Monthly Archives: June 2011

Another Bouquet of Flowers and the Origins of their Names

In celebration of summer, here is another seasonal bouquet. Carnation. Does “carnation” have something to do with “incarnation” or ‘becoming flesh’? Some etymologists think so. “Carnation” is an obsolete shortened form of “incarnation” used as recently as 1993 by Gore … Continue reading

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Invasion of the invasivores

I’ve taken the first step toward becoming an “invasivore.” You know about “carnivores,” meat-eaters like lions and hawks; “herbivores,” animals like rabbits and stegosaurs that survive(d) on plants; and “omnivores,” like humans and pigs that aren’t fussy. The “-vore” suffix … Continue reading

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The Bigs and the Smalls

In a recent column about KNBC-TV’s new 24-hour news and feature station, California Nonstop, Los Angeles Times media critic James Rainey refers to “The bigs at NBCUniversal.” The word “bigs” may sound strange, but the meaning is obvious. English, like … Continue reading

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How Long Have We Been Modern?

“…And her workin’ in a saloon like any hussy.” “Oh, that’s not fair, Ma. We’re living in modern times. – … Don’t forget, things have changed since you were a girl. This is 1870.“ — In Old Chicago (1937) Speaking … Continue reading

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“Cliché” and “Stereotype”

Much of printed literature is marked by clichés or stereotypes. I mean that literally. “Cliché” and “stereotype” are printing terms. As mentioned in a previous post, it’s unknown whether the word “click” came from French cliquer or German klicken or … Continue reading

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