Rigmarole

I considered changing my name to Roxie, but I didn’t want to go through the rigmarole. Okay, I’m not really thinking of changing my name. But it’s a great word, rigmarole, isn’t it? I used to think it had another “a” in it, “rigamarole”. I was wrong. It’s from the 1700s and while it now … Continue reading

Tautology

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

Scandal

“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

Tentacular

I saw this word, tentacular while reading “The House I Loved” by Tatiana de Rosnay for book club. She refers to the streets of Paris having become, “gigantic, tentacular!” I immediately knew what that meant and formed a vivid mental image. This is the joy of effective word choice. The book itself received a lukewarm … Continue reading

Conundrum

Me: What kind of white wine do you have? Waiter: We have a nice conundrum. Me: Huh? Yes, apparently not only is conundrum a word which means a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun (according to Merriam Webster), but it’s also a wine with a “robust, floral and bright tropical taste.”  Conundrum, the … Continue reading

Shenanigans

Shenanigans. A word you can’t say without smiling or smirking. Well, I can’t, anyway. And I’m more than a little amused that in researching this word I found it was a children’s television program that ran from September 26, 1964 to March 20, 1965, and again from September 25 to December 18, 1965. This amuses me as I … Continue reading

Scurry

“Oh no, it’s tomorrow! I must scurry.” So read a facebook update this morning from the delightful Judy Clement Wall.  Scurry. What a great word. Or well, a bon mot. You probably already know it means to move hurriedly, with short quick steps. According to etymonline, it may be “from hurry scurry (1732), a reduplication … Continue reading

Snarky

I love this word. My apologies – I do realize I start a lot of posts that way, but well, heck, this blog is called “bon mots/good words” for a reason. But isn’t this a fun one? It was suggested by a friend. I would not categorize her as snarky, but she hears a lot … Continue reading

Fetching

“You look fetching tonight.” Doesn’t that sound so much nicer than “You look attractive tonight”? According to Merriam Webster fetching simply means attractive or pleasing. But to me, it implies alluring, drawing others to you. Your new hair style may be attractive. But that new little black dress and heels are fetching. The online etymology dictionary … Continue reading

Brouhaha

  What a funny word. Brouhaha. Pronounced brew-ha-ha. For such a seemingly silly word, it has some interesting origins. Dictionary.com tells us it means, “excited public interest, discussion or the like” or “an episode involving excitement, confusion, turmoil.” It’s either from the French, “brou, ha, ha!” which apparently was an exclamation by a character representing … Continue reading