consider some all time greats from "The Top 100 April Fools Day Hoaxes of All Time." There's also a website for the joke-wary among us, "April Fool's Day Attrocities" or "The Top 10 Worst April Fool's Day Hoaxes Ever."

And if you're really into the so called "holiday," there is this page on "The Origin of April Fool's Day." Like the others links in this article, the material comes from The Museum of Hoaxes.

Finally, if someone near you can't get enough of the holiday and plays April Fools beyond April 1, there's this retort: April Fools' is gone and past and you're the greatest fool at last!

Enjoy the day!

Monday, March 27, 2006

A page you might even find fun

Here is a page you really MUST visit. It’s called “10 More Words You Simply Must Know,” and it’s by the editors of Encarta’s Continuing Education section.

Go on, don’t let an ostentatious title like this keep you from immersing yourself in our language! You might even find it fun.

Anytime we can advance our vocabulary, it’s an investment in our future. Even if we can’t use it in a sentence right away, we can know it if someone else uses it, and it broadens our awareness of our language and our culture. Of course, we appear pretentious if we try to use it without really understanding it – so beware simply learning new words to make you look smarter.

My favorite of the 10 is “sternutatory.” Can you imagine what it means? Here’s a hint: “

If these are “10 More Words…”, what were the original 10? Find out by reading “
10 Words You Simply Must Know.