It’s been a busy week for meteors.   We had an asteroid which “barely” missed crashing into Earth, and then this unbelievable, 10,000 ton meteor/asteroid explodes over Siberia.  It created a stir all over the world as it was captured on camera at its moment of impact.  Unfortunately, there was a lot of damage to a […]

EITHER: is it [EE-ther] or [AHY-ther] ????

I have no idea when it began.   I grew up pronouncing either almost as if it were that gas that they gave you when you were going to have surgery: ether.   There was never a question in my mind that either was pronounced [EE-ther.]  Why was there a question? But someplace along the way the […]

INCENTIVIZE [in-SEN-ti-vahyz] : to provide (someone) with a good reason for wanting to do something

The creation of verbs from other parts of speech  is as ancient a practice as language itself.  We activate, organize, rehabilitate, and decentralize all the time and never think about it.   As society becomes more and more complex, it requires language to articulate that complexity. Such creations are called neologisms, meaning new words. One of […]

SKUNKED TERM: a word or term that experiences confusing change in its meaning

When a word’s meaning changes dramatically to the point of being confusing, it is referred to as a skunked term. In Bryan Garner’s, Garner’s Modern American Usage, he points out “When a word undergoes a marked change from one use to another–a phase that might take ten years or a hundred–it’s  likely to be the […]

NICHE: an appropriate place for one to settle

I always thought the word was pronounced [neesh.]   It seemed as if it was a special variation on the word nitch, which I thought was a real word.  It turns out that there is no such word as nitch.   The correct word is niche and it means what I thought nitch meant.   It is that […]

MOOT: of no practical importance

When I was in graduate school at Yale I was asked to be a part of a jury for a trial at the Yale Law School.  It was their annual moot court session, in which graduating (hopefully) scholars were tested on their courtroom skills.  It was a fascinating experience in which soon-to-be attorneys prepared a […]