PIDGIN: any simplified or broken form of a language, especially when used for communication between speakers of different languages.


You may have heard about Pidgin English, but you may not realize that there are any number of “mixed” languages which fall under the category known as Pidgin.  The definition of the word Pidgin which is given by  lays it out as well as anyone: “[Pidgin is]an auxiliary language that has come into existence […]

SUPRA: refers to something written above (in a note, letter, article, etc.)

Latin words are used regularly in the American English language as a reference to a concept that is best expressed in Latin.   From such common terms as etcetera (etc.) to modus operendi (m.o.) we slip into them easily and assume that people know what they mean.   Because they are used so frequently, most people do. […]

EXPONENTIALLY: to increase at a rapid rate


It’s another one of those words that is used so casually that it sometimes says something that is really not what the word means. People will say something like “The number of customers at the shop has increased exponentially.”  The store owner is attempting to say that business is good, that what was a trickle […]

SOURCE: the place from which something originates


Every now and then it gets frustrating to read or listen to people who claim the “truth” based upon their having found a story on the Internet or in some other recently-created resource.   This is true in all walks of life, from politics and economics to biblical references.   It amazes me that well-meaning people believe […]

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 […]

CABINET: only in Rhode Island: a milkshake!

There’s a lot about Rhode Island that’s unique.  Like on Monday when the state observed “Victory Day.”   Rhode Island is the only state in the United States that continues to observe this day as “Victory over Japan” day.   The horrific details of that victory have caused a stir among many Rhode Islanders, but the […]