TENTERHOOKS: in a state of uneasy suspense or painful anxiety


Tenterhooks is a term that is usually preceded  by the word “on.”  It is a 16th century English word, again a portmanteau, which is a combination of the two words tenter and hooks.    Hooks, of course simply means what it says.  Small metal spikes upon which something can be hung. Tenter, however, calls for more […]

COUNTER-INTUITIVE: the opposite to what intuition would lead you to believe


There are lots and lots of examples out there to explain the meaning of the word counter-intuitive.  Many of them are funny.  Some not so funny. The word is a portmanteau (two words combined to make one word), merging counter (meaning against) and intuitive (meaning the use of the mind to determine something.)   If something […]

CYBORG: a person whose physiological functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device


I’ve never been a big fan of science fiction.  I’ve watched science fiction movies and tv shows…maybe only one episode of a series…but it has never been a great draw for me.  The only book I remember reading in the science fiction category that appealed to me was Steven King’s recent book, 11/22/63.   That book […]

NETIZEN: a person who spends a great deal of time on the Internet

A headline in the Times yesterday introduced a new word to my lexicon:  Netizen. The writer was talking about the people in China who have become regular users of the Internet to the point of being dependent upon it.   In a country where information is a guarded and valuable commodity, the use of computers and […]

CYBORG: a person whose functions are aided by electronic devices

At least five times in the last 90 minutes I have heard commentators say something about the cyborg that occurred in the Florida primary.  I was sure that someplace along the way someone would stop and define the word, but, alas, it was used and then passed over as if everyone in America would know […]