PULLED OUT ALL THE STOPS: make every possible effort

When Rick Santorum blasted his way through Iowa on Tuesday to attain a virtual tie for the most vote-getters in the 2012 Iowa Republican Caucus, someone commented that he had “pulled out all the stops” over a concentrated period of time.  It seemed to pay off as the candidate who had been running in the […]

For several years now there has been a public response to the presence of bullies in schools, organizations, sports, communities.   There seems to be a natural aversion to anyone who uses size, power, strength, or words to diminish the life of a weaker person.  In the past year or so we have seen children take […]


DELIQUESCE: to melt away, disappear

While the word deliquesce (pronounced del-a-kwes) is usually used in science to describe the concept of something melting away, like an ice cube, it also has literary applications.  It can be used (as a verb) to describe the concept of an issue fading from prominence. For instance, a recent New York Times article about the […]

STUMP SPEECH: a prepared political presentation which is “on message”

I suppose that … literally … the photo tells it best.  A stump speech can best be delivered while standing on a tree stump in the midst of an audience.   But the term has come to mean something broader.  A political  stump speech is one prepared by a campaign committee to include the specific, […]

RENEGUE*: to go back on one’s word

I first learned to use the word renegue when taking lessons in the playing of bridge.   I was taught that it referred to the inappropriate act of playing a card out of sequence, as in trumping someone’s card by failing to follow suit.    If you are not a card player, let me translate that into […]

WAR CHEST: money set aside or scheduled for a particular purpose or activity, as for a political campaign or organizational drive.

My wife pointed out to me the interesting feeling one gets when reading that a political candidate has a war chest. That’s a term which is used commonly to describe an accumulation of money designated for a political campaign.   To be fair, it is a term which is usually used to describe a bank account […]