DENIGRATE [DEN-i-greyt]: to speak damagingly about someone


It seems easy for some people to put down others without a lot of angst.   It just comes naturally to them. Oh, there are comedians who rely upon denigration as their medium, but they just chalk it off as humor…no matter how hurtful or damaging it may be.  That’s a hard one to deal with, […]

RUN AMOK : to go awry, to steer away from the planned course


There’s really no mystery as to the meaning of the common term  to run amok.  We use the words all the time to reference a plan that has gone berserk, running in all directions rather than according to plan. Just ask any nursery school teacher about the word and you’ll get a knowing smile.  Put […]

KLUDGE: “a clumsy, ugly structure that more or less deals with a problem, but in an inefficient way.”*


    Paul Krugman, the journalist for the New York Times wrote an op-ed column yesterday in which he featured the word kludge.  I would have read the article anyway, as I always read his work.  But the use of this word, which I had never seen before, made it an even more special occasion.  […]

CONTROVERSIAL: a matter about which there is strong disagreement


The World Series of baseball provides any number of opportunities to observe disputed decisions.   Monday-morning quarterbacks (that’s a mixed metaphor, being a football term) love to hash over and rehash coaching decisions with which they disagree. The Manager should/should not have removed a certain pitcher when he did. So-and-so was not a good choice as […]

COMEUPPANCE [kuhm-UHP-uhns] : deserved reward or just deserts, usually unpleasant


There are some words that are specifically American, and comeuppance is one of them.  It is identified as an informal term, meaning that it is from the spoken language more than the written literature of America.  Obviously, it is a word found in dialogue in written literature, particularly in reference to southern or mountain  culture.  […]

BIZARRE: markedly unusual, strange beyond the norm

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It may be quite common for a “hip” person to say that something they just heard is bizarre.   But my question would be if that comment is truly exceedingly strange and weird, or if it’s just odd.   You know, to say that the scene in a sitcom strikes someone as bizarre would require it to […]