Filed under Words with strong connotations


That gal’s got gumption! It’s curious to me that I only ever connect this word to females. There’s nothing in it’s meaning to suggest the feminine. The Oxford Dictionary tells us gumption is shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness. It’s from the Scottish, and was first used in the 1700’s. When I hear that definition I … Continue reading


“Shouted or whispered, it was a powerful word. Intimidating. Terrifying, even. Marriages were ruined by scandals. Businesses, reputations, lives. A mere threat could be devastating. People went to great lengths to prevent them. Threaten someone with a scandal and you had power over him. Leverage. Control.”  This quote from The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly, … Continue reading


I used to think of indelible as a nasty word. As in, “Dragging the chair across the floor left an indelible mark.” I do know that it means “cannot be removed, washed away, erased, or forgotten.”  But still, I thought of it only in terms of an indelible marker (e.g., a Sharpie, though I do … Continue reading


“Hey you two, quit canoodling in the kitchen.” said my mother to my husband and I last weekend, when we stole a kiss while doing the dishes.  Isn’t that a wonderful word? I first heard it in the 1962 film, The Music Man. If memory serves, it was Buddy Hackett who was musing about canoodling.  … Continue reading

Ground Zero

I feel I’ll forever think of the events of September 11, 2001 when I hear the phrase, ground zero. I wasn’t familiar with it prior to that. But while listening to language expert Ben Zimmer on NPR’s Talk of the Nation today, I learned it’s been in use since the 1940’s (with respect to Hiroshima). … Continue reading