TO THE MANNER BORN: accustomed from birth to a certain habit or custom*

manner born

It looked like a typographical error when I saw this term used in an article.   I seemed like it should be “to the manor born.”   It’s a term which usually applies to one who is affluent or privileged, and indicates that they are someone who has been raised in a category of society with large […]

ATTORNEYS GENERAL: the case of the disputed “s”

attorneys general

I was listening to an interview on NPR this morning which caught my attention.  It was as if someone had scratched their fingernails on a chalkboard. (For those of you who are too young to remember, chalk boards were what teachers used in the classroom before whiteboards and computer screens were invented.   The sounds sends […]

NEOLOGISM [nee-OL-uh-jiz-uhm]: new words

neologism

Every time you turn around, there is a new word popping up.  Given the massive number of new media possibilities, there are tons of people out there just waiting to get their 15 minutes of fame in one way or another.  Inventing a new word is one of them.  These new words are called neologisms. […]

RIFF: a segment of a piece of music which is repeated using variations on the theme

riff3

The musical definition for the word riff is the origin of the word as we know it today.   Garner tells us that it is actually an older word having no connection to its current usage.*   Most dictionaries indicate that it is a shortened form of the word “refrain,” which is a repeated portion […]

OPINE [oh-PAHYN]: the forming of judgment or stating an opinion

opine

The encouraging of people to express an opinion carries a risk with it.   It might just be that the opinion expressed is troublesome…and may actually be counter to the very point that you are trying to make.   But if you are truthful that you are really looking for diverse opinions, you are safe in opening […]

NOTABLE: prominent, highly respected

notable

The photo to the right is of Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Chldren’s Defense Fund, and one of the most respected voices in the arena of children’s rights and education in the United States.   You may know of her, and may even have recognized her.  But for many Americans her name is familiar and […]