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.


November 4, 2022 |

Catercorner is an older version of a more common word that has a convoluted history to explain a modern meaning.

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October 27, 2022 |

Even if you’ve known the name of these common security devices, did you know where the word comes from?

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October 21, 2022 |

Warning: The week’s vocabulary explanation may not be quite as satisfying as you hope. In fact, it might leave you hankering for more.

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October 13, 2022 |

I will confess that this word came to me when my attempt to enjoy a quiet meal in a restaurant failed due to a mammothrept.

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October 6, 2022 |

The pronunciation of this word might surprise you, but that will help you understand its connection to its commonly used sibling.

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September 28, 2022 |

The word itself is fun to say and use, but its etymological history is quite the kerfuffle which makes it that much more fun.

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September 21, 2022 |

I promise not to post a long-winded complaint about this week’s spectacular vernacular despite its ancient etymology—jeremiad.

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September 14, 2022 |

When we create new words or phrases to express new ideas, sometimes we need to develop a retronym to distinguish the past from the future.

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September 8, 2022 |

For everyone who rolls their eyes at the crazy things done by politicians, I’ll share the worst word kakistocracy for your daily use.

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September 1, 2022 |

At the end of the day, I look forward to a glass of wine with dinner, but an article about land being desiccated upset the grape cart.

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August 25, 2022 |

Don’t you hate it when you are trying to get a few more minutes of sleep before starting your day, but some loud, matutinal bird shrieks outside your window?

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August 17, 2022 |

Polysemous is one of those complex looking words with a simple meaning referring to multiple meanings. Confused? Check this out.

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