DECIMATE: to diminish a grouping by one tenth of its numbers

decimate

Sometimes  words just pop into our heads too quickly and end up being a part of our conversation…even though they are the wrong word. Such is the case when someone says such things as: the tornado decimated the tiny Oklahoma town.” This is especially a mis-statement when an entire community is wiped off the face […]

BLATANT [BLEYT-nt]: tastelessly conspicuous

blatant

My personal definition for the word blatant would be: the opposite of subtle.   That’s the point of the word blatant.  It’s out there in front for everyone to see.  There is no sense of humility.   It is a means of being public.   It is a way of being at the center of things, where people […]

HUE AND CRY: a phrase that means “an uproar” over an issue

hue and cry

How many times have we heard it in a news broadcast? “The hue and cry raised by the Senator’s announcement could be heard all the way to Washington.” The meaning is clear.   There was an uproar.  People were upset.  The protests were about to begin. I heard the comment on the news and thought to […]

WORD PATRONAGE: self-referential clarifications made in the context of writing or speaking

word patronage

I was thumbing through Garner’s Modern American Usage the other day looking for something for a piece I was writing.   I turned a page and saw an item listed which intrigued me.  It was Word Patronage.   I was curious what it was all about, and discovered that it was something that related to my own […]

OKAY: everything’s just fine

okay

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  But I think Garner may be a little out of date with that thought.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 […]

OFTEN : frequently

often

    You may be scratching your head and asking yourself why I would choose such a common, easily-understood word as the focus of today’s blog posting.   I don’t blame you. But the reason I chose the word often is that it may well be one of the most mis-pronounced words in American English.   It […]