Blog Archives

Herman Posthumus: What’s Left Behind

The word ‘discard’ is a Renaissance invention, related literally to gaming and the notion of de-carding, or throwing a card away, but also used figuratively from at least 1580 and perhaps earlier in its earlier form, and perhaps even earlier, … Continue reading

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Epicaricacy and Roman Holidays

scha·den·freu·de (shädn-froid) n. Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. [German : Schaden, damage (from Middle High German schade, from Old High German scado) + Freude, joy (from Middle High German vreude, from Old High German frewida, from fr, happy).] Epicaricacy is evidently the English expression for this same feeling, which is … Continue reading

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Big Words are a Necessity

“People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven’t you?” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Matthew Arnold’s poem for Shakespeare

Shakespeare BY MATTHEW ARNOLD Others abide our question. Thou art free. We ask and ask—Thou smilest and art still, Out-topping knowledge. For the loftiest hill, Who to the stars uncrowns his majesty, Planting his steadfast footsteps in the sea, Making the … Continue reading

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Cacophony

Today’s word is cacophony – a harsh, discordant array of sounds.  Dissonance.  From the Greek ‘kako’, meaning bad or evil, and ‘phone’, meaning voice.  Therefore ‘babel’, as in a Babel of voices. The implication is, of course, a lack of … Continue reading

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Incandescent

Today’s word is incandescent – as in luminous, shining, brilliant – and as an adjective – not merely as a signifier of a heated filament.  It’s such a beautiful word –  intelligence can be incandescent – Virginia Woolf said that … Continue reading

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