SURVEILLED [ser-VEYLD]: to have observed under close scrutiny


Sometimes “made up words” bother me. I mean words that are finagled from other, existing words in order to make them fit into a thought or a comment.  People seem to do it all the time, and some linguists and editors have said that it’s okay.  They say that as long as people know what […]

KNAPSACK: a lightweight, frameless backpack


I’m one of those adults who worries about the weight kids are carrying around in their backpacks.   I’ve seen little kids on the way to school who are almost bent at the waist as a result of the weight they are toting. “In the day” it wasn’t uncommon to carry  a book bag with a […]

EXPEDIENT: fit to fulfill a purpose


Every now and then I discover that I’ve been using a word incorrectly.  Being somewhat of a wordsmith, this is embarrassing, to say the least.   Such is the case for the word expedient. I have been using this word for years, thinking that it meant speedily, or in good time.  For some reason, there […]

BOONDOGGLE: a lanyard, a piece of foolish legislation, an intentional confusion


It was not my favorite camp activity.  Never having been very good at manual arts, the idea of weaving long, unruly pieces of plastic string into a colorful lanyard to hold my keys (of which I had none) seemed like a complete waste of time.   But my friends were ecstatic.   It was boondoggle time! I […]

ORGAN RECITAL: a listing of one’s ailments in response to a question of health


I’m going to break all kinds of precedence today. It is not my pattern, in writing this blog, to copy someone else’s work.  I try very hard to give proper reference to materials, but I also try to use discretion in waiting an appropriate amount of time before employing a post idea. Today, however, I […]

APROPOS [ap-ruh-POH]: fitting, appropropriate, related to


The word apropos has a special meaning.   It refers to something as being fitting (unlike the suit in the picture to the right!) and appropriate.  It is a 17th century French word meaning “to the purpose.”  That is to say, it identifies some object, thought, or image as being designed or articulated in a way […]