STENOSIS [sti-NOH-sis] : narrowing or blockage of a passageway


Sometimes when I am in a physician’s office the doctor will identify a medical situation, using the Latin or Greek words for it.   If the doctor is in a good mood I respond, “I love it when you talk dirty.”  Most of the time the physician will laugh with me, and then translate the condition […]

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. […]

PROSCRIPTIVE: denunciation, prohibition, or exclusion

proscriptive 2

It’s easy to confuse the words prescriptive and proscriptive. The odd thing is that they are just the opposite of each other. If there is a way of overcoming something, such as a writer’s block, or an inability to get the answer to a difficult question, someone may suggest a way that will help you […]

VERISIMILITUDE [ver-uh-si-MIL-i-tood]: having the appearance of truth or reality


It is amazing to look at pieces of art which are painted in the realistic mode.   It is almost impossible to distinguish them from photography at times.   The goose painting I have used as today’s illustration is a perfect example.  When I first saw it I assumed it was a photo.  But Guido Daniele, the […]

PERFUNCTORY [per-FUNGK-tuh-ree] : a routine function, lacking real care


There is a gradation to tasks completed.  It goes something like this: GOOD     BETTER    BEST” It should be no surprise to anyone that functions or products get rated this way.   And it should be no surprise to discover that we are all guilty of accomplishing various tasks in each of the categories. Sometimes the task […]

UXORICIDE [uhk-SAWR-uh-sahyd]: the act of murdering one’s wife


This will not be an “x” rated post.  If you are looking for the gory details of men murdering their wives you have to go elsewhere.   I’m not as interested in the meaning of the word uxoricide as I am the way in which the word came into being.  I hope that doesn’t discourage you […]