SCLEROTIC [skli-ROT-ik]: hardened, blocking


Most of us are familiar with the term sclerosis as it is used in the medical sense.  It refers to organs which harden and become less effective or even ineffective.  There are various causes for such conditions, and most of the results are damaging and of a serious nature. Sclerosis is a word which comes […]

ERRANT: to wander; roam, stray


I believe the first time I ever heard the word “errant” was when we studied Cervantes’ book, Don Quixote, in high school.  It would come back to haunt me when I had to read it in Spanish in a college Spanish Literature course.  Don Quixote, a knight errant, wandered throughout the Spanish countryside attempting to […]

AUGUR (verb): forecast or foretell

augur 4

Augur is one of those words that I can easily confuse with its homonym auger.  I can remember the horrible day when I heard the word auger for the first time.  A little girl in my hometown was missing.  Our Boy Scout troop joined hundreds of volunteers to search for her.  A rescue team decided to […]

GUNG HO : wholeheartedly enthusiastic !

As you might imagine, the term gung ho has its origin in the military … the Marines to be specific. Most of us are not aware of it today, but the word gung ho has been in English only since 1942 and is one of the many words that entered the language as a result […]

EQUAL COMPENSATION: women making the same wages as men

Maybe I’m just agitated over the political news from Wisconsin this morning, but the Republican effort to scuttle the legislation affording women equal compensation really ticks me off.* When I heard the results of the votes in Congress which rejected the proposed legislation I was incredulous.  I had to pull out my cell phone and […]

EGREGIOUS: extraordinarily bad, flagrant

NCAA basketball and the NBA have gone to great measures to distinguish a “foul” from a “flagrant foul.”  To most of us watching on television, the difference is clear, but the officials have a set of criteria they must apply in order to call the more egregious foul.  That is to say, the foul that […]