INJUSTICE: violation of the rights of others


It is easy to romanticize the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. to a point that it loses its significance.   That may seem like a harsh comment on this annual day of recognition of the civil rights leader.   But it is not a criticism of King.  It is a comment on the way in which […]

DENIGRATE [DEN-i-greyt]: to speak damagingly about someone


It seems easy for some people to put down others without a lot of angst.   It just comes naturally to them. Oh, there are comedians who rely upon denigration as their medium, but they just chalk it off as humor…no matter how hurtful or damaging it may be.  That’s a hard one to deal with, […]

BLOVIATE: to speak pompously


We’re not in an election season (officially), but it only takes the wink of an eye before the 2014 elections are upon us.  Already, there are candidates announcing their intentions to run.  Smart ones are announcing their intention to establish a committee to explore the possibilities of running.   That gives them an out if they […]

HIGHFALUTIN [hahy-fuh-LOOT-n]: pretentious, pompous

There are debates about how to spell highfalutin, but this seems to be the preferred form.  Its origin is sketchy, but seems to have something to do with the root word flute. Hifalutin, highfalutin or highfaluting is what we call o.o.o. , that is “of obscure origin.” It may derive from the participle of the […]

OTIOSE [OH-shee-ohs]: unneeded, not useful

“I’ve never heard the word before.”   If you just said that, welcome to the crowd.  Admittedly, even the experts say that it is obscure and irrelevant.  Bryan Garner, one of the linguistic experts I consult, says: “You might say the word itself is otiose.” That’s a pretty shallow  commendation  for the word, which, Garner […]

GOBBLEDYGOOK: obscure language which is difficult to de-cypher

When I first began thinking about using the word gobbledygook in a posting I thought I was dealing with a word that was so “made up” that it wouldn’t even appear in a dictionary.  I was surprised to find it every place I looked, including the classic Garner’s Modern American Usage.   I have to admit, […]