Okay, now you gotta admit, this is a funny word; brooch. Go on, say it…brooch. Chances are you wouldn’t have to check Merriam Webster to know it’s, “an ornament that is held by a pin or clasp and is worn at or near the neck”. And yet, I did have to look it up today … 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

Compact and Bijou

You may think my husband’s car is small, but he would say his little habanero orange Prius C is compact and bijou. Compact and what? Compact and bijou. Isn’t that a wonderful phrase? Of course you know compact means dense or firmly packed together. But what about bijou? I always pictured a blinking neon theatre … Continue reading

Bated Breath

It’s been two months since I’ve last written a bon mot. My dear twitter pal OpinionsToGo tweeted me today to say, “Waiting with bated breath for another of your interesting #bonmots”. I thought…me too! Then I thought, bated breath? Where the heck does that come from? I always picture a panting dog when I hear … 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 recently became a huge fan of British comedic actress Miranda Hart. I have my husband to thank for this. He got hooked on Call the Midwife. Yes, you read that right; my husband got hooked on the British drama, Call the Midwife. He can tell you about all the characters, their quirks and foibles. … Continue reading


Quick – name a character in in a book, play, or mythology you would describe as a flibbertigibbet. Did you say Maria, that gutsy, guitar playing, mountain top twirling nun from The Sound of Music? That’s who I thought of. How about Puck, the mischievous fairy? And then there’s King Lear. Wait. King Lear? That’s … Continue reading


If there was ever a word that sounded like what it means, that word is gobbledygook. As in, “I have no idea what he said; it was all gobbledygook to me.” From Merriam-Webster we know it means, “speech or writing that is complicated and difficult to understand”. Also, “wordy and generally unintelligible jargon”. I’ll bet … Continue reading


While listening to NPR today, a foreign reporter used the word fortnight. And I thought, ah now there’s a good word. Fortnight. Most likely I first heard the word while reading Shakespeare in the 8th grade (did we start Shakespeare in the 8th grade?) The Online Etymology Dictionary tells us it’s from the 17th century, … Continue reading


“He did a real slapdash job when he painted the front door. It’s a lovely shade of red, but quite sloppy.” I love this word. It’s not onomatopoeia, but almost. We know from that it means, “hasty and careless”, and also bold. Etymology online gives a very straightforward origin, telling us slapdash is an … Continue reading