CANTILEVER : any rigid structural member projecting from a vertical support, especially one in which the projection is great in relation to the depth,


I’ve always been fascinated by the cantilever style of staircases.   The first time I noticed the unique character of them was in a mansion owned by friends of ours.  Theirs was a curved, heavily adorned construction, worthy of photos.   More recently, I find that when I visit my gastroenterologist I take the stairs to his […]

BRUTALIST: a form of 20th century architecture related to modernism


Among the various schools of architecture with exotic names, brutalist must be about the most unusual.   It is a genre of building design that emerged into use in the United States and Western Europe in the mid-20th century and is now looked upon as archaic. Primarily, brutalist design found its expression in public buildings, including […]

SIMPLISTIC: overly simple


There’s a great deal of difference between something being simple and simplistic.Both words stem from the same origin, obviously.   Simplisme is a word from the French language which means…simple, easy, not complex.    But the word simplistic is an American construction, not having appeared until the end of the 19th century.   It is a word which […]

CONTEMPORARY: of the present time; modern


I realized the other day that I use the word contemporary a lot.   It’s usually a way of distinguishing between things that are traditional and those that are current.   The range of subjects is massive, from architecture (as in the photo to the right) to language usage. So I found myself asking the question, “What […]

TONY: stylish, classy


Now this is a word that is used, seemingly, in only the most upscale fashion magazines and articles.   Tony is not used as a man’s name in this case.   In fact, it is a word that is attributed to both men and women, and even to inanimate objects such as apartments, homes, houseboats and the […]

RAMSHACKLE: loosely made or held together; rickety


Ramshackle is a fascinating word.  It isn’t uncommon; in fact, it is quite commonly used in discussions, writings, and other forms of communication.  But, again, it occurred to me that I didn’t know where the word came from, and I suspected that many of us who use this word regularly are in the same boat.   […]