Spectacular Vernacular

Words amuse me. Many trace their origins back to the earliest languages in clear lineages. Others have evolved in fits and starts as people have twisted their meanings. Still others have been created in amusing ways.

My goal is to take what could be the dry topic of etymology and make it fun and entertaining with short vignettes on some spectacular vernacular.

cynophile or ailurophile

Cynophile or Ailurophile?

April 16, 2023 |

An essay penned by a cynophobic writer about cynophiles brought me to the interesting word ailurophile, so this post is going to the cats and dogs.

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Opusculum opuscula


March 19, 2023 |

Credit for this Spectacular Vernacular goes to the great Ian Fleming who described his literary contributions as opuscula.

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Polysyndeton and Asyndeton

Polysyndeton and Asyndeton

February 16, 2023 |

Polysyndeton and Asyndeton—Two words for the price of one this week. Isn’t that exciting and fun and interesting and educational?

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February 9, 2023 |

My use of hobnob in a conversation earlier this week left me wondering where the word comes from, so let me share what I found.

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February 2, 2023 |

A horrid task, the annual income tax filing, looms over me as I struggle to comprehend governmental explanations filled with bafflegab.

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January 26, 2023 |

Remember back in your school days when you opened a text book to discover the previous owner scribbled some marginalia?

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January 12, 2023 |

Ever wonder what the reproductive process of worms has in common with complex political alliances? Fissiparous is the answer.

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January 8, 2023 |

Why would I decide on such a simple word for this week’s Spectacular Vernacular? It’s the etymology that caught my attention.

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December 29, 2022 |

Watching Asheville city leaders explain how 40,000 citizens can go without water for days raised my curiosity on the word feckless.

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December 23, 2022 |

Writer Sylvia Wright loved the character of Lady Mondegreen so much that she refused to accept she never existed.

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December 17, 2022 |

Nothing makes holiday gatherings better than useless knowledge to share over drinks, like what exactly is the nog in eggnog.

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December 9, 2022 |

After a week of rain and dreary conditions, I’m ready for this normally evanescent weather to morph into some sunshine.

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