Filed under Words I learned recently


She was as quick to anger as was he and just as capable of expressing it. “I’m not that sort of woman. I’m not that sort of wife. If you wanted an obsequious sycophant to marry—“ “That’s tautology,” he said. And that terse statement finished their argument. I came across this dialogue in Elizabeth George’s … Continue reading

Dog’s Bollocks

I’m sorry. This isn’t my usual bon mot. We were sitting in the car in a parking lot downtown, waiting for the bus from Chicago to arrive, bringing our daughter back from spring break. She was on an Alternative Break trip, learning about and volunteering at Chicago 826 with 5 other KU students. That’s a … Continue reading


Last week my daughter, home from college, had her wisdom teeth removed. At one stage, her cheeks quite swollen, I searched the internet for tips to ease her discomfort.  My search took me to Buzzle. What the heck is this site? From what I could gather, it’s a sort of internet within the internet. I … Continue reading

It’s all double Dutch to me

“It’s all double Dutch to me.” So said my sister-in-law, Angie over a curry in her kitchen in England, when we visited last month. Um, say what? Have you heard this phrase before?  To me, double Dutch is a game played with jump ropes. I was never any good at the jumping part, but I … Continue reading


While reading an Elizabeth George book, I came across the word suzerainty. It struck me, because well, first of all, it’s got all the letters of one of my longtime nicknames, Suzy in it.  But once I got beyond that, I realized it was a word I hadn’t heard before. I could make a good … Continue reading


My husband recently bought a motorcycle. He loves it. He rides it to work. He tinkers with it a bit. And he’d like me to ride pillion. Um, say what? Yes, you read that right: pillion. When he first said this to me I thought it was one of his silly made up words. Like … Continue reading


Isn’t this a beautiful word? Unlike my previous bon mot, this one pleasantly rolls off the tongue. A sobriquet is an alternative name given to a person, place, or thing that often comes to be more widely used than the original name.  For example, calling New York City “The Big Apple” or referring to William … Continue reading


I read this word for the first time recently. Or maybe I only noticed it for the first time, but I feel I’d have remembered a word like pulchritude.  Do you know what it means? If not, pause and take a guess (no peeking!) To me, it sounds like a cross between puke and mulch. … Continue reading


I’ve been highlighting words right and left in “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese.  I’m still not sure if the book will make my list of favorites, but I’m learning a lot. For example, parsimonious. Though I don’t think I’d heard the word before, it sounded familiar. It made me think of parsing words. Which … Continue reading


I don’t know what you think of when you hear the word simulacrum, but I had some ideas (would love to hear yours in the comments). I was surprised to learn that it’s an image or representation of something; a slight, unreal, or vague semblance of something; superficial likeness. Why would you want to know … Continue reading