Funny (Non)definitions

Disclaimer: You won’t find any of these definitions in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary: Arbitrator: n. A cook that leaves Arby’s to work at McDonalds Avoidable: v. What a bullfighter tried to do Burglarize: n. What a crook sees with Counterfeiters: npl. Workers who install kitchen cabinets Eclipse: v. What an Cockney barber does for a living Eyedropper: …

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Backronym Whimsy

A while back, we wrote an article about retronyms. Now it’s time for more Word People whimsy! Do you know what a “backronym” is? If not, you soon shall. A backronym is a reverse acronym. (Alternative spelling: bacronym) It’s an expression that has been formed from the letters of an existing word or name. Examples …

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Catbird’s seat?

Based on the great response to last week’s article on Adam’s House Cat, we decided to explore the origins of another odd saying: “Sitting in the catbird’s seat.” According to The Phrase Finder website: This is an American phrase – which is unsurprising as the grey catbird which is the probable source of the phrase …

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14 Ways to Break Writer’s Block

When your livelihood depends upon your ability to write, writer’s block is like a power outage. Your mind goes dark, and you have no idea when the lights will come back on. Here are 14 time-honored ways to break writer’s block: Take a break. Overworking your brain can make it just shut down. Surf the …

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Retronymania

Are you a retronymaniac? Not sure? Perhaps you should consult with your favorite Word Person for a diagnosis. This week’s article explores this often used element of language…the retronym. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines retronym as “a term (such as analog watch, film camera, or snail mail) that is newly created and adopted to distinguish the …

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Uncleftish Beholding

Uncleftish Beholding (1989) is a short text written by Poul Anderson. It is written using almost exclusively words of Germanic origin, and was intended to illustrate what the English language might look like if it had not received its considerable number of words from other languages, particularly Latin, Greek and French. The text is about …

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