Filed under Words that intrigue me


“Moxie originated as a patent medicine called ‘Moxie Nerve Food,’” Really? That’s what wikipedia says about the word moxie. Maybe you knew that, but I sure didn’t. I thought moxie meant courage or spunk. I thought it was similar to gumption. And that’s also correct. But I wasn’t prepared to learn that according to the … Continue reading

Pay Dirt

I was searching for just the right image, and I sure hit pay dirt! According to this post on language of the gold rush, pay dirt was just that…a term from the gold rush. It was first used in a California newspaper in 1852. It means to discover something of value. And it’s one of … Continue reading

In Spades

It’s funny how hearing one word or phrase makes you think of another. A friend’s Facebook status started with, “Me Gone Wrong in Spades”. She went on to describe a series of unfortunate events that together made for a pretty crummy visit to the coffee shop. But when I read in spades, I thought of … Continue reading


I come across this word now and again, and it always gives me pause. Somehow when I read it, I hear in my head, “posthumous”. They have nothing in common in terms of meaning. I know that. But the similar sound of the two words makes me stop and think about what eponymous means. According … Continue reading

Up to High Doh

If you’ve read a single Maeve Binchy book, you’ve come across the phrase “up to high doh”. You can generally tell from the context that it means being in an agitated state. But isn’t it so much more colorful to say “Margaret was up to high doh after her neighbor borrowed her new car to … Continue reading


This word intrigues me. I heard bespoke used recently, though I can’t recall where. It might have been while watching White Collar. If anyone embodies bespoke in a character, it’s Matt Bomer as Neil Caffrey. I’ve heard the word before, and thought it meant “classic” or “well made”. But a quick peek at Merriam-Webster tells … Continue reading

Take No Prisoners

“Miss Howe was taking no prisoners.” I came across that today while reading Maeve Binchy’s final novel, “A Week in Winter.” For some reason this phrase always causes me to stumble. If you don’t take prisoners, isn’t that a good thing?  I see now I wasn’t looking at the alternative. According to the free dictionary, … Continue reading


Why is it that we rarely see the word intrepid without “reporter” or “explorer” after it? Is there nothing else intrepid beyond reporters or explorers? It’s such a great word, meaning “characterized by resolute fearlessness, fortitude, and endurance,” according to Merriam-Webster.  Whenever I think of intrepid, I think of Nancy Drew or Maisie Dobbs. Both … 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


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