PIDGIN: any simplified or broken form of a language, especially when used for communication between speakers of different languages.


You may have heard about Pidgin English, but you may not realize that there are any number of “mixed” languages which fall under the category known as Pidgin.  The definition of the word Pidgin which is given by  lays it out as well as anyone: “[Pidgin is]an auxiliary language that has come into existence […]

SUPRA: refers to something written above (in a note, letter, article, etc.)

Latin words are used regularly in the American English language as a reference to a concept that is best expressed in Latin.   From such common terms as etcetera (etc.) to modus operendi (m.o.) we slip into them easily and assume that people know what they mean.   Because they are used so frequently, most people do. […]

BOOK IT: to depart quickly

book it

Just to prove that American English is alive and growing, let’s look at a term today that just arrived on the scene in the 70’s.   Book it is characterized in the dictionaries as a “student term,” meaning that it derives from student life and has most of its use and meaning in the context of […]

HISTORICAL/HISTORIC: What’s the difference?


Well, it took some digging, but it turns out that there is a segment of the wordsmith population that would agree that there is no difference between historical and historic.  Several resources make the point that historic is just a less common word meaning the same thing as historical.  In both cases, they say that the words […]

OKAY: everything’s just fine


I never think about the word okay.   I just use it regularly without much thought.    Garner’s Modern American Usage says the term is a casualism, meaning that it’s not really an accepted word in good usage.  But I think Garner may be a little out of date with that thought.   In today’s experience of speaking […]

ORGANIC: all elements of a good literary work are interdependent upon each other to create an emotional or intellectual whole*.


If you spotted the word organic and assumed that this blog was going to be about fresh carrots or whole milk, you have the wrong blog…at least for today.   Instead, I want to explore the meaning of the word organic as it is used in conversations relating to concepts, as those employed by authors. Organic […]